Monday, September 28, 2009
Apple Picking Time
Last weekend we went to the apple orchard. Doesn't this look like the quintessential roadside stand? And the smell of baking pies; oh yes, it was a "slice" of heaven. They had 12 or more varieties of apples. They had bounties of squash, zucchini, pumpkins by the hundreds, and a whole wing of the store devoted to old fashioned candies. Everything you could imagine and a few new items made with apples, were available for purchase. Besides pie, there was crisp, strudel, turnovers, pastries, jams, apple butter, and of course, more pie.
Cutting boards in front of each type of apple offered you the opportunity to try a slice of the variety before buying a bag. I'm still a big fan of Haralsons. We eat them raw and make lots of pies and crisps, plus they're good for freezing.
(The next information is from the U of M's apple website). In 2004, the DNA testing done on Honeycrisp afforded the opportunity to fill in the missing blank that has followed the 'Haralson' apple. Haralson, introduced in 1922 after its years of evaluation, has carried the parentage designation "open pollinated Malinda," meaning it started as a seed from a Malinda apple whose flower had been fertilized by pollen from an unknown apple variety. In the past, "open pollinated" meant you would never know.
But DNA testing has identified the missing parent as 'Wealthy', the first commercially accepted variety the University's predecesser introduced from breeding work that began in the 1850's. The new, corrected cross for Haralson now shows as 'Malinda' x 'Wealthy'.
Haralson is a parent of Honeygold (Golden Delicious x Haralson, University of Minnesota, 1970) and a grandparent, through Honeygold, of the famous Honeycrisp Macoun x Honeygold, University of Minnesota, 1991).
My new favorite eating apple is Minnesota's very own Honey Crisp. They are now available more widely through the country. There is a downside to growing them outside the Midwest, though. They lose their "crisp". So, if you're going to try some, make sure where they're from.
What's your favorite variety of apple?