Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Scarlett O'Hara **

Large red apple with some yellow showing through the blush in one spot

Scarlett O’Hara has a reputation as an apple that improves in storage.

I waited two weeks before trying one of these, and then another month and a half before tasting the second.

Quick take: This handsome flavorful apple juxtaposes some unexpected tastes in an appealing way. It has a great crunch, and is a first-rate keeper.

Both apples feature a partial blush over yellow. One apple is on the small end of large and the other is huge. They are blocky, with a respectable amount of ribbing.

The blush is striped and translucent around the edges, but features thick and saturated stripes in the center that are a deep red. Tiny light lenticels twinkle in the blush like stars in a carnelian sky.

The apple has a soft shine.

In early November, the first bite is cracklingly crisp, into fine-grained light yellow flesh. The fruit is balanced and sweet, with floral notes and a very slight acidic buzz.

Another flavor note, also subdued, is a little tangy, like a savory banana, if that makes any sense, or perhaps salted caramel. It is someplace out on the vanilla-banana spectrum.

I know that some people have problems with apples that are impenetrably dense. Though this apple is quite firm, it is not rock hard in that way.

This apple is not yet at peak. Its flavors a have a tentative quality that does not fully distinguish them. Nonetheless, its great crunch and interesting flavors make it a pleasure to eat.

In mid December, my second Scarlett O had held up well.

It is as firm and breaking crisp as in November, and the flavors are well developed.

There is a citric opening that, further into the chew, seamlessly dissolves into banana in a very appealing way. Make that under-ripe banana.

A distinct savory note, which may be coming from the peel, chimes in after that. There is also a slightly floral-spicy effect.

The finish is mildly astringent. The parade of flavors is very fine. My only complaint: The unripeness of the banana flavor cloys just a little over time.

Scarlett O is a very fine apple worth seeking in October to eat in December or, who knows, even later.

I am sorry I do not have more than these, because (1) I'd like to try another one in a month and (2) I'd also like another tomorrow. But mine were just about the last in the bin back in October.

Nearly empty wooden crate labeled "Scarlett O'Hara"
I don't even think these were all Scarlett Os
The O'Hara is another fine Coop apple with a complicated pedigree. (Real name: Coop 25.)

I hope this variety will catch on and become easier to find over the next few years. It is a winner.

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