I was especially interested to taste Malinda, the matriarch of the Minnesota breeding program, after trying her offspring Haralson and other North Star apples.
So, feast your eyes. No one is obliged to agree, but I find this kind of painterly apple beautiful, russet, flyspeck and all.
Malinda is medium-sized and generally conical and tapered, with moderate but perceptible ribbing.
The peel is in that indeterminate zone between spring green and green yellow, except for a small wash of streaky orange blush on the sunward side. The peel has a soft shine.
There’s that russet radiating jaggedly from the stem well, and some rusty lenticels that blend in so well that they mostly just add a little more texture to the mix of russet-and-blush stripes.
Malinda is solid and, for her size, heavy. She bears a sweet yeasty aroma, courtesy of the peel flora.
Her flesh is a bit yielding, fine grained yellow, and some of the driest of any I have tried. But she bears rich fine flavors, perfectly balanced with hints of orange and pear, a good dollop of cane sugar, and a little bit of grain towards the end when the other flavors peter out. Sweet finish, too.
Malinda is a mixed bag because of her dry texture. (Bet she'd make great dried fruit, though.) Still, it's easy to see why apple breeders have returned to her again and again to produce some great varieties.
I don't find much of Malinda in Haralson, an early UMinn staple, but my first bite of Malinda immediately brought to mind the wonderful flavorful Chestnut Crab.
Some say there is a little Malinda in Honeycrisp, too, though nobody seems exactly sure how.
Malinda must do well in Minnesota, but she is an immigrant, originally from New England (some say Vermont).
I am especially grateful to Lisa Boes, who provided me with Malinda and other varieties direct from Minnesota on her recent visit back east.