Saturday, August 17, 2019

Ducal Honors for Gatekeeper

Striped ribbed apple

Chances are good these are a named variety, but Josh, from Western Washington, calls them Gatekeeper. That will do since we do not know what they are.

They have a good texture for such an early apple, and painterly streaks of red. Sadly, for eating out of hand these do not work for me.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Feast on these

Yellow apples, some faintly blushed, in a wooden bin

My advice for the week: If you find Pristine for sale, seize with both hands.

Photo from farmers market last Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hightop Sweeting

Green-yellow apple with faint small blush.
I wrote about Hightop just two weeks ago. It was not ripe then, but sometimes one is fortunate enough to get a second chance.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

A late report on early apples

green apples with red blush, for sale at Farmers market

And here they are.

They were also "here" last Saturday—at the Union Square (Somerville) farmers market—but I wasn't.

Then on Wednesday violent storms closed Arlington's market before I could get there.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hightop Sweeting (June Sweet)

Spring green apple with slight small blush

I have several of these small green apples, noticeably ribbed and slightly conical. Two of them bear a small faint blush, and in the blush the lenticel dots make a faint light spray.

The green is light and subdued, a little milky. This is my first local apple of the season and I am excited to have a "new" (to me) variety to start things off with this year. A good omen!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Apple anniversary

Today marks the first day of the twelfth year of this blog, originally conceived as a one-year project.

A garland of apples on the branch

Sight me up for another, if only to counter last year's dismal showing (in the new-apple review department).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Baby Baldwin

Unripe but partially blushed apple on the branch

Any day now the apple harvest will begin. The soon-to-be-picked apples—Lodi, Vista Bella—are recognizable on the tree.

Most of the later season apples, at this point, look pretty much alike, unless you peer very closely.

They are round, they are green, and they do not look ready to eat.

But don't you think that baby Baldwin, above, is very like?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

More apples to come

A reader writes:

On our island in Lake Mälaren, one hour west of Stockholm, Mantet has matured the most. "An attractive red-flushed early-season apple variety from Manitoba in Canada. The name is a combination of 'man' for Manitoba, and 'tet' from Tetofsky, one of the parent varieties."

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Early fruit

Unripe apples on the branch
These apples were hanging out earlier today at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Apple drought

Things are not pretty here at the end of June.

Supermarkets are flush with Honeycrisps picked in August of 2018.

Of course the cupboard has been bare at almost every orchard for most of 2019.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June apple notes from all over

It's still about a month before the first local apples are ready to eat here.

But in Australia (above), there are still plenty of keepers in good shape from the spring harvest.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The evolution of the apple

Apples are from Kazakhstan. But how did they get from there to circle the globe?

How did they evolve from the wild, and in response to what evolutionary imperatives?

One part of the story: the Silk Road. Another: horses.

Monday, May 27, 2019


a ribbed red appleA round red apple

The best apples are a blend of sweet and tart.

These apples are in or near the sweet spot where the tension between sugar and tartness is perfectly balanced and the flavors sing.

The old pomologists used the term "subacid" to describe an apple that had some acidity in the mix, but which stopped just short of being predominantly acid.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

From flower to fruit

Pink and white apple blossomsYellow and pink apple with prominent ribs

What do you want to be when you grown up?

These apples are grafted, so there is really no doubt about that here.

Behold the Calville Blanc D'Hiver.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Williams, before and after

Pink and white apple blossomsTapered apple, red blush tinged with orange

Two Williams data points, one from Harvard on Sunday, another from my Williams review circa 2015.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Hightop Sweeting

Apple blossoms in the sun
There's an apple in there someplace.
I have never had the pleasure of tasting a Hightop Sweeting, so no "after" photo this time.

But isn't this one gorgeous? (And isn't that a topping name?)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Before and after

Pink apple blossoms

Above, two moments in the life of Duchess of Oldenburg, an antique Russian variety with cooking and keeping qualities.

It's a late-summer apple.

A friend took this and other blossom photos in Harvard, Massachusetts, yesterday.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Massachusetts dreamin'

Pink apple buds unfurl

Is it too soon to hope
On this chilly wet day in early May
For the sun, and a bountiful harvest

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Conrad Siever

A single red apple hangs in a tangle of branches against the sky
Not in that wasted garden

Where bodies are drawn into grass

That feeds no flocks, and into evergreens

That bear no fruit —

There where along the shaded walks

Vain sighs are heard,

And vainer dreams are dreamed

Of close communion with departed souls —

But here

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Apples on the web: Recipes

Drinking Cider has curated a Pinterest page of recipes made with cider, both hard and sweet.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cosmic Crisp vs. SugarBee smackdown

Two large red apples
In the realm of Honeycrisp and its two principal rivals, EverCrisp and Cosmic Crisp, the SugarBee (R) is but a poor relation.

Why, it doesn't even have the word "crisp" in its name.

But it comes from the same stock and aims for the same effect.

So join me for a comparison tasting with Cosmic Crisp (L), since I am fortunate to have both today.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cosmic Crisp vs. EverCrisp smackdown

Two large orange-red apples
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new apple variety with the word Crisp in its name is positioning itself for a run at Honeycrisp.

Of course, that means these rival varieties are also implicitly competing against each other.

So, Cosmic Crisp (L) and EverCrisp, what do you have to say for yourselves?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Designer stickers

The PLU sticker for this apple shows a cartoon bee taking a selfie

If you have to stick a plastic label on your fruit, why not design it to a fare-thee-well?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Cosmic Crisp vs Honeycrisp smackdown

Two large apples, red over yellow
You knew this was coming, right?

I just ate these guys, and am feeling—sugared out.

The spectacular commercial success of Honeycrisp (right) has spawned a generation of challengers. Today comes Cosmic Crisp to claim the Saccharine Crown.

If you are a Honeycrisp fan, you've got to be wondering how the challenger stacks up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cosmic Crisp

A red apple glistening in the winter sunshine
Today's apple has attracted an extraordinary amount of attention from growers in Washington State The state university there developed and is promoting the new variety.

The growers are responding by ordering and planting thousands of trees.

Cosmic Crisp is a very handsome apple, quite big, with a saturated blush of orange-tinted crimson decorated by lenticel dots.

These run the gamut from tiny and distinct to large and diffuse. Ribbing also runs a range from moderate to pronounced.

My photo sample is tapered but most of the others are rounder and blocky.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Two Pecks

Two one-peck paper bags full of yellow-green apples
No wonder they call keepers "winter apples."

I got two pecks of GoldRush apples today.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

First of all, British Apples

Eric Blair and an old-style microphone labeld BBC
Eric Arthur Blair, who wrote as George Orwell, praised the apples of Britain in an essay about British food that went unpublished for many years.

In addition it is worth listing the foodstuffs, natural or prepared, which are especially good in Britain and which any foreign visitor should make sure of sampling.

The British Council commissioned the essay in 1946 and then declined to publish it.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The (few) stars of 2019

Last year I only tasted 3 "new" (as in, new to me) apples, so this will be short.

Squat yellow apple with faint orange stripesTapered yellow apple with partial red blush and thin stemRed-blushed apple with a faint yellow spot
It's halfway to spring (yes it is!), and it is my custom at this time of year to bring my qualitative ratings up to date, awarding one, two, three, or no stars.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Honeycrisp and Cider


Today on our menu: the second of two posts about recent stories you may have missed.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Winter Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp fresh off the tree is popular and prized. How does it fare four months later?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Apples posing

Many friends and others have told me of the recent New York Times story about a striking collection of apple photos.

The photos are by William Mullan, who got most, and perhaps all, of his apples from the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Juci (Juci Delite)


Red-blushed apple with small white spots

This new Honeycrisp x Braeburn cross is emerging from the development stage (grafting and planting trees) to retail (enough fruit-bearing trees to bring apples to market).

Its saturated blush is a deep crimson—darker in person than in my photo.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

In case you missed them, part one


Today's report just shares some recent stories about apples.

I learned about some of these from my readers. So, not exactly news to everyone. But, enjoy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

To my readers on the new year, 2019

With this, my tenth new year's message, I send my very best wishes for the year to come.

I cannot, however, help but share a troubling statistic with you. This year I only found three apples to add to my opinionated catalog.

Apple Reviews by Year 2008–18

Graph showing number of reviews published in Adam's Apples declining from a high of 41 the first year to 3 in 2018.
Year published refers to the year of the canonical review, which in a few cases is later than an earlier review of the same variety; such earlier reviews are not included.

I find it hard to imagine what this blog would be without new apples to sample and share.