Lemonade Apples

There is nothing like biting into a tall, crunchy glass of lemonade. Wait biting into? Yes you can now sink your teeth into lemonade in all new way with the Lemonade apple. I picked up this New Zealand apple at Meijer (for $1.99/pound) in Ypsilanti, Michigan during the month of July. I saw much earlier last year in the month of May I thought I might have missed out on them this season. They are a product of the Yummy Fruit Company (what an awesome name!). The apple is a mostly yellow with some green undertones in some specimens. You will notice it has a more elongated shape.

My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 8
Tartness 4
Apple Flavor 6
Sweetness 6
Juiciness 8
Where I Bought Them Meijer (Ypsilanti MI)

Lemonade Apples

Overall Feeling:
In the spring and early summer it can be hard to find any good apple to eat. Most of the apples in the stores are sweet, crunchy, with little flavor. It is refreshing to have the Lemonade apple come along. It has sweet enough for out of hand eating but with enough tartness to satisfy me. It is a juicy apple. The juice seems to burst in your mouth like bubbles if you can imagine that. I can almost imagine myself drinking sparkling juice. The flavor is good, but don’t expect it to taste like lemon. The color of the apple and the tartness to it, is why the lemonade name fits.

Be careful when choosing the apple in the store. They can brush easily if not handled properly. Also if they are too bright yellow this may indicate age and that the apple is not going to be as cris

Want to learn more about the Yummy Fruit Company? Check out this video below that tells their story.

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Lady Alice apples Costco

People love Costco. I can tell just by the popularity of Costco posts on this blog. One downside to Costco for a foodie like myself is that they often don’t offer a lot of varieties of products. They give you a couple options, not the many options that standard grocery stores do. Take apples for example. Costco only sells a handful of varieties of apples – the Galas, Fujis, Honeycrisp, etc. I am not a big fan of the mainstream apples but there is only that I saw on my recent trip that is by far the best tasting apple available and that is the Lady Alice. This is a winter apple in that is it released in the winter time after spending some time in cold storage. Many apples are better when they are given some time to chill out. A Pink Lady for example is pretty harsh right off the tree (really tart) but mellows out in storage (I tried one last year at Quarry Hills Orchards in Ohio).

Lady Alice apples Costco

Costco was selling Lady Alice apples for $1.27/lb, which is a good price for this apple. Meijer stores sell them for $1.99/lb. Whole Foods was selling organic Lady Alice for $2.99/lb earlier this year.

I first posted about this apple, over 5 years ago (wow, I can’t believe my blog is that old!) and have gotten many questions about the apple, so I thought I would take some time to answer some of those inquiries.

Lady Alice Apples 2015

Lady Alice Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Lady Alice apples Organic?
Rainier Fruit Company is the exclusive grower of Lady Alice apples. They ship both organic and conventional Lady Alice apples. The ones at Costco were conventional. I have only seen the organic at Whole Foods.

What Is the Difference Between Lady Alice apples and Pink Lady Apples?
People seem the name “lady” and wonder if there is a connection between the two apples. They are both good keeping winter apples. I think Lady Alice is a bit sweeter and has a more rich flavor. Both are crisp, but I would give a slight edge to Pink Lady in that category.

What is Lady Alice Apples a Cross of?
No one knows for sure. It was an accidental discovery. In 1979, a damage red delicious tree, send out a branch that produced fruit that was different from the rest of the fruit on the tree. The exact parentage cannot be determined.

Are Lady Alice apples Non-GMO?
I am finding it more common nowadays when someone sees a new variety or a fruit or veggie they aren’t familiar with they immediately question whether it is a GMO. As you read about the origins of the apple was not in a laboratory, so it’s not genetically modified.

Can You Juice Lady Alice apples?
I have never done this before but it sounds like a great idea. The apple has a lot of flavor and is juicy. My mouth is watering at the thought, now I want try it!

Can You Make Applesauce with Lady Alice apples?
You really can make applesauce with any apples, just some work better than others. I like the sweet/tart balance of this apple, which I think would make an excellent applesauce without any needed sweetness. I am not sure how the texture would be, but it’s worth a shot.

What Apples Would You Compare Lady Alice Apples to?
I would say that it is not as sweet as a Gala but more flavorful. I think it tastes b better than a Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, but a step less crisp. If you like any of those 3 apples I think would you enjoy Lady Alice. A couple other less popular apples it reminds me of are Cox’s Orange Pippen and Pinata.

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Honeycrisp Apples on Tree

It’s clear these days that the Honeycrisp apple has become America’s favorite apple. Go to any grocery store during the heart of the fall harvest and I can about guarantee that the apples that are getting the biggest display and most attention is the Honeycrisp, although the Red Delicious apple is still the most grown apple in the country by a long shot. While apples like the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith are easily available year round is the same true yet for the Honeycrisp?

Are Honeycrisp Apples Available Year Round?
No. I have seen them around in stores longer and longer each year, but there is definitely a time period where you just can’t them anymore and a time period where you don’t really want to get them anymore. Once we reach Memorial Day you probably won’t see any Honeycrisp again until September. There are Honeycrisp apples imported from places like New Zealand. But those are really going to cost you – try $5 a pound, and not even organic! I only time I tried some New Zealand ground ones, the flavor was nowhere worth that $5 a pound price.

When Does the Quality of Honeycrisp Go Down
The apple industry is really good at utilizing cold storage so that we have domestic apples all year round. Some varieties do better than others. While we have seen longer live out of Honeycrisp in the last 5 years, you will definitely notice a decline in quality as the temperature get colder. They are still crisp enough to eat into the winter months. But once we start getting into late winter and early spring, I find the quality to be so bad, you are wasting your money purchasing them. You can kiss the crispiness goodbye. By then they are mealy and unappetizing. Yuck!

What Apple Should I Buy Once Honeycrisp Aren’t Any Good or Around?
I have heard this question alot. Once the Honeycrisp is gone, what is the next best apple to buy. For the Honeycrisp lover I find that most people are satisfied with Pink Lady (also called Cripps Pink). The benefit of this apple is that it ripens at the end of the season and actually needs to be stored first. I had one in October, not long after it was picked and it was so tart, I couldn’t take it. It mellows out over time and is crisp enough to satisfy Honeycrisp fans. If you can locate it – the Lady Alice apple is released in the winter is a very flavorful, crisp apple that I like better than Honeycrisp.

If you liked this post, make sure to check out my post on When Apples are Their Peak.

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Suncrisp Apples

My never ending search to search out for the next apple I have not tasted, led me to Berlin Heights, Ohio and to Quarry Hill Orchards. Upon looking over their inventory of apples, I was excited to come and try the Suncrisp apple. Growing up with just the options of Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith, I always preferred Golden Delicious (talk about the dark ages!). There is a soft spot in my heart for a yellow skinned apple. Blondee and Grimes Golden have come to be my favorite yellow skinned apples.

The Suncrisp apple was created by a crossing together a Golden Delicious with a cross of Cortland and Cox’s Orange Pippin. An apple that has a background like this has to be good, right? The apple came out of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in 1994, developed by a fruit breeder with Rutgers University. The apple has two very describable traits – longevity and not prone to browning. This apple can last up to 6 months in storage, which is way better than it’s parent the Golden Delicious. They also tend to not brown when sliced. The apple ripens in early to mid October.

My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 9
Tartness 5
Apple Flavor 8
Sweetness 7
Juiciness 8
Where I Bought Them Quarry Hill Orchards (Berlin Heights OH)

Overall Feeling:
If you have been turned off to yellow apples because of bland and boring Golden Delicious, give the Suncrisp a try. It is crisp as it name suggests. It has a firm, hard texture that reminds me of some of my favorite Russet style apples. Some describe the texture as being coarse. It has a thick skin, which I don’t mind at all but my wife is not a fan of. It’s an excellent out of hand eating apple. At first harvest the apple is more tart, but will get sweeter as it ages. I am eating one now 10 days after buying at the orchard and it has a sweet flavor balanced out with the right amount of tartness. I like it even more now than I did when I had my first bite at the orchard.

Although I have not tried it first hand yet (been enjoying them out of hand so much) I have heard that they are good option for baking. They would be fun to pair up with some tart apples in a pie or cobbler.

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Roasted Applesauce

What I really love about cooking is that it never gets boring. There is always a new technique to try. I have made applesauce dozens of times. Most of the time I cook it in a slow cooker. It’s easy to throw the apples in it and forget about, without having to worry about the apples burning on the bottom of a pot. This has been the method I have used the last few years. Then one day it hit me. What would happen if I tried roasting the apples to make applesauce? I Googled the idea immediately and yes this is a thing people have done. I felt it sounded like something that I needed to do and once you taste it you will see why.

Roasted Applesauce

Why Roast Applesauce?
If the method I have been using works, then why change it up? What advantages is there to roasting the apples? There are two reasons why I like this method better now – the apples caramelize in the oven bringing out more flavor and the ending texture is better.

The dry heart of the oven help to brown the apples in a good way. The sugars in the fruit turn brown (which means they will turn black if you overcome them, so watch out!). You can get that added dimension of flavor any other way.

The texture is smooth, almost velvety. The sauce is thick, without being watery at all. The oven pulls away all the excess moisture. To get the peels off I simply run the apples through a food mill. Why bother peeling?

What Temperature Do You Roast the Apples at?
You want to get some nice carmelization, don’t be scared to turn that oven up. I would roast them at 425 degrees for about 30 to 45 mins. This is the same temperature that Martha Stewart uses for her roasted sauce. I tested it out and it worked perfectly. I did not agree with her about adding sugar. If you use the right apples it is not necessary (read my post on How to Select Apples for Applesauce Without Having to Add Sugar)

Roasted Applesauce

What Do You Roast the Applesauce In?
Try to pick your largest oven safe vessel. Last time I used a ceramic baking dish I picked up from Cost Plus World Market. I prefer cast iron as it dosages out the most even heat. A dutch oven is a good choice as you can fit tons of apples in it. If you have not cured or seasoned your dutch oven in a while, I would recommend doing that before. Curing involves rubbing the entire thing, top to bottom, with a coat of oil and then placing it in the oven empty. Even if yours comes already cured over time that wears out. Like with mine I ended up having my applesauce take on an unwanted black color – a telltale sign of a pot needing to be cured. I have just the standard jet black American made Lodge dutch oven. It’s nothing fancy but gets the job done. If you interested on how to restore and take care of a cast iron pan, watch this informative video below.

Spice It Up!
If you want to really put this sauce over the top thing about adding some spices. Feel free to add a stick of cinnamon or a piece of ginger. They can be easily removed when the sauce is done cooking. Cardamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg are also excellent additions. For ease use the powdered forms, but freshly grind whole spices if you can. The ground spices can just be stirred in at the end.

Roasted Applesauce
 
Ingredients
  • Mix of apples (at least 3 pounds), cored (peeled if you have no food mill)
  • Spices (optional)
  • Water (1/8 to ¼ cup)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Core apples and peel if you don't own a food mill.
  3. Add the apples to a large oven safe vessel.
  4. Pour in a tiny amount of water to keep the apples from burning on the bottom before they start to soften. Use no more than a ¼ cup water. You just want to barely cover the bottom of your cooking vessel.
  5. Add whole cinnamon sticks, ginger, or ground spices (optional)
  6. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until apples are soft. The apple should be easily smashed with the back of a spoon.
  7. Run through a food mill to smooth. You could also use a food processor if you like.
  8. Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

 

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Quarry Hill Orchards

When you have tasted as many apples as I have it becomes harder and harder to find something new. The majority of apple orchards I come across have varieties I have already had. It takes a little more effort to find something new to me. When I was planning a family trip to the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park (outside of Cleveland, Ohio, I spent some time searching for orchards that I might pass along the way. I looked at list upon list of apples until I came across a roster that I could sink my teeth into. I went from breathtaking waterfalls surrounded by a beautiful canvas of autumn leaves to bins of apples tht were just as breathtaking. I arrived at Quarry Hills Orchards in Berlin Heights, Ohio.

Quarry Hill Orchards Apple Bins 2

As I pulled into the parking lot I was greeted by the sights of many bins of apples with simple, yet attractive signage. This to me is a sign that these people care enough to put time into the little things. As I got out of the van, I quickly spotted apples that I had come to try – Hampshire and Suncrisp. I also saw the state apple of Ohio, Melrose, Pink Lady (which I don’t find much in the Midwest), and some Granny Smith with some beautiful red blush on them. Inside the market I found the ever popular Honeycrisp, but sitting right next to it was the Crimson Crisp apple, another on my to-try list. Honeycrisp fans looking for something a little more tart will love the Crimson. In addition to apples they had pears, including Asian pears, squash, cauliflower, etc – your typical fall veggies. The market also contained jams and jellies, popcorn, again the typical market fare. However, they also had a couple of unique things like Boiled Cider, which is cider that has been boiled down to the consistency of syrup, so can be used on pancakes.

Hampshire Apples

Suncrisp Apples

Speaking of cider, they had their top secret blend of apples made into cider. As a true cider fan, I was skeptical when I heard that it was UV pasteurized. I have heard about this process, but may have only had cider that has been treated this way once or twice and it was rather forgetable. Not this time. This cider was the best I have had all season. Great flavor, texture, the acid/sweet balance was in perfect portion. My family loved it just as much as I did.

Quarry Hill Orchards Apple Bins 1

What really made this place as does any great orchard, is the people that run it. Everyone I met was warm and friendly, wanting to chat, and made sure I got to sample their wares. I had a blast just talking aples with Ben Gammie, who returned to the family business just last year after spending some time out west. You could tell that Ben and the staff were enjoying what they are doing – that their passion is there and they are not just going through the motions. I have been to orchards where you can tell their passion is gone and it’s really a sad sight. Quarry Hills orchards is an orchard on the move and I am looking forward to keeping touch and seeing what they have for the future – particularity the EverCrisp apples that they just planted in 2014.

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Pitmaston Pine Apple

At first glance it may seem that I don’t know how to spell pineapple. I am not here today to talk about pineapples, but a variety of apple – the Pitmaston Pine Apple. I love these heirloom varieties with these crazy fun names. I like my apples to have these kinds of names over all the four letter apples now appearing in stores – Gala, Fuji, Kiku, Jazz, Opal, etc. A name means so much more when it has more than marketing behind it.

Pitmaston Pine Apple is a very old variety. It dates back to the 1780s (Trees of Antiquity). The name Pitmaston comes from a nursey called Williams of Pitmaston.

Pitmaston Pine Apple

My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 8
Tartness 6
Apple Flavor 7
Sweetness 6
Juiciness 6
Where I Bought Them Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire MI)

Overall Feeling:
First off for the record I do not dedicate any pineapple flavor at all in this apple. I think maybe the name is more for the color. They do have a green-yellow hue like a pineapple does. Despite not living up to the pineapple name the flavor is rather good. This apple is sweet/tart. I am a big fan of the skin on russeted apples, so I enjoy the skin on this one. It’s juicy, but not as much as many of the modern varieties you find in the stores. I would buy these again, no doubt.

These apples are hard to find. They process two characteristics that commercial orchards do not want, small in size, and the russeting of the skin. This is shame, as this apple tastes better than most you will find at the store. Until we as consumers can show that we care more about flavor than size and appearance, these kinds of apples will only be kept alive by passionate apple growers and apple connoisseurs.

Here is a short video that I found on YouTube talking about the apple:

Where to Find Pitmaston Pine Apples
I got mine from Tree Mendus Farm in Eau Claire, Michigan. If you want to plant your own tree you can buy them from Trees of Antiquity.
Other sources include:
Salt Spring Apple Company (Salt Spring Island, BC)
Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss, CO)
Montgomery Place Orchards (Red Hook, NY)

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Pink Sugar Apples

As early September rolled around my mind turned to apples. I was pumped up to have yet another chance to search out new and interesting apple varieties. So the weekend after Labor Day I headed out for a weekend trip to the west side of Michigan. I was particularly interested in visiting Tree-Mendus Orchards in Eau Claire, Michigan. I have enjoyed their apples and apricots I have purchased from my local Whole Foods Market so I wanted to visit the place myself. I figured thata place that grows over 250 varieties of apples they would have to have something new (or old/heirloom) for me to try. And they did not disappoint in the least.

The first apple I met as I entered their building was the Pink Sugar apple. Pink Sugar is a dull yellow apple with pinkish blush. It is believed to be a cross between a Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. I could not find any more information than that online. My tastebuds would have to do all the research themselves.

My Experience with this Apple on September 30, 2014 (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 7
Tartness 0
Apple Flavor 4
Sweetness 10
Juiciness 6
Where I Bought Them Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire MI)

Overall Feeling:
Well, they certainly named this apple right. It is super sweet, mainly due to the complete lack of acid in this apple. It’s like drinking a very mildly flavored sugar water. Without the acidicty that apple falls flat in the flavor department just as eating a slice of bread that has no salt in it. This apple browned incredibly fast, even as I was eating it – you could practicallyly watch the brown cover the apple like special effects in some action movie. The rest of the apples I purchased ended up going into a batch of applesauce to add some sweetness. That is about all this apple is good for, unless you are one that is trying to avoid any acid in your diet. It reminded me a lot of the Sweetie apples that are showing up in stores, much to my chargrin.

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I am lead to believe that when most people are asked to picture a green apple – the Granny Smith appears in the bubble of their mind. This is the green apple that you find in stores from January to December, rain or shine. It is pretty much the only green apple you find in most grocery stores. Does that mean that it is the only green apple out there? You might see a few apples that may look greenish, a not as golden, Golden Delicious or even a Ginger Gold picked more green. America’s supermarkets are basically void of green apples not named Granny. Does America have room for more than one green apple in their produce aisle? As it turns out the Granny Smith is not the only apple with a green skin. I have a few of it’s similar colored cousins. What might be the biggest surprise of all to you is that at least one of them was super sweet. I am talking Gala-sweet here!

Green Dragon Apples

Green Dragon Apples

If there was ever an apple that proved to me that not all green apples are tart, it was the Green Dragon apple. This is an extremely sweet apple with the really sweet name has hardly any tartness to it all. It has a tropical like pear flavor if that makes any sense! Very juicy and refreshing. It is distributed by Frieda’s Produce. It’s one worth seeking out, if not to just trick your friends.

Rhode Island Greening Apples

Rhode Island Greening Apples

Now this apple that dates back to the 1600s, is very much what you would think in a green apple. It’s quite tart. I don’t like eating these out of hand, however I absolutely love them for cooking or baking with. When cooked their flavor really shines, I would reach for these over a Granny anyday. They can be hard to find. I search them out every autumn.

Northwest Greening Apples

Northwest Greening Apples

Another apple with the greening name. This one is not quite as tart as the Rhode Island Greening, so out of hand eating is an option. Reviews I have read of this apple say that it is a good cooking apple.

Shamrock Apples

Shamrock Apples

I have only had these apples once a couple years ago. In my experience this apple was sweet-tart and not all that crisp. Other reviews online seem to say that it is a crisp apple maybe I just got one that was past it’s prime. The apple has a McIntosh-like flavor. It is in fact a cross between a McIntosh and a Golden Delicious.

The interesting thing about this apple is that is was developed as an alternative to Granny Smith in climates where it’s hard to grow Granny Smith. Grannies are a late season apple – they need a long growing season, which isn’t possible in areas like New England.

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Macoun Apple Tree

In my 50 plus apple reviews on this blog, I have spend alot of time looking through different apple databases, orchard listings, other people’s reviews and I have seen certain apples pop up time and again. Varieties that I never had before, but was highly encouraged to seek out. It’s always a great sense of personal success when I discover one of those apples. You can add to my apple that I have tasted list – the Macoun apple.

Macoun Apple Tree

On appearance the Macoun looks a lot like a McIntosh and with good reason – it’s a cross between a McIntosh and a Jersey Black. It is a development of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station – the same group responsible for the Empire apple. The apple is named after a Canadian fruit grower.

Macoun Apple Tree

From what I read online Macouns can be a tricky apple. The flavor is at it’s peak in October, but the apple has a tendency to fall off the tree, so it’s often picked early. The tree also produce good one year and not as good the next. This is why these apples don’t have much of a commercial presences – more of just a cult following.

Macoun Apples Up Close

My Experience with this Apple on September 8, 2014 (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 8
Tartness 6
Apple Flavor 4
Sweetness 6
Juiciness 8
Where I Bought Them Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire MI)

Overall Feeling: Like I mentioned above the Macoun is a tricky apple. Picked too early and the flavor is not there. Picked too late and it’s too soft. It’s need to be like Goldilocks would want it – just right. I picked Macoun straight from the tree at Tree-Mendus Orchards in Eau Claire, Michigan. It was the second Monday of the month. The flavor wasn’t anything to write home about then, a sweeter McIntosh. Here I am eating one that has been in my fridge for 3 weeks and now the flavor has really come out. It has lost a little bit of crispiness but not enough to turn me off to it. It has a sweet, McIntosh-like flavor and is really juicy. I didn’t understand 3 weeks ago what the fuss was, but now I do. That’s the thing with apples that people don’t understand – their flavor and texture changes over time, some times for the better. A lot of later season apples are put into cold storage and then released in the winter months. Sometimes apple need a little age, like wine, cheese, or vinegar. It’s all about knowing the apple and tasting it at different times to know when it’s at it’s peak.

Macoun Apple Tree

My daughter holding a Macoun she just picked!

Below you will find my ratings for the Macoun I ate today as I was writing this post.

My Experience with this Apple on September 30, 2014 (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 7
Tartness 5
Apple Flavor 8
Sweetness 7
Juiciness 10
Where I Bought Them Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire MI)

Overall Feeling:
As you can, the apple seems juicy now and the flavor is much improved. As I said before it did loss some crispiness and a bit of tartness. I enjoy these 3 week aged Macoun a lot more than the ones I picked off the first in early September.

Where to Find Macoun Apples
The Macoun has a strong following, so I thought I would list some orchards that grow this apple. This is by no means a complete list, just a few places I was able to find online. If there no one listed in your area, let me know I will try to help you find a source.

Connecticut
Belltown Hill Orchards (South Glastonbury, CT)

Michigan
Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire, MI)

New York
Fishkill Farms (Hopewell JCT, NY)

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