Tuesday, October 18, 2011
October. That means cider and apples. Caramel apples rolled in chopped up peanuts. Apple pie, apple crisp, and just a good crisp apple for lunch. We had several apple trees on our property when I was a kid and my mother always had a good warm homemade applesauce cooking. We used to sprinkle cinnamon candies into our bowls and stir them in, watching that red dye become a part of that warm, cinnamon-ish treat.
Living in Michigan, the fall harvest of apples is wondrous. My favorite eating apple was/is the Macintosh. Then a few years ago, my daughter introduced me to the honeycrisp.
"Mom.. meet the best apple you've ever had"
"Honeycrisp... prepare to be bought year after year, and sliced, diced, and shared"
For a while, I couldn't find these apples after we moved to NC. I ordered them from Michigan each fall. Having them shipped is no small expense but worth every penny. I'd share. Then the person who received the apple would come back to me and say 'where did you find that apple? It's the best one I've ever had"
juicy and sweet and just the right amount of 'crisp', whoever came up with this apple is a genius. So I looked it up.
Honeycrisp apple trees were derived from a 1960 cross of Macoun and Honeygold, at the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. The University was looking to develop winter hardy cultivars with high fruit quality. The original Honeycrisp apple seedling was planted in 1962 at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center. In 1974 it was excepted as a possible new and exciting variety. Honeycrisp then know and evaluated as MN 1711 was tested at locations Minnesota, Michigan and here in New York at the Cornell Research Station in Geneva. In 1982, research scientist Dave Bedford rediscovered the tree and really loved the apples. As the story is told "He and Researcher James Luby went back to the records that had been kept on "1711." According to Luby, its data sheet had "DISCARD" scrawled across it." In 1988 a plant patented was applied for and in 1991 the apple we know as Honeycrisp was released for commercial propagation by the nurseries around the Country.
I now have a bunch of these apples in my refrigerator courtesy of my friend Ruth. I gave her a Michigan honeycrisp last fall and she said the usual 'wow where did you get that apple?" And then she has been on the prowl for them. Ruth can find anything! She heard they had them at a local discount store, made the trip over, called me and asked if I wanted some. They're all packed in a bubble plastic holder and yes indeed, they are close to that deep flavor from the Michigan apples. Ruth just saved me a whole bunch of money. :-)
Now to find good crisp cider. I did find some the other day, but it was a gallon size. Too much cider for this girl. But it's out there somewhere! Maybe the farmer's market? They have good mountain apples there.
and the best caramel apples? I found them at the mall at a chocolate shop. I mentioned to the girl at the counter the apples tasted like some we bought in Michigan at Uncle John's cider mill. (home of the absolute best apples, cider, doughnuts and caramel apples yum!) And this young lady was from Michigan. LOL She also would go to Uncle John's for cider etc.
In the long run. Michigan must have the perfect climate for apple growing.The abundance of fall apples made me into someone who depends on them for lunches and when it gets a bit cooler, the apple hunting commences. Then the apple cooking. :-) and enjoying!