Sunday, 9 September 2007

McIntosh Apples

McIntosh ApplesThis is probably the best-known apple in North America, and it's an Ontarian native, having shown up as a chance seedling on land acquired by John McIntosh, near Morrisburg in Dundas County. It's a classic apple, straight out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; a piebald mixture of acid green and brilliant red.

The Mac, as it's often affectionately known, has fallen in favour somewhat in recent years, and not without reason. It's not a particularly good storage apple, although it was treated as such for decades. Many a dull, woolly McIntosh showed up in my school lunches, to the point that I thought I didn't care much for them. They don't cook wonderfully well either; collapsing to mush very quickly. On the other hand, they make good cider, and they are not bad to cook with if you mix them with other apples with more body. They make a decent applesauce.

However, when they are freshly-picked they are a very good eating apple; tart and sprightly and crunchy. They get sweeter, milder and softer as the season progresses, until eventually they reach the aforementioned state of dull woolliness. Eat them now and for the next few weeks - they will store for a little while. And after all, it's not everyday - okay, actually it is - that you get to eat the fruit of an almost 200 year old apple. Its anniversary will be in 2011. I hope there's a party.

Mcintosh Apple on Foodista


Kevin said...

I have been watching the increasing amount of apples at the farmers markets. There are so many different types that I have not had before. I will have to start picking some of them up.

Valli said...

I remember picking Macs at our local orchards when I was a child. At the Farmers Market mom used to pick up Courtney's I think they were called. Not available here in BC. My latest favourite is called Applet but I am still waiting for the Spartans in October!!!

Ferdzy said...

Courtneys? Would those be Cortlands?

They're a good all-purpose apple, and a descendant of the McIntosh. I'm a bit surprised they're not available in BC.

There really are an amazing number of different apples out there once you start looking.