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Apple Cultivars, New And Old


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I feel like Johnny Appleseed. These really are an impressive new intro, particularly compared to, say, brocciflower. Not every hybrid works, but Honeycrisps are going to replace many dull apples in lunchboxes, pies and on cheese plates. Try them in an updated Waldorf salad or with some Cambazola. Whole Foods will always let you try one to see if they are worth buying. And Batgrrrl, we miss you, too. Lots.

Judy Amster

Cookbook Specialist and Consultant

amsterjudy@gmail.com

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  • 3 years later...

Apparently Honeycrisp apples have been named an "innovation that changed the world" and there's been all sorts of other hoopla, but I keep trying them, and they seem kind of bland to me. I've bought them from a bunch of different sources, from the local farmer's market to supermarkets. Is it just my taste, or have I not yet found the really good ones?

(I like jonagolds and mutsu's and braeburns, for examples.)

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reallllly? i wonder if the ones you are getting are not the current crop? although, the farmer's market ones sure should be...

i really don't even like apples, eaten out of hand, and the first time i tasted a honeycrisp (not due to the hype, which i heard about later, but because i was on a diet), it nearly blew my tiny mind. so crispy-crunchy, so juicy, so sweet-tart and such layered flavor. now i look for them as soon as the kids go back to school, and have a little "fall moment" when i take that first bite.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Apparently Honeycrisp apples have been named an "innovation that changed the world" and there's been all sorts of other hoopla, but I keep trying them, and they seem kind of bland to me. I've bought them from a bunch of different sources, from the local farmer's market to supermarkets. Is it just my taste, or have I not yet found the really good ones?

(I like jonagolds and mutsu's and braeburns, for examples.)

I have also noticed the quality is not consistent from one source to another. But that could likely apply to many food items. Strangely I recently had Honeycrisp from my local Wegmans supermarket that were much better then the ones I picked myself.

I would recommend you keep trying. When you get a good one I have no doubt you will know it. Needless to say I think they are the best thing since bacon. :laugh:

Robert R

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reallllly? i wonder if the ones you are getting are not the current crop? although, the farmer's market ones sure should be...

i really don't even like apples, eaten out of hand, and the first time i tasted a honeycrisp (not due to the hype, which i heard about later, but because i was on a diet), it nearly blew my tiny mind. so crispy-crunchy, so juicy, so sweet-tart and such layered flavor.  now i look for them as soon as the kids go back to school, and have a little "fall moment" when i take that first bite.

I could not agree more! It is that layer of flavor that that makes me step back and say... Wow I can't believe an apple could be so good. I'm addicted.

Robert R

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Honeycrisp is my favorite apple, second being fuji.

Last year, I got them at whole food for something like $3.99/lb (a bit high in my mind for apples) and they were always crisp, juicy and very sweet.

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What is it about the Honeycrips that you don't like, Catherine?

I don't particularly care of them either (and I have access to really great ones) because I want a tarter apple. Haralsons are my go-to apple. They are wonderfully tart and crisp eaten out of hand, and are the baker's favorite (at least here in MN) for baking.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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(My email notification of replies is not working, again--hence the little delay in my response.)

The honeycrisps I've had are not as crisp as my favorites, though they are juicy. Mostly, though, it's that I haven't find the layers of flavor that chezcherie and robert40 are talking about. Their descriptions are exactly what I am looking for, but, as I said, they don't match my experience. I do like some tartness in my apples, and the honeycrisps seem to lack acidity. I don't think Haralsons are available in these parts (New England); they do sound perfect!

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this is so interesting...i wonder if there are honeycrisps and hoenycrisps...or if local (as usual) makes a diff....i'm in CA, and will pay more attention tot he darned sticker when i get more honeycrisps tomorrow...could be that they don't travel well or store well. as i said, i'm not an apple eater, but these are sooooo good (to my palate). the descriptor bland makes me think we are getting different apples, rather than having different taste receptors. curiouser and curiouser...

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Paul and the kids and I had lunch today with a couple who run an apple orchard, from the planting, to the picking, selling, etc.

One of his comments, when I mentioned this disucssion is that when the U of M, or athe NY Experimental Ag Station in Geneva develop an apple variety, they are developing it for that particular place. It has to do with the climate, the latitude, etc. A MN honeycrisp (we are the home, BTW!) is not going to perform the same in another place, just as a NY Empire is not going to perform here.

Add to that the variabilities of weather. Just how much rain did you get? Just how many sunny days did you get. Enough polination?

There's more to growing an apple, me thinks, that just planting a few trees!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I don't know much about growing apples but I love the honeycrisps! It seems we just get them for 4 - 6 weeks this time of year. They are crunchy and sweet with a little bit of tart....but just a little. Very good!

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I'm joining the camp that thinks Honeycrisps are blah. They're popular at my local Whole Foods though. I think this is a matter of taste. My palate tends to like the acidic, tart flavors, so Honeycrisps don't do a thing for me. I'm not even that fond of the very popular Fujis. Bring on the Braeburns, Jonagolds, and McIntoshes.

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I too am not impressed with the Honeycrisp. My favorite apple is the Melrose--crisp, juicy, and tart. I think the Honeycrisp is popular mostly because of its crisp texture. But if you notice all really fresh picked apples have that crunch which makes them taste so much better than stored apples. Russ Parsons in his terrific book "How To Read a French Fry," explains that a compound in apples called I believe its myolin is responsible for that crunch. As the apple ages he explains myolin dissapates--and apples loose that crisp quality. Perhaps Honeycrisps have a large myolin content that makes them crisp for longer. But while apples are in season if you get them fresh off the tree you'll be amazed at how wonderfully crisp and flavorful all varieties really are.

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You are absolutely right about fresh apples. I think MacIntoshes must have very little myolin; I have always disliked the ones I could buy, but we have a couple of huge old trees that have very MacIntosh-like apples (no pedigree, of course), and the apples we get from them are lovely and crisp. I'll have to read Parsons's book.

Does anyone have a sense of whether, if you cook an apple that has gone mealy, the mealiness (sp?) matters?

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Found honey crisp at costco.  8 for $ 7.99.  Not bad.  Came home stuck in the fridge and had some cold apples.  Crisp, juicy and sweet.  What a costco find.

Does anyone know about the derivation of the honeycrisp. I understand it is a patented fruit. Who developed it and who owns it now. THis is a great example of patenting nature. Plucots the tasty plum apricot cross are also patented. Seems a little scary to me. What other fruits or vegis are patented and what are your thoughts/

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Does anyone know about the derivation of the honeycrisp. I understand it is a patented fruit. Who developed it and who owns it now. This is a great example of patenting nature. 

I'm squarely in the not-too-crazy-about-Honeycrisp camp. To me they taste too sweet - perhaps because they lack the balance of tartness that Macoun's or even Macintosh have. I also found the texture to be a bit too light. Not borderline mealy like Red Delicious but too moist.

They were recommended to me at a local orchard when I stopped for apples but was a week too early for Macouns. I tried one and gave the rest of the bag away at work.

The marketing phrase "Explosively Crisp!" is trademarked but I'm not sure how long the patent on the apples itself is in effect. These were developed at the University of Minnesota but a large majority of new apple varieties are developed and named at Cornell University's Agriculture field station in Geneva NY.

The science behind apple hybridization is far from scary, has been practiced for centuries and is derived from the process by which single apple varieties have been stabliized and made consistent. One of the four sections in The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan covers apples and it is indeed fascinating.

According to the Honeycrisp Apples web site

These apples certainly live up to their trademarked "Explosively Crisp" moniker. "It snaps. The piece of apple almost pops off into your mouth," says University of Minnesota Horticulture Professor Jim Luby, one of the new apple's developmental godfathers. A winning all-purpose apple, the Honeycrisp offers a pleasingly crisp sweet-tart bite, but they are not limited to out-of-hand eating. These apples also star in the kitchen- any recipe in which apples are featured will be improved when using the Honeycrisp.

In the history of the apple industry, the Honeycrisp variety is a "new kid" on the block. Developed by the University of Minnesota from a Macoun and Honeygold cross (the Honeygold itself a cross between the Golden Delicious and Haralson), the new apple variety was introduced in 1991. Luby believes the Honeycrisp to be "the best, most exciting apple we've ever introduced." Weidman wholeheartedly agrees.

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Does anyone know about the derivation of the honeycrisp. I understand it is a patented fruit. Who developed it and who owns it now. THis is a great example of patenting nature.  Plucots the tasty plum apricot cross are also patented. Seems a little scary to me. What other fruits or vegis are patented and what are your thoughts/

The Honeycrisp was developed and patented by the University of Minnesota (patent number PP7,197; you can see the record here). Maybe the royalties are why Honeycrisps are twice as expensive as any other apple at my local farmers market? :biggrin:

I don't know what other fruits or vegetables are patented, though I recently heard the President of the University of Guelph complain about the fact that they never patented the Yukon Gold potato, pointing out just how much money the university would have from royalties by now if they had.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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This thread inspired me to pick up some organic Honeycrisp apples at the farmers market this morning.

I can be counted among those who never really understood what all the fuss was about, having found them to share of the qualities of other apples I don't particularly care for that people go nuts over...

The ones I bought today, however, had an incredibly delicate flavor profile. The taste really surprised me as I had remembered them being blandly sweet without any of the winey complexity of a really great apple (imo).

The texture, however, reminded me of why I never cared much for them to begin with.

Personally I prefer an apple with crunch and heft (Braeburn, Pink Lady, Winesap, Macoun) to one that is lighter-bodied and crisper and wet in the mouth with lots of watery juice (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp), if you know what I mean.

It's just a personal thing. As of today I understand what so many people love about them, though I'll still take a Mutsu or even a Macintosh over one any day.

I hope this makes sense.

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I've never cared for them. Plenty of crunch, little flavor, imho. I love Jonagolds as well, but they are hard to find.

Where do these apples come from? There's an orchard that sells 25+ types of apples at my local farmers market. Not a honeycrisp to be found. I'll try to remember to sound them out on the question.


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