Saturday, March 11, 2017

So you like Golden Delicious

Do you like steady, mellow, and well flavored Golden Delicious? This honeyed variety has enriched the world of apples as much or more than any. It is reliably consistent and easy to eat. It stores well and is available year round.

However, Golden Delicious is best during or after the October harvest. If you are eating Golden D in late summer or early fall, you really owe it to yourself to try some of the great varieties that are available fresh.

Take, for example, gorgeous Elstar, which ripens in September. It is half Golden Delicious and bears luscious fruity flavors.

Another earlier apple, Golden Supreme, suggests Golden Delicious so strongly that it is surprising to learn there is no known relationship. G. Supreme is lighter and less complex than G. Delicious, with an appealing crunch.

If you like Golden Delicious, you really ought to try Lucky Rose Golden. It is a singular sport or genetic mutation of Golden D.

Sports are not uncommon, and it can be lucrative to discover a sport of a popular variety. These usually incorporate some change in disease resistance or harvest date or other characteristic that does not affect taste or texture.

Lucky Rose however really has its own flavors and I think of it as a separate breed. It has some interesting pear and pineapple notes I've never found in its parent. Keep an eye out for this one in the fall.

One of my favorite of Golden D's children is pale Ozark Gold, a crisp and light apple that is said to improve in storage. Unfortunately I do not see this one around very often! If you do, give it a bite for me.

I would also be remiss if I did not recommend Grimes Golden. Grimes is G.D.'s parent, and to my taste the superior apple, comprising unusually harmonious flavors. Not easy to get, but if you can find one I'd love to hear your take on how it stacks up to its famous offspring.

You might also enjoy Jonagold, a cheerful big apple with a bigger crunch. The New England Apple Association has likened this variety to Honeycrisp. As the name suggest, it is half Golden D.

Indeed, you could tour a good bit of he world of apples through the lens of Golden Delicious! It has been bred with many other varieties.

Compare Brock (GD x McIntosh) with its parents, and see how it neatly splits the difference, a balance of mellow and sprightly. (While you are at it, compare with Spencer (also GD x McIntosh), which splits the difference a little differently.)

I just want to commend two other late-season varieties for your attention. The first is Blushing Golden, another GD x Jonathon breed. It is tasty enough off the tree but in storage blossoms into something rich and wonderful. These are good to eat in December and into the winter.

The other apple is Gold Rush, the most phenomenal keeper I know. If you can keep your hands off of these bronze beauties until April you will have something better to eat in the spring than anything you can find in a store that time of year.

Your taste for Golden Delicious, a great, steady, and vastly underrated apple (for all that apple breeders know its worth) equips you well to explore the world of apples. Dive in!


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