#37: Hearth, Shelter, Grow
A is for Apple
For many years now, I’ve been hunting around farmers markets for lesser known apples to put in pies and now that we are in full on apple pie season, I thought I’d share with you a list of some I’ve used. It’s by no means complete as every area of the country will have it’s own speciatlies—Johnny Chapman, known to us at Johnny Appleseed, certainly did get around and his history, along with apples in general, is fascinating to me.
In The Apples of New York by S.A. Beach, a classic 2 volume set from 1903, there are over 400 apples included…and that’s just in NY. If there were just one thing I could have reclaimed from my final marriage, it would be those two beautiful volumes with full color plates (not the reprint version)…but alas, they’re gone. Ah well…
When I was travelling in Ireland in the spring of 2019 during apple blossom time, remember those days when we could easily just hop on a plane without a care «sigh», I asked the innkeepers what kind of trees were growing in their lovely orchard on the north coast of Sligo Bay, overlooking Drumcliff Bay.
They were suprised and thrilled that I wanted to know and showed me the list of what was planted…
…and a map of where.
Now, as a confirmed apple geek, you can bet that this was one of the highlights of my trip. My apple pie maker’s heart went all pitter-patter when I saw that they were growning Egremont Russet, one of my alltime favs and not too easy to find where I live.
Heritage Apple Varieties
Some heritage varieties that you may find at farmers markets, fruit stands, and old orchards…
Arkansas Black Tart and crisp (November)
Ashmead’s Kernel Tart, juicy, and crisp, with a slightly sweet pear flavor (November)
Baldwin Tart and holds its shape (October)
Belle de Boskoop Tart and holds its shape (October)
Black Twig Tart, spicy, and firm (October)
Bramley’s Seedling Tart and crisp (October)
Cox’s Orange Pippin Sweet and tender (September/October)
Egremont Russet Sweet and firm (October)
Golden Russet Sweet, tart, spicy, and firm (October)
Gravenstein Tart, sweet, and tender (August)
Elstar Sweet and tender (October)
Empire Sweet and tender (September)
Esopus Spitzenberg Bright, acidic, sweet, juicy, and crisp (October)
Holstein Sweet and tart, crisp and juicy (October)
Jonathan Tart and spicy, juicy, and tender (October)
King David Spicy and crisp (October)
Macoun Sweet, tart, and tender (October)
McIntosh Spicy, tart, and tender (September)
Melrose Sweet and holds its shape (September/October)
Newtown Pippin Tart, firm, crisp, and juicy; holds its shape and keeps well (October/November)
Northern Spy Sweet, tart, juicy, and firm (November)
Prairie Spy Sweet and firm (October)
Rome Tart and firm, but can get mushy (October)
Roxbury Russet Tart, crisp, and dense (September)
Rubinette Tart and holds its shape (October)
Smokehouse Sweet, with a cider flavor (September/October)
Spartan Sweet and crisp (October)
Spigold Sweet, spicy, and firm (October)
Stayman Winesap Tart and spicy, crisp and tender (October)
Tompkin’s King Sweet, tart, and juicy (October)
Apples at the store …
Braeburn Slightly tart
Cameo Slightly sweet and tart, soft
Cosmic Crisp A new apple with a lovely sweet tang
Fuji Sweet and crisp
Gala Mild, sweet, and crisp,
Golden Delicious Sweet and soft
Granny Smith Tart and crisp
Honeycrisp Sweet and tart, crisp and juicy
Jazz Sweet, crisp, and juicy
Pink Lady Tart and sweet, firm and crisp
Red Delicious Mildly sweet, mushy, and doesn’t bake well
The New Book of Apples by Joan Morgan from 2002 lists over 2000 varieties.
Amy Traverso’s The Apple Lover’s Cookbook.
The book the innkeepers in Sligo use isThe English Apple by Roseanne Sanders.
What’s Coming Next
I’ve got some fun things coming up for everyone so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a sweet little apple pie tune, because an apple pie is home to me.
As I embrace the life of a writer, my fervent hope is that I will be able to support myself though my words. You can help to make that happen with a paid or gift subscription, and sharing this newsletter with others you know who might enjoy Pie, Writing, and Life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.