Thursday, December 11, 2008

Apples: Cameo and Johnagold

This is apple season, so when we went to the Publix the other day, all I really wanted were apples. They were so luscious-looking, all lined up in stripes from green on the left to red on the right, and so many names I haven't tried before. So I picked one of all the ones I haven't had, and I'm eating my way through them.

First was Cameo. It's a reddish apple in that stripy, blushy, speckley way that some apples have, red over orangy-yellow, but mostly red. Nowhere near as red as a Red Delicious, though. It's really white inside, crisp and juicy, and browned up before I was done eating it, but it didn't matter. It was delicious, firm and crunchy, making those apple-eating noises like apples on TV do and real apples so rarely do. It's a good balance of tart and sweet, a little more on the tart side, and assertive enough that I could have eaten it with peanut butter and it still would have tasted like an apple (this is one of my favorite ways to eat an apple, and it's always so disappointing when you put the pb on and that's all you can taste afterward). We baked an apple crisp with some of these (among others), and they held up to cooking while still getting all soft and pie-like.

Second was Jonagold. I've seen this one in seed catalogs-- it's a stable cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, and it's so much better than the catalogs let on, but exactly as good as the random lady who saw me picking one up said they were. It's red and yellow (I would up with two of them without noticing because the two were so on opposite sides of the red-yellow spectrum), with softer flesh that manages to be firm and smooth and not at all mealy all at the same time. It didn't brown that fast, and it cut really well and easily, and had a small core so that I had the maximum amount of apple for the fruit I picked. And the taste is just great. Damn neat perfect balance of tart and sweet, with the tart tasting like apple cider and the sweet being as complex as honey. There was one of these in the crisp, too, and I'm pretty sure it's the one that cooked down into the best applesauce I've ever had there on the bottom of the pan.

The idea of having to give up off-season apples for half of next year as I do my Seasonal Eating Experiment doesn't seem so bad if I can eat these apples when they come back in season.

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