The language of apples

Currently six weeks into a nine week holiday in the U.K. and Europe, it’s been interesting trying new foods in new countries.

Apple Travels

Right now I am in The Netherlands.  I don’t know much about apples here but they must grown as I know several recipes that originate here showcase apples – Dutch apple pie or tart (appeltaart) for instance.  Dutch apple pie, as I understand it, differs from regular apple pie in that it has raisins and lemon flavouring.
Apple Travels
I thought I might see quite different varieties of apples in shops and supermarkets throughout Europe but they’re essentially the same varieties we have at home: Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady ….. I’d have to venture out into the villages and shop at roadside stalls to get some of the older varieties and without a car, that isn’t always possible.
Apple Travels
So I am settling for apple products ie Cider.  I have tried English, Scottish and Irish Apple Cider and they’ve all been very very good.  I attempted to ask for Cidre in France but offended the waiter so much he didn’t speak to us for the rest of the service which we found comical.  We did find Cidre in France at a different cafe so we were all good.
Apple Travels
The French do, however, make a delicious apple pastries.  I thought I might see apple ice cream, gelato or sorbet as they like to make use of fruits in their iced treats but so far (we’ve managed to have ice cream of some sort in every county) I’ve not seen any so Tasmania still reigns as the best apple ice cream producer.
Apple Travels
The other apple treat I have consumed in great quantity is apple juice, my go to favourite cold beverage.  I have had single variety apple juice, green apple juice, cloudy apple juice and they’ve all been really nice.
Apple Travels

 

Apples we are eating: Rockit

Rockit

Snooping around the crates of apples in the Supermarket to find something inspiring my eye passed over a stack of tubes with teeny-tiny apples in them.  I have seen these apple tubes in the past but never really paid much attention.  I assumed they were little apples of some sort – perhaps gala’s or something similar. Continue reading

Apples we are eating: Fuji

Fuji Apple
Fuji apples are not the prettiest apples around – they’re not ugly like the lumpy mishapen Calville Blanc d’Hiver but more of a plain Jane type of apple.  The skin is dull and they’re a nondescript apple colour.  But as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover – these apples are much more than their outward appearance.

The Fuji is the offspring of the Red Delicious and a Rall’s Janet – both American apples. Red Delicious are fairly common here in New Zealand but Rall’s Jenet seems to be an American only variety.  The Orange Pippin Tree Register has only 4 trees, all of which are in the United States.  The Rall’s Janet goes by at least 30 other names and alternative spellings and a search under each of these names could well turn up a wider spread of this apple variety.  However, this post is all about the Fuji not one of its parents.  Before leaving the Rall’s Janet, a quick look at the Orange Pippin images shows that the Fuji get’s its looks from the RJ rather than the RD (a red delicious is quite a handsome apple). Continue reading

(Red) Dougherty: a ‘new’ old apple

Red Dougherty
I hadn’t heard of Dougherty apples prior to a visit to our local orchard shop but the sales assistant assured me they were an old variety.  New to me but old as in heritage apples. I filled a bag with the small firm dull red apples to take home to the hungry hoards. Continue reading

Apples we are eating: Lemonade & Ambrosia

Ambrosia & Lemonade
Autumn is one of the best seasons of the year – the weather is mild most days despite the mornings being a little chilly.  After a cold start, the day blossoms into blue skies and warm sun.  Today began quite windery – windy & wintery but the sun has burnt away all the www’s and it is now warm and pleasant enough to go outside without requiring extra layers.

The other great part about Autumn is that apples are in season.   While my orchard apple trees are pretty much done for the season, there are still fresh crunchy apples appearing at the supermarkets and markets. Continue reading

Planting time in the apple orchard

Golden Delicious
Here in New Zealand, we are smack in the middle of Autumn.  The mornings and evenings are cooling off but the days are fine with blue skies and warm rays of sunshine beaming down from above (well, this week anyhow).  Last week I had to put aside some other tasks in order to rearrange our sitting room to the winter setting – we no longer look out onto the chook-poop covered deck, instead we are cosily gathered around the fireplace. Continue reading

Apples I am eating: Jonagold

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I was a little anxious about trying a Jonagold apple.  I had boldly proclaimed the Mahana Red to be the best tasting apple ever (well, that I have ever tasted anyhow).  My dad’s cousin promptly challenged my claim, saying the Jonagold was better.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I hadn’t tasted a Jonagold so I was in the dark.  My anxiety was caused by Jonagold’s not being available in my home town, so if they are truly the best apple, I will be forever wishing they were available….. or I will have to pull out a tree from the orchard in order to plant a Jonagold tree.
Jonagold Apple
My sis-in-law was designated driver and I was the map reader…. we were off to visit some gorgeous (hopefully) Tasmanian wildlife at Trowunna Wildlife Park.  It was our first day driving Myrtle, our delightful little blue Micra.  The clutch and brakes were interesting and it took a little while to settle into driving a car “new” to us.  Add to that map reading in a country “new” to us, road rules a tiny bit different to New Zealand, and sharp knife (I like to cut apples into quarters rather than bite into them as a whole apple (legacy of a broken front tooth))…… it was a tricky operation even if I was only the passenger.
Launceston Harvest Market

So Jonagold…… what was the verdict?

Crunchy: tick
Juicy: tick
Flavour: meh

The apple was very juicy – I dripped apple juice all over my map of Tasmania.  It was nice (the apple, not the map) and crunchy, very refreshing.  But flavour wise – Mahana Red still rules.  I found the Jonagold to be very mild in flavour, so mild it was sort of like eating crunchy water…. The other aspect of the Jonagold I noticed was the flesh was squeaky on my teeth – Jonagold’s are the brazil nuts of apples (Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium so we introduced 3 brazil nuts a day into our diet.  I think I am the only one that still eats them (occasionally) as APML found them to be too squeaky to eat.

The Apple Isle: Apples

Launceston Harvest Market
Visiting a different country is a great opportunity to check out their apples though I was fairly sure that early Spring meant apples wouldn’t be in season in Tasmania as New Zealand has a main apple season from Feb to May.  Tasmania sits about the same latitude as Cheviot in Canterbury (north of Christchurch) so I was assumed the apple season would be similar to ours.  Not so, I was a little puzzled to find plenty of apples that had long since disappeared from our supermarkets for the season – Golden Delicious were plentiful and felt very firm, until I found a brochure that shows the apple season in Tasmania is later and longer.

Continue reading

Apples we are eating: Mahana Red

Apple Blossom
September is an exciting month in the garden.  The fruit trees are blossoming and there isn’t a much more cheerful sound that the sound of bees working their magic.  I can stand under a tree lost in contemplation for many minutes while listening to honey being created.  My favourite tree is our Ornamental Crab Apple Tree. The apples are the size of a small pea but the flowers are the star.  The first flowers are breaking open now but when the tree is in full flower it is stunning.  Continue reading

Apples we are eating: Jazz Apples

Jazz Apple
Some apples are ready as early as late summer and some as late as early winter, but autumn is really apple season. Heading into mid-Winter, while there are still plenty of apples available, some are past their eating best.  So what are we eating…..Jazz apples. Continue reading