Sunday, July 24, 2011
Envy--not just a sin any more!
My aunt and uncle own an apple farm, Jim's Apples. (The farm is named for my late Uncle Jim who mocked customers who wanted to buy Red Delicious apples and often refused to sell them.)
The orchard specializes in heirloom varieties of the fruit and feature apples you never heard of. My favorite is the Arkansas Black, which is darker than a winesap and deeply delicious.
I shop at three different supermarkets here in L.A. and they all feature varieties I'd never heard of when I was growing up. (There were Red Delicious, which I liked, Golden Delicious, which I didn't, and Granny Smith apples. My mother and grandmothers made pies and applesauce out of the Granny Smith apples, along with a southern delicacy called "Fried Apples"--ambrosial with pork chops.)
When I moved to L.A. I branched out in Pink Ladies and Cameos (a cross between Red Delicious and Golden Delicious) and Jazz.
I was still barely scratching the surface though. Just to give you an idea of how many different apples are grown for the table, check out this Wikipedia listing.
Yesterday I stumbled across the Envy Apple, a variety developed in New Zealand by crossing a Braeburn (not my favorite apple) with a Royal Gala (never had one). The result is ... the world's best apple.
It is crisp. It is sweet without being cloying.It's juicy.
It doesn't start turning brown for hours.
And it's beautiful.
There are a lot of red and gold apples out there, but Envy has pure colors and a wonderful scent.
They're not cheap. My supermarket sucked me in by offering them at $1.99 a pound (that's cheap in L.A.) but they now run $2.99. And they're big apples, heavy, so a pound is around two apples.
But--did I mention they are the tastiest apples in the world?