Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate-flavored apple

Last night I reached into my now-tiny stash of apples from last fall and bit into my very last Topaz.

The apple was halfway to wrinkles but its texture was first rate, crisp and juicy. What really bowled me over was the distinct taste of chocolate, one of the last flavors I expect to find in any apple.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Close to the wax

Many thanks to Eric Curry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for today's photo of an apple.

Did you recognize it? Since the zoom on Eric's camera—an electron microscope—is more powerful than mine, we are actually looking at platelets of the natural wax that comprise the cuticle, the outer part of the peel.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Index cloud

The alphabetical index to this blog remains the best way, probably, to find things here. (The index is in the sidebar at right, far down, after the alphabetical list of apple reviews.)

But you might also take a squint at the new topic cloud page. It's a more graphical index with freqency indicated by font size and color.

As of today there's a link to it among the navigational tabs (links, visual, etc.) near the top of the page (just above the first blog post).

Monday, February 13, 2012


A cultivated variety: a breed of plant that is created or sustained by human activity, by propagation. In the case of apples, which do not breed true from seed, all such propagation is by grafting.

The reciprocal of apple cultivar, more or less, is the pippin, an apple variety grown from seed. In a sense all cultivars began as pippins. Those not preserved through cultivation become extinct at the death of the ungrafted tree.

Modern apple-breeding programs routinely destroy thousands of varieties for every new apple brought to cultivation. Arguably these rejects are cultivars too, though a short-lived. (If so, were they never pippins? Discuss.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apples on the Web: Orange Pippin

Pop the name of most any apple variety into your search engine and you will likely find a link to Yorkshire-based Orange Pippin, an admirable and delightful web site about apples.

It has only gotten better since I first reviewed it here in 2008.