Friday, March 25, 2011

A Banana in winter

It was logical to suppose, back in October, that the Winter Banana might be a long-lived keeper, also know as a winter apple.

I bought a few extra to sample as the cold months unspooled.

Winter Banana proved to be as durable as Arkansas Black, which the Banana also resembles in texture and sheer wooden hardness.

Here's how it went.

Early December
This apple was every bit as firm and ligneous as my October tasting samples (more so than one of them). Still no hint of the long yellow fruit in either aroma or taste.

January 4
January's Winter Banana is still very firm, but perhaps a shade more tractable to the tooth. The flesh grew a bit granular in spots. Quite good to eat, flavorful and mild.

The flavors have become mellower and more muddled. The pear is still distinct, but the spice has receded. And for the first time I can taste some flavors that make me think of a banana.

January 28
Still firm, but squeezing hard finds a little "give." There is a real banana aroma, though it is more like the smell of banana-flavored stuff than the smell of a real banana.

Parts of this apple are noticeably softer to the tooth but still a satisfying mouthful. There are a few signs that eventually someday a WB will grow mealy over time, but none of that yet.

Flavors are now all a muddled mosh. In the crispest part, around the crown, I get some banana-like flavors and a hint of pear and some vanilla. Elsewhere these are echoed in a way but indistinct. Flesh still quite hard & dense & filling.

March 19
I waited until the last day of Winter to eat my last Winter Banana.

This apple showed the ravages of time in a predictable progression, and was still very good to eat. It was quite firm to the hand, but with a small give.

The skin was slightly articulated with the beginnings of tiny wrinkles. There was not much aroma at all, banana or otherwise, just a very faint sweetness.

The dense flesh still held quite a bit of crispness, but clearly showed a kind of granularity that would be unpleasant mealiness in most apples. The mild sweet flavors are still pleasing and well balanced, but now so blended as to be nearly impossible to differentiate.

There's not clearly any banana flavor, if there ever was. Maybe a hint of pear.

And, a curiously satisfying snack.

The progress over time of Arkansas Black is similarly documented.


  1. Which do you prefer based on taste, Winter Banana or Arkansas Black?

  2. Cheska, I ought to write a comparison post with these two, if I can ever get both of them in the same season. I couldn't find either of them this year.

    Based solely on recollection, I should say that I'd prefer Arkansas Black in October and November, but Winter Banana by a small margin in January, which is when I would be more inclined to snack of either of them.


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