Monday, November 23, 2009

Three cheers for Golden Delicious apples

"We've got to think of another name for these apples," said Jeanette Herman,of Cliffside Orchards, when I bought a dozen large Golden Delicious apples last weekend at the market.

In the midst of all Rubinettes, Pink Ladies and Honey Crisps, it sounds a bit crazy, but I'm a Golden Delicious fan. I became a convert just a few years ago at the farmers' market when I sampled them from Cliffside Orchards and they were so different from the tasteless Golden Delicious apples of my youth. I wanted to know more about these apples.

Listed at one website as one of the most important varieties of apples in the 20th century, the Golden Delicious was introduced in the late 1800s and became the breeding stock for many of our currant popular varieties.

Golden Delicious offspring include:

  • Ambrosia

  • Elstar

  • Estivale

  • Gala

  • Greensleeves

  • Jonagold

  • Pink Lady

  • Rubinette

  • Saturn

  • Sunrise

  • Honeycrisp (a distant descendant)

A tender skin and a short shelf life is possibly the reason that most of the Golden Delicious apples sold conventionally are picked green and lack any flavor development of a ripe Golden Delicious. These apples also grow more easily on the dry east side of the Cascades that our maritime climate on the west side, but Jonagold (a relative), grows well on this side and I can taste the Golden tones in this more local relative.

Jeanette says Goldens make the best pies, and she always recommends them. I've made my share of pies, and Golden Delicious is the best way to go, but my favorite way to enjoy these seasonal treasures is drizzled with hazelnut or almond butter

Finn gives four paws up for this tempting breakfast.

In my search for news about Goldens, I was surprised to discover Golden Delicious apples are the state fruit of West Virginia. Check out their annual Golden Delicious apple festival, it looks like fun.

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