Monday, October 24, 2011

Apples I Have Known - in a book


Janet blogged recently about an apple-picking expedition, with photos that reminded me of excursions to the apple orchard that has been our family's favorite vender for decades. We didn't make it out there this year -- yet.

The number of munching, saucing and pie-baking kids and grandkids that we had around here at times could consume quite a few bags and boxes of fruit during apple season, and our grower friend featured almost 30 varieties of apples, which kept his barn open to customers for a deliciously long time.

My daughter whom I call by the name of a favorite apple gave me a small book that is fun to peruse when the apple farm closes, or when there isn't enough demand for fresh fruit in the house. It is all about various kinds of apples, with bright watercolors of those featured. Some old varieties, some newer.

Above is the Cortland that Janet is enjoying. If you want to read the text in any photo just click on the picture to enlarge it.

The Arkansas Black is one of that large selection on the local apple farm, and I have cooked with it many times.

Another friend and neighbor grew an orchard full of Criterions and sold gallons of the fresh juice out of his barn. Our older kids helped on the ranch, thinning the crop and such like, and no doubt these extra sweet and crisp fruits contributed to their good health.



Jonathans were a favorite of my father, as I discovered late in his life when I was given a boxful of runts. Late in the mountain season I sat in his cabin cutting up the fruit for applesauce, and he ate a dozen while youthful memories flooded his head.


And the Gravenstein -- it's got such a tang that as I write about it I start salivating. Its season is short, but there are plenty of orchards in our part of the country, and it adds the most appley flavor to whatever you cook with it. I have made many a curried apple turkey loaf with Gravenstein sauce.

I like the pictures of all the odd apples that I've never encountered, especially the sort of ugly knobby ones, or those with russeting or bumps, or elliptical shapes.

But my favorite apple of all, and naturally the best-for-me entry in this book, is one that was more available in stores when I first learned to bake pies. After using the same apples for many years, I have to admit that only Pippins make a pie that with my whole being I can rejoice in as Apple Pie. To prove my love, I am feeling a need to make a trip to Our Orchard this week and get a boxful.

12 comments:

wayside wanderer said...

What a neat book! It would be fun to expand my apple knowledge...both head knowledge and taste knowledge!

Janet said...

I agree with WW -- this book looks terrific! I see two varieties I've never heard of, so I'll need to check those out. And you've inspired me to go out and get some pippins as well!

In recent years I've enjoyed honeycrisp apples for eating -- so very juicy and delicious.

magsmcc said...

I read this post with a mind full of the thought that instead of tripping over the large, picked by our own hands, bag of Bramleys I need to actually do soemthing with them! Will they keep in the cold of the garage, or shall I get to with pies and crumbles and sterilised jars?!! Not quite the variety that makes me drool in your beautiful words and images!

GretchenJoanna said...

I see that Bramleys are in my book, and it says that they are "England's best baking apple." That sounds drooly enough!

Harmony said...

I think I may need to peruse your book to try to identify our apple tree. (You seem to have responded to my facebook post with a whole blog!) It looks and sounds similar to a Jonathan, except for the "not holding shape when cooking" part. But now you make me want to plant a Pippin! Any chance you can snag some leftover Gravs when you go buy your Pippins?

Janet, I also love Honeycrisps for fresh eating. But I'm still looking for the ideal eating-and-pies crossover apple. Perhaps the Pippin is a close as they come.

beach babies said...

WOW! What a fab book! Thanks for the introduction. . .

Pom Pom said...

My grandpa had apple trees. We ate our fill of Wolf Rivers (HUGE!), Transparents, and Gravensteins. YUMMY! I need some pie.

Jeannette said...

Loved it all but the picture of you cooking up apples with your dad munching and sharing in the cabin warmed my heart.

Celeste said...

Love this...words and visuals. Craving apple pie. And that book. Thanks!

elizabeth said...

Nice! enjoyed this, thanks! A good apple is a very good thing!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

We have apple trees up in the mountains, and every year we make lots of pies. Strangely, I have no idea what kind of apples they are. They're not great eating apples, but they bake up real nice.

xofrances

rsctt said...

Our family just loves apple picking time! It's always a nice outing.

www.wayfarersquest-rsctt.blogspot.com