Thursday, October 17, 2019

Three from Josh

Small pale yellow appleLarge orange-red appleSmall russet-and-orange apple

This is shaping up to be the Year of People Sending Me Apples.

This past summer Josh sent me what was probably Duchess of Oldenburg from his Eastern Washington orchard.

Josh thought so too. Hey, I got one right! And now the floodgates are opened.

I do not mind at all (far from it), but for the record let me explain why I probably cannot identify your mystery apple even if I have one to taste.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Tompkins King

Classically shaped red-orange apple.

When a reader named Josh packed up a care package for me from his orchard in western Washington, he threw in Tompkins King (aka King) because I had said (in my 2013 review) that I would like to try it again.

This Tomkins is large, ribbed, and classically shaped, if a bit broad in the beam.

It's a naturally green apple almost entirely covered with a blush of very fine streaks, orange-red. Look closely to see many regular tan lenticel dots. It is firm and fragrant.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kingston Black

Large conical red-orange apple
Kingston Black is famous!

But not for eating.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

One misty moisty morning

Bins of apples damp from a mist or light rain.
Some of the choices in the mist at the Union Square farmers market this morning.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Chenango Strawberry

Round, squat apple with streaky red blush over green-yellow

I had my first Chenango Strawberry two years ago, picked two weeks later than this one (which dates from mid September).

At the time wondered if my apple was a little too long off the tree, and wished for a second chance.

Well I got my wish, and I think this is a slightly better version. What I learned, however, is that I pretty much nailed it the first time.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Even the pips are red

Four red-tinged apple pips

I guess it is the Year of the Red Fleshed Harvest here at Adam's Apples. Behold the red-tinged pips of the Redfield apple.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


Deep red apple with russet and lenticel spots

This small, classically shaped apple has a deep red blush decorated with a rugged archipelago of russet and distinctive light lenticel dots. The peel has a satiny gloss.

My Redfield is moderately ribbed and has an open, and deep, calyx. It smells faintly of cinnamon, perhaps residue of actual cinnamon from baked goods in the farm shop where I bought the apple.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Welcome to autumn!

It's apple season, welcome to Adam's Apples! If you are curious about this fruit you have come to the right place.

Here you can find more than 260 different varieties described in my opinionated catalog. If that's more than you can chew, you might visit my seasonal guide or my Michelin-style rating system for apples.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Frostbite and Williams Pride

Two apples, one at right very dark, the other also dark but streaky.

Most of the time, my comparison posts start by introducing the apples and asking, which is best?

This isn't that kind of thing. Instead the question is, will these apples go together as well as I imagine?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Seeing Red

Shelburne Farm, in Stow, Massachusetts, is on a tear with red-fleshed apples, and here are three of them.

Three red-fleshed apples, sliced
Left to right: Scarlet Surprise, Pink Pearl, Firecracker

The photo above buttresses three of my observations about red-fleshed apples generally.

Sunday, September 22, 2019


Large oblate apple, streaky red, with a green leaf still attached to its thick stem.

The Starkeys are particularly good this year, the way the Baldwins were last year. So I thought I'd taste one again.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sun and Shadow

Bins of apples in the sun, some in shadow, with stacks of vegetables on a shelf in back of the apples

The light plays across the apples at farmers market yesterday.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Firecracker (Bill's Red Flesh Crab)

An oval apple with a glossy deep red peel cut to show pink flesh.
This small, crabapple-sized fruit, with its glossy deep red peel and striking pink flesh, is gorgeous. But is it good to eat?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ellison's Orange

Two orange-red apples. The one on the left has broad saturated stripes.The broad stripes on the apple at left do not appear to be usual, but I wanted you to see it alongside the more-typical apple on the right. Both are Ellison's Orange.

Consequently there are two examples of this English apple to enjoy.

These fruits are on the small side of large, a cheerful spring green layered with a subdued orange-red blush and a fair amount of rusetting.

The surface finish ranges from matte to rough.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The View from Outside

Yellow green apple with distinct darker and lighter halves
It's no trick of the light. This yellow-green apple (a French cider apple with a familiar name) really does present a two-toned face to the world.

The lower left two-thirds is distinctly darker, with a jagged but clear boundary.

That darker area has a curious translucent quality, as though the apple were a sponge that had been partially moistened. What is going on?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Scarlet Surprise (Bill's Red Flesh)

A red apple sliced open to reveal pink flesh. THe pink grows lighter towards the core, but there is a dark red spot near the very center.
Note the dark red bulls-eye near the center.
Outwardly, Scarlet Surprise is a round, red apple, pretty if not remarkable.

Now imagine biting in to discover that the color is more than skin deep. Surprise!

To avoid surprises, the grower had sliced samples on display. But the true surprise lies in this apple's interesting flavors.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Rave (First Kiss)

A red apple with tiny light spots.

Suddenly, this new variety is everywhere.

My supermarket has them in the merely large size, and the grocery chain Trader Joe's has big ones for sale loose and little ones by the bag.

Stemilt, the grower with one of two North American licenses for this apple, sent me six huge ones, and that's what I have before me today.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Early McIntosh vs. Paul Red Smackdown

Two round red apples

McIntosh is still the King of Autumn in these parts. Consequently, many contenders vie for the role of August regent before Mac's royal debut in September.

Mac isn't available to eat now, so the best we can do is to rate Early McIntosh (L) against Paula Red (R).

Paula is both (1) the most Mac-like of the August earlies, and (2) the only other Mac-wannabee available when Early Mac is ripe.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Early McIntosh (Early Mac)

Round red apple with prominent white lenticel spots.
When I started this blog, I had the notion that this apple was not a real variety. That the name was just a generic catchall for any number of different early apples.

Not so, of course: Early McIntosh has a first-rate pedigree, with McIntosh himself providing the parenting pollen and Yellow Transparent the seed.

Though I figured that out a while ago, this is my first bite.

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.