Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have some (slightly) overripe apples

Today I've got two great apples, Macoun and Cox's Orange Pippin, that have probably been ripening on the tree too long.

Both of these were picked late. L to R: Cox's Orange Pippin, Macoun.
I want to see what that is like.

Both of these varieties are normally harvested in early October. I picked these myself on October 26 and am sampling them on the 27th.

My Macoun is small and wonderfully dark, with a dusty bloom that mostly washes off. Even the lenticels are darker, with a red tint.

Late Macoun, lustrous and dark.
It seems to me that the peel is glossier, suggesting more natural wax, than the earlier harvest. It has an unusual almost fishy smell mixed with its natural sweet aroma, and I wonder if that might be the wax too.

The flesh is white shot with red and is wonderfully crisp. Many Macouns that have spent the month off the tree have lost some of that crunch. The apple is sweeter and less complex, though some vinousness and berries are recognizable.

There is also a little bit of water core, and the sugar gives each bite a heady, almost alcoholic note.

So the Macoun is still quite pleasant to eat, but not in the same three-star league as a peak example.

The Cox's has a right proper Cox look to it, red-orange streaks with a little russet spilling over from the stem well. There's no obvious sign of extra time on the tree as there was with the Macoun. A faint yeasty note in the way it smells is probably from peel flora.

Inside, however, the texture has suffered. It is soft, almost like a pear, quite juicy (and not at all mealy). The Cox's is sweeter and its flavors are all melded, though I do get some orange and a little pear.

These flavors are still rich and pleasing, but lack Cox's usual structure.

Despite all these defects this senior Cox's is still good to eat (with pleasure), but it is nothing like its prime self.

The real question is, why are there any of these wonderful apples still unpicked by the end of October? (Granted, there were not many of them.) Don't people know?

Clearly, my work remain undone.


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