I read THE most interesting article about apples yesterday. Really: The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious.
Things I never knew. UNTIL NOW:
- Red Delicious apples are generally thought to be disgusting. All these years, I assumed I was the only one! How else to account for the fact that,
- through the 1980s, Red Delicious apples made up 75% of Washington's apple crop. Seventy-five percent!
- the Red Delicious started out as Hawkeye, and wasn't a deep red color at all. The name was changed to Stark Delicious, and finally Red Delicious (to pair with Golden Delicious) in 1914.
- it only became that crimson red color when a mutated branch of apples appeared in 1923.
- a wide variety of apples such as Fuji and Gala were not readily available to American consumers until the 1990s. All this time, I thought it was my growing awareness as I grew up that explained why I only started eating those superior kinds of apples more recently. But they just weren't available.
- there was an apple industry bailout (in the 1990s, under President Clinton). An apple. industry. bailout.
- since the 1990s, the Red Delicious harvest has decreased 40 percent. Furthermore, 60 to 65 percent of that reduced number will be shipped overseas for consumption, instead of bothering you guys in the US.
Read the article. Isn't this the truest/most beautiful thing you've ever read about Red Delicious apples?
[This is] the paradox of the Red Delicious: alluring yet undesirable, the most produced and arguably the least popular apple in the United States. It lurks in desolation. Bumped around the bottom of lunch bags as schoolchildren rummage for chips or shrink-wrapped Rice Krispies treats. Waiting by the last bruised banana in a roadside gas station, the only produce for miles. Left untouched on hospital trays, forlorn in the fruit bowl at hotel breakfast buffets, bereft in nests of gift-basket raffia.
As genes for beauty were favored over those for taste, the skins grew tough and bitter around mushy, sugar-soaked flesh.In conclusion, here are my favorite apples, in order of preference, based on what is available to me here (we had lots more varieties in Ithaca that I've not seen elsewhere, since).
Jazz. Do you have these in the US?
Ambrosia. Same question as above.
Fuji. This used to be my very favorite, but sometimes they're overlarge and watery.
Braeburn. These are hit-and-miss, here, though.
Honeycrisp. But they're overpriced and sometimes not good all the way through.
Gala. But only if they're crisp, and they often are a little mealy for my taste. It's too bad because these are cheap and easily available here.
Granny Smith. Good for cooking or making apple salsa.
What are your favorite apples?