Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Red Prince Apples
I was in Thornbury the other day, which is the next town over, and popped into the Foodland grocery store there. There they had these Red Prince apples, prominently displayed. As it turns out, this is about the only place in Ontario that I could have found them at the moment.
This is a fairly new apple, having been discovered in 1994 in Holland. It's a cross between Golden Delicious and Red Jonathan apples, and it is grown by one local grower only. This is because, like most modern varieties, it is patented; a concept I have to admit I struggle with. But I'm not going to get too political here; I'm just going to assess the apple. Marius Botden is the local grower who is licensed to grow Red Prince.
It was fairly instructive to read this little article: Canada: New apple claims local throne. I was particularly struck by the comment from the store manager, "We're trying to replace imported apples."
We are absolutely surrounded by apple growers in all directions here. Okay, not to the north, which rapidly becomes a large body of water. But otherwise, it's apples, as far as the eye can see, pretty much. Any difficulties in sourcing local apples are going to be entirely self-inflicted.
But enough about all that. How does this apple taste? You might think it is completely unfair to assess an apple in mid-May, when they have been stored for 7 months, and could be expected to be pretty tired. However, one of the features of Red Prince is that it actually improves in storage. They don't even begin selling them until February.
We were quite impressed with this apple. The flesh is a creamy yellow, with great crunch. The flavour is a good balance of acidity and sweetness, with enough floral notes to be very tasty. I wouldn't say it's the best apple I've ever had, but for something that's been in storage for 7 months as noted, it's perfectly amazing. They say it's good for baking and cooking, but at this time of year other apples will be cheaper for that use. Save this one for eating raw, in salads and out of hand. Expect to see Red Prince showing up in a lot more places over the next few years, as an excellent late winter to late spring apple.