If I had to pick one fruit that I couldn't do without, it would have to be apples. I love a good apple and Topeka is lucky to have a really good local orchard, Rees Fruit Farm. Not only do they grow some of the best apples I've ever eaten, but they also make the absolutely best fresh cider I've ever tasted! I could drink it by the gallon, if I'd let myself.
There are hundreds of different kinds of apples: apples for eating fresh out of hand, apples for cooking, apples for fresh cider, apples for fermented cider, etc. There are several kinds of apples I like to eat, but I think my favorite all around apple for eating or cooking would have to be the Jonagold. The fruit is very pretty, with a thin skin of gold and yellow. The flesh is tender, a bit yellow and very juicy, with a perfect blend of sweetness and acid. I also like how it cooks to a meltingly tender flesh, not mushy, yet not too firm either. It is easily my favorite apple.
Old varieties of apples are making a big come back lately. Many of the old fashioned apple varieties have incredible flavor, but not as pretty as the Red Delicious types most people are familiar with. When I was a kid, on the old farm place there was an ancient orchard of a variety called Grimes Golden. It was probably the most delicious apple I've ever tasted. I often wish I had some of those apples again. Unfortunately, the old orchard finally died off. If I ever get a place where I can plant some fruit trees, this will definitely be one I'll want to try planting.
So, dear readers, do you have a favorite apple? If so, how do you like to eat it? Fresh out of hand? Cooked in some way? In salads? What do you do with your apples before you eat them? I look forward to hearing your apple story! And, as always, enjoy!
Oh and in case you are looking for new ideas about how to use apples or are interested in their history, check out the book, In Praise of Apples. It is an interesting read.