Sunday, April 12, 2015

Apples to apples.

Ever since the huge and hugely popular Honeycrisp came out of Minnesota to conquer the produce aisle, appleologists of all stripes have been trying to come up with the next big apple. Not necessarily big in size, mind you, but big in dough-producing.

But size is not inconsequential.

Two that have popped up in the store recently are the Opal and the RubyFrost. No, not in the jewelry store, you silly person, in the food store where you buy food.

The Opal, a cross between the Topaz and the Golden Delicious, was quite tasty as an eating apple. (Yes, I know they're all eating apples; none are bricklaying apples or piano-playing apples. These are apples that are good for humans to eat raw. You are a silly person.) It's got that nice biteability that the Golden is known for, to coin a word. Or good mouthfeel, to use a word, coined by others, that I despise. This was a very tasty and sweet apple. with distinct notes of the harder Topaz. It was developed in Prague and grown in Washington state, which is probably why it looks so beat-up. It had a long way to go to get to my mouth. But it was worth the trip.

The RubyFrost, sorry to say, was less pleasant to eat. I found it tough, even more so than a Gala or Jazz, albeit with a similar refreshing taste. No surprise that the Web site for the apple shows it being served in thin slices, or cooked in recipes like a Granny Smith. So it's shaped like a Rome, is hard to eat, and tastes like two other extant cultivars. But it costs more than any of these.

No, I think the RubyFrost is not going to become as big as the Opal, and will not be anything like New York's answer to the Honeycrisp. It's a pity, because New York apple growers are always out to kick the butts of Washington's apple growers, and probably Minnesota's as an afterthought. They should stay focused on the McIntosh and the Macoun, which grow better in New York than anywhere. They may be lower-return-on-investment apples, but they're still awfully popular.

I sympathize, I truly do. It takes decades to develop a new apple; you don't just make some seeds, chuck them in a hole, and come back in a week. Trees are kind of a pain that way.

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