Friday, May 29, 2009

A Mac in May

McIntosh does not keep or travel as well as some varieties, but because of its historical popularity this variety is available year round in the Northeast.

Mine was harvested last fall, probably somewhere in New York, and likely refrigerated in a controlled atmosphere to retard spoilage. It has no aroma and very large light lenticels.

By springtime McIntosh's flesh is still a dense white with green highlights. It's still crisp, though tender, and the flavors are a washed-out echo of Fall's complex bite. There is a nice sweet-tart balance, with a suggestion of berries, a nod to this variety's vinous qualities, and a slightly astringent finish.

If the spirit of this later Mac is attenuated, the flesh is downright weak--it melts to nothing in one's mouth, leaving the peel, which is chewy but not unpleasant.

Though a shadow of its true self, this is still a pleasant and refreshing snack. It's also a demonstration of the potency of modern storage techniques and a preview of next Fall's bounty. I give it four months until this year's Macs are ready to eat.

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