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.
Unfortunately that means apples are pretty much over for the season. Apples are still available from the supermarkets, but the local orchard has shut up shop for the rest of the year and there are slim pickings at the Farmers Market. Any apples purchased now have been in cold storage since harvest. For Braeburn and Mahana Red apples, that isn’t an issue as they keep extremely well. Apples purchased this last week are still full of crisp crunch. I also purchased a bag full of Cripps Pink apples – they were a little sad-looking in that they had a few marks and bruises, but at $1.00 per kilo I didn’t mind. They were promptly turned into a glorious fluffy pot of apple purée (which has disappeared already….. story of my life).
But back to the Mahana Red. These apples are extraordinarily good. Mahana Red are exclusively grown in New Zealand and marketed as “a blissful bite” and “deliciously divine”. I couldn’t put it any better and I go out of my way to visit the other supermarket in town (not the one that gets the bulk of our dollars) just to buy these apples.
Left: Mahana Red apple; & Right: Braeburn apple
Mahana Red apples are sweet and tangy at the same time. They are very fragrant and smell as good as they taste. The Mattster will go through the apple drawer (we have a vegetable drawer in the fridge set aside just for apples) searching out the Mahana Red as he has stated that they are the BEST apples ever. Mahana Red are a naturally occurring mutation (a sport) of the popular Braeburn apple. The apple is very pretty with a bright red skin and tiny wee yellow-ish dots. Harvested in April & May, they are then available right through to December. Other sports of Braeburn are Eve (also known as Mariri Red) and Aurora which are nice enough apples. Just not as nice as Mahana Red (can you tell I’m a fan?).
Check out the Mahana Red Facebook page for availability and delicious sounding recipes. At this point we eat our Mahana Red apples and usually there isn’t any left to cook with. Occasionally one might come home uneaten in a school lunch box and is a bit banged about so gets tossed into the purée pot.