When I was younger, there were only three main varieties of apples in the produce department: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.
I used to enjoy the sweet Red Delicious because its skin was not too thick. But I couldn’t depend on their crunchiness. Sometimes they were mealy and totally unappetizing.
Then I found the Fuji. I wrote a previous blog about how Fuji apples revolutionized apple sales and consumption, because they were not dark red on the outside. (Years ago, everyone thought that apples had to be red for consumers to buy them!) Fujis were kind of “ugly” and the flavor profile was more sophisticated than the Red Delicious.
But after a few years, Fuji apples didn’t taste so exciting to me anymore. Back to the grocery store to find a new apple variety.
Enter the Honeycrisp. Yum! I’m sure you’ve seen or tasted this apple or at least heard about it. It was developed in Minnesota and first introduced commercially in 1974. It has grown so much in popularity and significance that in 2006, Andersen Elementary School in Bayport, Minn., petitioned for the Minnesota state legislature to make the Honeycrisp apple the state fruit; the bill was passed in May 2006.
Last fall, as I traveled across the United States, I heard the same story. The entire Honeycrisp crop had sold out early last season and consumers were asking their produce managers, “Where are the Honeycrisp apples?” When they finally arrived at my local store, even though the displays were large, they sold out quickly and it took a few weeks for my produce manager to order enough! (What a great problem to have, right?)
This year the Honeycrisp season will be ending early again. I was at my local Trader Joe’s last week and noticed some bruising and the TJ’s employee working in produce that day told me, “Yeah, it’s nearly the end of the season.”
So, now I am on the hunt for a new variety to try until my beloved Honeycrisp comes back into season. I tried the Ambrosia last week. My produce guy thought I would enjoy them as much – but their flavor profile wasn’t as satisfying. But the Ambrosia are crisp, which I like.
If you’ve always purchased the same apple varieties, maybe it’s a good time to try a new variety. When you are shopping and want to know what they taste like, feel free to ask your produce manager to cut one up for you. Did you know that many produce managers LOVE it when a shopper asks for their advice or recommendation?
What’s your favorite apple variety to eat out of hand? I would love to know – you can comment at the bottom of my blog online.
Remember the old adage? An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I think it’s true!