Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Unlikely spring Macoun

Macoun in autumn
Even in a good year, the delightful Macoun cannot be had for love or money after the end of March.

Yet I am eating one today at the tail end of May.

It's a wonderful apple in inferior shape, and eating one today is both rewarding and disappointing.

Nonetheless I eat for pleasure and by choice, not from obligation or loyalty.

Macoun is a member of the vinous McIntosh family developed 80 years ago at the Geneva, New York, agricultural station. At peak it is a fabulous treat, crisp and breaking, tart and sweet, with floral and berry flavors and a little spice.

Winter Macoun
Macoun can also be very good, if not lyrically great, during the winter if properly stored.

Supermarkets here in the Northeast buy Macouns from wholesalers with big controlled atmosphere refrigerators.

I'm always sorry to see them go in January or March, though their quality falls off towards the end. So imagine my surprise to find some for sale at a local market in late April.

I've been eating them on and off this month and their quality has been variable. But even the worst have a good deal of Macoun's signature flavors (though blurred), making them worth eating despite a hint of mealiness.

The best have had a very pleasant crisp texture and are real finds.

McIntosh, Macoun's parent, is also available this time of year here in the Northeast. Both of these varieties suffer similarly from such long sleep in storage: an attenuation of both texture and flavor.

I can now report that Macoun's tastes, at any rate, fare better than those of McIntosh, at least through the end of May.

Update: These persisted through most of June, though their quality continued to decline.


  1. I was surprised how long the supermarkets had these and how good they still tasted. They were not perfect off the tree Macouns but they still were crunchy and tastey.

    1. I think it very likely that the variation in quality I found among these very late Macouns was due to handling on the shop floor, not storage.

      In other words, in a bin of these apples, some have been on the floor for a while, others fresh from storage; some were in the top layer, etc.

  2. Another surprise for me a couple of months ago was Acey Mac crunchy and tastey for coming from storage.

    1. Is Acey Mac the same as Spartan? Some sources seem to think so, others suggest otherwise.

    2. they were not as red as spartan. They looked like large macs. I was sick of looking at them everytime I went to the supermarket. so I finally grabbed some. I think they were better than empires which I usually eat.


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