Friday, March 16, 2018

The Rip Van Winkle apple

GoldRush apples, from 2017 and 2016.

Long have I marveled at the wonderful keeping qualities of GoldRush, a modern variety developed by the PRI Co-op.

Packed well, GoldRush keeps in my ordinary refrigerator, peaking in April and still quite tasty in June.

So today, six months out, let's sample the fall 2017 harvest.

And while we are at it, the 2016 harvest too.

That's right, that wrinkled old specimen at right in the photo above has been in my fridge since late October of 2016. That's when I bought it at Russell Orchards in Ipswich.

The younger (2017) GoldRush at left comes from Clarkdale Farm in Deerfield.

Except for the wrinkles, I think that most of the visual differences (shape, degree of blush) between these apples have to do with things other than age.

GoldRush apple
There's some natural variation in shape and size for any variety. I think the 2016 apple was probably more blushed to begin with (though I cannot swear to that).

I will add that parts of the 2016 apple, not shown, have a kind of foreboding brownish tint. These patches also mark the softest part of the apple.

2017 smells like an apple, while 2016 has a faint musty aroma, and very little else.

In terms of texture, 2017 has a little give to it when you squeeze, but 2016 is positively spongy.

That encourages me. Spongy beats mealy any day.

Biting In

The 2017 GoldRush is delightful, with pear and vanilla paired together and also honey and just a little spiciness. It's a rich blend of tastes that would be good any time of year.

The texture, more fine than coarse, is quite good and pleasantly chewy. Though GoldRush is never a big juice bomb, this one is appropriately succulent.

But we expected all that, didn't we? We've enjoyed these before, in late winter and into the spring.

What we want to investigate is that 2016 vintage. So:

Darned if the 2016 isn't—okay to eat.

Though rubbery inside, the texture is really very good. There is not a hint of mealiness 17 months off the tree.

Most of the apple's flavor, however, has fled. There is a general sweetness and a whisper of pear.

As you'd expect after such a long period of expiration, the flesh is not nearly as juicy as that of its younger sibling. The chewy peel is downright unpleasant.

But my goodness, ladies and gentlemen (and others): to be this good a year and a half out is remarkable!

If there is another apple that comes close to this quality after a year and a half of normal storage, I should like to know what it is.


Goldrush apples


  1. Well, she ain't pretty, but to still be edible 18 months out is amazing. Do you recall if this was a store apple that was waxed or without?

    1. @Copper, these are not in any stores around here. I got them at the orchards mentioned above. Natural wax only!

  2. I would love to see your fridge. I've been feeling self-satisfied with 2 shopping bags of Golden Harvey gleanings. But thats nothing to a fridge that has an 18mo apple in it.
    Perhaps one day you might share?

    1. @sal, there is nothing special about my refrigerator! It's the apples that are super.

  3. I got super into apples last year and through your blog and other sources ended up trying a decent variety (though not nearly as much as you have here). Goldrush ended up being my absolute favorite (of what I have tried) and the fact that they kept well was excellent.

    I bought up a decent selection back in october and november, but I finished them all easily two months ago already.

    Just love how flavorful they are. Nice tart but still sweet enough. Wishing there was something similar to tide me over until the fall.

    1. Hi Anon! Usually by now Lady Alice is in supermarkets. Give her a try if you get the chance!

  4. I recently did a video tasting ( ) of some wrinkled old goldrush from this year and they were not bad, rubbery fleshed and tasty enough. They had been stored in a cool shed, but the humidity was low enough that they shriveled quite a lot. The texture reminded me of a well dried apple, not too dry and still chewy. I quartered and peeled a couple of them and set them on a windowsill to dry. As suspected, they dried very well, even with no intervention at all, just sitting near the window by the woodstove for a few days. They also didn't brown very much. They are still chewy inside and have a very nice flavor. I could see this being a system of sorts when keeping gold rush. Eat on them as long as you want, then dry what's left over before the next season. I wouldn't be surprised if 1/4 of the moisture was already gone. They don't bruise easily and when they do, it doesn't seem to cause them to rot like other apples, so I'm guessing they could be dried slower and with less care than most other apples.

    1. You are on to something with that notion of a dried apple with a little chew left in it. As though: where other apples get mealy, GoldRush just advances slowly towards dried.

      Here's SkillCult's video tasting in clickable form.

  5. GoldRush is my favorite apple by far - luckily the farmers' stand opens today so I can go buy some!

    In other apple discoveries, I found two new varieties that I haven't heard of at a farm stand last weekend- the Nittany developed by Penn State University, and Spencerville Red an apple that seems to be hyperlocal to Montgomery County, Maryland. If I see them for sale later this year I'll be sure to try them

    1. Hi s.chou: you are lucky indeed to have someplace to buy these into April. I am still nursing a great awkward bag of them.

      Have heard of Nittany but not the other. Still, let's hear it for hyperlocal!


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