Thursday, May 28, 2015

New England apples from an expert in the field

Published last fall, Apples of New England is a rich guide to a topic close to my heart.

The small volume is somewhere between a coffee-table book, a primer, and a reference.

The author, Russell Steven Powell, is the former executive director of the New England Apple Association; he keeps his own apple blog. Documentation of each apple includes meticulous photos by Barr Lois Weeks, the current director.

In addition to a catalog of hundreds of varieties, Powell tells us some of the central stories about apples, with an emphasis on their New England roots in America.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spring Gold


When I started this blog in 2008 it would never have occurred to me to hoard apples throughout the winter so that I could enjoy them in mid-May.

Fortunately, I've learned a thing or two since then.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Market prices make a hierarchy of apples

My own ratings notwithstanding, the market has spoken about the relative value of different apple varieties.

In the supermarket today, a few tried-and-true varieties are in the bargain bin, going for 99¢ per pound.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Will a chilly spring bring a bumper crop?

No blossoms yet! Though in 2010 trees flowered (above) on April 24.
It's been grey and cool in New England this month, an extension of an unusually harsh winter.

But Russell Powell, writing on his blog New England Apples, says that farmers are glad of the chill. An early spring

forces a premature bloom in the apple orchard, putting the delicate flowers and nascent apples at risk of frost damage for an extended period.

Colder weather delays the apple blossoms to a time when a killing frost is less likely.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

7 Victorian towns brawled for Baldwin Apple honors

Fisticuffs!
Fisticuffs! (Public domain image)
In the 19th Century no less than seven New England communities professed to be the one true home of the original Baldwin apple tree.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Apples washing, waxing & packing

Here is how the pros do it:



This time of year, unless you've got exceptional storage, all of your apples probably go through something like this.

Video by Domex Superfresh Growers of Yakima, Washington.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jazz. vs. Kanzi smackdown

Jazz (L), Kanzi
Jazz, at left, has the same parents as Kanzi.
Today's match pits Jazz (left), a Gala x Braeburn cross, against Kanzi, a, um, Gala x Braeburn cross.

So strap yourself in for some real sibling rivalry.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Study refutes apple-doctor relationship

"Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away," according to the abstract of a paper published on the web site of the Journal of the American Medical Association today.

Graph of apple health data

However, "the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications."

That's according to the paper "Association Between Apple Consumption and Physician Visits: Appealing the Conventional Wisdom That an Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away" (JAMA Intern Med doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5466).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kanzi (Nicoter)

Kanzi
Kanzi, which means "hidden treasure" in Swahili, is a modern breed from Belgium.

It is large but not huge, tapered and conical, a cheerful glossy yellow partially covered with an orange-tinged-red blush.

Small lenticels are only prominent in the lightly blushed regions, and the unblushed yellow has green highlights.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

In praise of rubbery apples

Rubbery beats mealy.

Most apples grow mealy after enough time in storage, or in poor storage, and who likes that? Some sooner than others, some more and some less.

Even staunch Arkansas Black starts to go a little granular by April.

Yet a few apples take a different tack as they age. Varieties like Gold Rush and Esopus Spitzenberg keep their crunch and grow distinctly elastic.