Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crimson Crisp vs Jonathan

Today we pit Crimson Crisp, a modern breed from the Purdue Rutgers Indiana cooperative, against Jonathan, which is two hundred years old. Indeed Jonathan is Crimson Crisp's great grandfather.

Crimson Crisp at left, Jonathan at right
That's only one sixteenth Jonathan, but it's enough to make me curious about these two varieties, which ripen close enough to permit a comparision.

These are both attractive fruits, with saturated blushes. They are both about halfway between medium and large; Crimson Crisp is markedly more elongated and conical, but both have a classic apple profile with moderate ribbing.

Crimson Crisp
As with my original Crimson Crisp photograph, I'm not really able to do justice to that apple's blush, which runs to a deep cherry red on it's fully blushed side (and a lighter orange-tinged crimson on the other).

Crimson is overshadowed, however, by the dramatically deep red of my Jonathan sample, verging on mahogany. I can't recall seeing that before.

They both have light lenticels so fine that it is hard to say on which variety, if any, they are meaningfully visible.

I am a sucker for the rugged look, so to me Jonathan's jagged crown of russet only adds visual appeal, and I find these equally attractive to contemplate.

Let's eat.

Jonathan's flesh is a medium fine buttery white, with an admirable sweet-tart balance and mild cidery flavors with just a little spice. It is easy to see why apple breeders have turned to Jonathan so regularly for taste and texture.

It's a variety I leave a little room for every fall, even coming as it does near the peak of the harvest when so many apples compete for my attention.

Compared to its grandfather, Crimson Crisp's insides are yellower, coarser, and much more juicy and and sweet. Its flesh is quite hard and super crunchy.

I think these are better C Crisps than the few I reviewed two years ago. There's more cane-sugar sweetness, which is surely what the breeders intend. This makes it harder to pick out individual flavors, but I am getting some cherry in the mix of fruit and spice that I did not find last time, and a small bit of candy corn.

Eating these together is delightful. I was prepared to prefer Crimson Crisp for its texture, juice, and crunch, not to mention interesting tastes, but as I switch back and forth I am repeatedly pleased by Jonathan's palate-cleansing freshness and old-fashioned flavors.

They are certainly good to eat together.

1 comment:

  1. Had my first Crimson Crisp today. It sure is both crimson and crisp! Loved it immediately, the way I loved honey crisp years ago. YUM!


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