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View Full Version : Nasty mealy apples vs crispy, juicy ones. How can I tell before I buy?


astro
10-23-2005, 10:21 PM
I'm tired of getting faked out by Red Delicious apples. Both seem firm until I bite in, and "Bleah!" it's like eating styrofoam. Is there a way to determine the mealy from the crispy, juicy ones?

RealityChuck
10-23-2005, 10:27 PM
That's your problem: "red delicious apples" are a misnomer. They're red, but certainly not delicious, and barely apples. Unless you pick one right from the tree, they have absolutely no apple flavor.

Try a Granny Smith, if you must get one from the supermarket (stay away from supermarket macs unless they're in season. You'll thank me for that advice).

Frank
10-23-2005, 10:27 PM
I almost never have that happen. I buy the large loose ones. Are you getting bagged apples? They never seem the same.

I inspect them closely too. I don't mind blemishes, but I look hard for holes or bruises.

missbunny
10-23-2005, 10:28 PM
Don't buy Red Delicious. Or Macintosh either. They're all mealy. Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala are all crisp and juicy. I especially like Gala the best. I don't think I've ever gotten a bad one.

There's probably a list somewhere if you google "types of apples" or something like that that will tell you all the varieties and how they taste and what they are best used for: eating, baking, etc. Macintosh, for instance, are good for making applesauce because they mush down upon being cooked, but terrible for pies, where you want the pieces of apple to be somewhat firm.

Frank
10-23-2005, 10:30 PM
Try a Granny Smith, if you must get one from the supermarket (stay away from supermarket macs unless they're in season. You'll thank me for that advice).
If the man likes Red Delicious, he's not going to like Granny Smiths. Well, you can like both of them, I do, but the question was how to get a firm RD.

This is going to end up in my forum, isn't it?

10-23-2005, 11:33 PM
From the Apple Journal, a Comprehensive Apple Variety List, including origin, common use, etc.: http://applejournal.com/useall01.htm

Another list is at: http://naturalhub.com/grow_fruit_cultivars_apple.htm

brossa
10-24-2005, 01:00 AM
I've never been let down by a Cameo apple.

To test for mealiness on an apple-by-apple basis, I like to gently toss the apple up 2 or 3 inches and let it fall onto my cupped palm. A crisp, turgid apple will make what I think of as a 'pinging' or 'ringing' sound, an almost musical 'snap' (think of slapping a fully inflated basketball). A mealy apple yields a dull, slapping sound (like hitting an underinflated ball) and feels light for its size.

pudytat72
10-24-2005, 01:05 AM
I gave up on Red Delicious apples several years ago. I read that they had been selectively grown for their color and not for their taste. They are beautiful to look at, but taste bad. I like the gala apples myself, and fugi apples.

lissener
10-24-2005, 02:43 AM
I'm a bit of an apple fiend, since I moved to Seattle. And I doubt I will ever eat red delicious again. It really is the worst of the widely available apple types.

My number one favorite is Pink Lady. Hands down. Best flavor, best texture, best juiciness, all around.

Tied for a distant second are Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, and Cameo.

I'll buy golden delicious and granny smith if I can't find any of the above, but that's rarely a problem. And I'd rather not buy apples at all than buy red delicious. Yuck.

RaftPeople
10-24-2005, 03:09 AM
When I was growing up we used to always have crisp, tasty red-delicious apples.

But I have completely stopped buying them for the same reasons listed. I heard that the best apples are exported to Japan where they go for much higher prices, not sure if that's really the reason or not.

Either way, I've switched to Fuji and rarely disappointed. If I can't find Fuji then Braeburn is my second choice.

blackhobyah
10-24-2005, 05:07 AM
Buying apples in season will help, if you're buying them other than late summer to early winter, you're buying apples which have been in cold storage, which increases your chances of getting mealy apples.

You might also try buying apples from a farmer's market or such like, where your chances of getting fresh apples are much better. And what the people said, don't buy Red Delicious, they're bred for looks, not taste or texture, you might be better off trying Golden Delicious if you like sweet apples.

There's a nice discussion of American apple varieties on the eGullet forums right here. (http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=76246)

don't ask
10-24-2005, 05:22 AM
lissener is almost 100% correct except that when sweetness isn't important I sometimes prefer Fujis so would rank them equal first. And if I can't get a good crisp apple I will have a Nashi pear.

Harmonious Discord
10-24-2005, 08:12 AM
1. No wrinkles in the skin.

2. Not a lot of bruising.

3. The amount of time the shipment has been in the store.

4. The Point of origin verses the season at that place. You get fresh apples from New Zealand and Australia in the spring here. The origin is on the fruit or bag.

5. Apples that give off a very strong smell are fully ripe and mealy. The stack of apples emitting a miasma of ethane gas is not a good choice for crispness.

6. Apples in a plastic bag will over ripen first, because the bag concentrates the ethane gas, which hastens maturity. The stores keep the bulk of single apples in the produce cooler and that slows down the process of maturing.

7. The fruit is picked unripened when shipped any distance. The apples can be red and unripe in a store. They can be sour and mealy at the same time. I try to buy one apple first and buy more the next trip to the store. Any sure way of always finding crisp apples is destructive testing. The Delicous Apple is a hard one to ever check in a store. The flesh is hard even when it gets mealy.

As for which variety to buy, to each their own.

WhyNot
10-24-2005, 08:57 AM
A new (to me) variety which is sweet-sweet and not overly complicated by tartness or sourness is Honey Crisp. I luurve me a good Gala or Fuji, but Honey Crisp might be more palatable to someone who's a Red Delicious fan.

Ludovic
10-24-2005, 09:05 AM
Wow, I thought this was gonna be about freshness and not variety, so I was gonna come in and say "here's one solution -- don't buy Red Delicious :p". Looks like that's taken care of though :cool:

GaryM
10-24-2005, 09:33 AM
I agree with WhyNot about the HoneyCrisp apples. I tried them for the first time two weeks ago and am now hooked.

I've not bought any Red or Golden Delicious apples in years.

CurtC
10-24-2005, 09:55 AM
So if the opinion against Red Delicious apples is so near-unanimous, why do they still sell so many (or if they don't sell, why do stores carry so many)?

I used to think that I just didn't like apples, until I started eating other kinds several years ago. Red Delicious apples are typically hard, dry, and have a bitter skin. I like apples to be softer, juicy, and sweet/tart. Galas, Pink Ladies, Fujis, Jonagolds, all are wonderful. The Braeburns I've had are too hard, as are Granny Smiths.

R. P. McMurphy
10-24-2005, 10:08 AM
The supermarket produce buyers ruined the Red Delicious apple. They insisted on an apple that looked great to the customer and had long storage and shelf life. The growers planted trees to produce that type of apple. The problem was that the variation of the Red Delicious that satisfied the criteria tasted like (fill in the blank).

After the consumer started to catch on, the sales of Red Delicious fell fast. The Granny Smith came to market and because of its crispness and taste, took over. Other new breeds, many with some red color have also become popular. The latest one I've found is the Honey Crisp. However, the old Red Delicious trees are still out there and producing. Many of those old trees are in the state of Washington and now the apple business in the state of Washington is suffering for its sins.

The Red Delicious will come back. Orchards are reverting to the old breed that wasn't a big, didn't look quite as good and didn't have as much shelf life but they taste great. You have to buy them in season. Don't expect to get good Red Delicious after December or before October. An orchard farmer told me that the Red Delicious needs some cold nights before picking in order to set the sugar.

The best thing is to find an orchard with some young Red Delicious trees and get them as soon as they are picked. Look for orchards or farmer's markets that get their fruit from the Northeast. Many of those orchards have replaced their bad Red Delicious trees.

Good luck and hopefully someday the Red Delicious will regain its cache as a true delicacy.

MsWhich
10-24-2005, 10:42 AM
Before this season, I would have said that Cameo and Jonagold were my two favorites -- especially Cameo, I love those apples -- but then this year we went to a local pick-your-own-apples orchard and brought home a 10-lb bag of Winesap, and oh my good God, I could eat those things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and never get tired of them. They're crisp, juicy, and sweet with just enough tartness to make them really interesting but not pucker your mouth like a sour apple. They are the best apple variety I have ever tasted. If you can find some in your area, I would highly recommend them.

Schuyler
10-24-2005, 12:00 PM
Any sure way of always finding crisp apples is destructive testing. The Delicous Apple is a hard one to ever check in a store. The flesh is hard even when it gets mealy.

I'm in the habit of making a small indent into an apple with my thumb, and this can weed out mealy apples, although it is not 100% effective. If the slight crushing feeling I get from the indentation feels sufficiently crisp, then I'm willing to overlook when eating the very small bruise that I've just created.

Also, sometimes cutting up an apple before eating reduces the negative impact of slight mealiness - it has to do with the way one bites a whole apple vs. biting slices.

FWIW, I can tolerate slight mealiness in a Red Delicious moreso than in a Golden, so when selection in the market is limited I'll select the Reds. Gala, Fuji, or Braeburn are generally preferable, though.

BTW, love the apple discussion - like many of the posters, I do like a good apple.

Doobieous
10-24-2005, 03:07 PM
But I have completely stopped buying them for the same reasons listed. I heard that the best apples are exported to Japan where they go for much higher prices, not sure if that's really the reason or not.

Well, what i've heard is that it's the most perfect, unblemished, and largest apples that go to Japan. The Japanese seem to find esthetic appeal in perfect form in regard to fruit. Also, at home, the Japanese had been taking care to pamper their apples so they were protected, got ample light, etc.

Hampshire
10-24-2005, 04:14 PM
I agree with WhyNot about the HoneyCrisp apples. I tried them for the first time two weeks ago and am now hooked.

I've not bought any Red or Golden Delicious apples in years.

Not being much of an apple fan myself the HoneyCrisp is the one exception that I actually like. They were designed by the University of Minnesota by crossing two other apple types.
Hard to find someone who doesn't like them.

Honey Crisp Apples (http://honeycrisp.org/about.htm)

Oslo Ostragoth
10-24-2005, 04:56 PM
Golden Delicious: the yellow ones are shot. Buy 'em while they are still green and you will be in crunchy heaven. I agree that store-bought Reds are evil, but you might try looking for a little green as opposed to all red.

Oslo, who spent half of his youth sitting in apple trees eating apples.

The Great Sun Jester
10-24-2005, 07:21 PM
Oslo, who spent half of his youth sitting in apple trees eating apples.Glad I'm not the only one! What I wanna know is how a kid can spend an hour grazing in an apple tree and never get a crippling case of the runs--no matter how sour the apples might be toward the end of summer, never a problem.

We kids instinctively knew when and where to seek the wild trees for the best climbing/eating. We had fights over some trees with kids from other neighborhoods the way city kids will fight over turf. It would get pretty brutal and usually involved some mildly serious apple-inflicted injuries. Looking back I'm surprised National Geographic didn't do a documentary on us. It was all very primal. Fujis are great, but nothing beats a wild apple of unknown pedigree yanked fresh from the top branches of a 30 foot apple tree. Except maybe knocking some punk out of that tree using some of the lower hanging fruit. That rules!

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
10-24-2005, 08:03 PM
I always get good RD apples. Never, ever had a problem; it's one of the most dependable things in my life, fruitwise at least.

Is it because I live closer to Washington State than many of the posters in this thread?

R. P. McMurphy
10-24-2005, 08:12 PM
I always get good RD apples. Never, ever had a problem; it's one of the most dependable things in my life, fruitwise at least.

Is it because I live closer to Washington State than many of the posters in this thread?

Maybe, if you live in the Plains, you are getting the real thing instead of the crap that comes out of Washinton State.

Here's the cite for what has happen to the Red Delicious:

Washinton State Garbage Apples (http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/04/AR2005080402194.html)

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
10-24-2005, 08:47 PM
Maybe, if you live in the Plains, you are getting the real thing instead of the crap that comes out of Washinton State.

Here's the cite for what has happen to the Red Delicious:

Washinton State Garbage Apples (http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/04/AR2005080402194.html)

No, I live in L.A. Almost all the RD apples I see have "Washington" stickers on them.

BoringDad
10-24-2005, 08:47 PM
Macintosh, for instance, are good for making applesauce because they mush down upon being cooked, but terrible for pies, where you want the pieces of apple to be somewhat firm.

/slight hijack to Less Than Great Debates

Oh my. Oh my oh my. No indeed you do not want the pieces to be firm in apple pie. no no no. No.

Apple pie should be crisp and flaky in the crust, and smooth as butter inside. No crunchy chunks of apple allowed. If it's not already a law, it should be.

And no raisins in apple pie.

/hijack

BoringDad
10-24-2005, 08:56 PM
Not being much of an apple fan myself the HoneyCrisp is the one exception that I actually like. They were designed by the University of Minnesota by crossing two other apple types.
Hard to find someone who doesn't like them.
You found one! The bland sweetness has no redeeming qualities I can find.

I grew up on Red Delicious as it was the only thing in the stores, and we had no local orchards. I never knew good apples till I lived in a place where we could get apples fresh from the trees in season. I usually don't even know what kind I'm eating when they are in season, I just grab a small bag that looks nice and am usually happy (unless, of course, it turns out to be a bag of HoneyCrisp. I can tell that by the taste when I bite in, and then I leave those for the kids.)

To the OP, Braeburn seem much less likely to be mealy than Red Delicious. They are however, much tarter (which I like though some may not.)

The Great Sun Jester
10-24-2005, 08:57 PM
Yes. The only sutable apple for pie is Granny Smith, well cooked. I will entertain no debate on this matter.

RaftPeople
10-24-2005, 08:58 PM
Maybe, if you live in the Plains, you are getting the real thing instead of the crap that comes out of Washinton State.

Here's the cite for what has happen to the Red Delicious:

Washinton State Garbage Apples (http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/04/AR2005080402194.html)

I live in Seattle and for the longest time I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on with the apples.

This thread, and especially that article has cleared up a mystery that has been bugging me for years!

Hello Again
10-24-2005, 09:12 PM
/slight hijack to Less Than Great Debates

Oh my. Oh my oh my. No indeed you do not want the pieces to be firm in apple pie. no no no. No.

Apple pie should be crisp and flaky in the crust, and smooth as butter inside. No crunchy chunks of apple allowed. If it's not already a law, it should be.

And no raisins in apple pie.

/hijack

Perhaps you do not know that some apple varieties will literally slush themselves into apple sauce when heat is applied. You DO want your apple pie to contain actual pieces of apple, rather than apple paste, right? "Remains firm" in this context should read "does not dissolve" not "stays hard."

Harmonious Discord
10-24-2005, 09:13 PM
In Wisconsin there's a couple months of super great apples from the orchards. The growers never seem to go for the national distribution. They saturate the local markets for a while and then everything is imported. The apples go from great to eat, to unripe and tasteless. I like to leave a few apples on the trees so the cold nights make them super sweet. Most of the nameless varieties in old fields are now dead around here. I found a tree that was a five mile walk from a road. It was the best apple I ever tried the flesh was pink to the core. I wanted to graft it, but it was destroyed before I learned to graft successfully.

CurtC
10-25-2005, 10:58 AM
Is it because I live closer to Washington State than many of the posters in this thread?It could be simply that you have lousy taste in apples.

Doobieous
10-25-2005, 03:59 PM
No, I live in L.A. Almost all the RD apples I see have "Washington" stickers on them.


Red Delicious can be OK as long as they're crisp. They're usually not that sweet, but the crispness makes up for *some* of the lack of flavor. However, they're such a gamble and I've had too many bad, mealy, and unpleasant "Red Delicious" apples that I refuse to buy them and guy primarily Fuji (Although Gala is excellent).

Ludovic
10-25-2005, 09:30 PM
Washington State Garbage Apples.....hahahahah! I guess it's the fact that my grandpa was a NYS apple farmer that did it.

spinky
10-26-2005, 02:31 AM
And no raisins in apple pie.Amen to that. I've never even heard of such a thing, but it sounds like a sure fire way to screw up a pie.

Chotii
10-26-2005, 03:44 AM
I love Cameo apples, and mourn in the fall when the season is over. Right now, my kids and I are mostly eating Galas and Fujis, neither of which I really like. My husband eats only Golden Delicious if he can get them - we ask our local store to get in the 3 lb bags of runty apples, which seem to be a better quality than the larger ones, not to mention usually cheaper per pound than the larger size of the same variety. Also the kids waste less when they eat them.

I have not tried the Grapple, and Honeycrisp is just too expensive compared to certain other varieties to buy in quantity for 4 kids! A couple of years ago I was having a love affair with the Southern Rose (or was it Pink Lady) but the blush has, alas, gone from that rose. Cameo, Cameo, when do you come back in season??!

lissener
10-26-2005, 05:04 AM
I have not tried the Grapple, . . .An apple seller at Pike Place Market (one of the greatest wonders of the world) told me that "Grapples" have been infused, artificially, with white grape juice.

Shalmanese
10-26-2005, 06:12 AM
It could be simply that you have lousy taste in apples.

Yup, I would say he lacks sophistication ;).

BoringDad
10-26-2005, 04:52 PM
Perhaps you do not know that some apple varieties will literally slush themselves into apple sauce when heat is applied. You DO want your apple pie to contain actual pieces of apple, rather than apple paste, right?
No. Cooking down to thick sweet sticky apple paste is most lovely.

Ethilrist
10-26-2005, 04:57 PM
Wow. I don't think anybody pointed this out: they sound different if they're mealy inside. Tap them with your fingernail; the crisper the sound, the crisper the apple. If you hear "dunk, dunk", then they're not so good.

Hello Again
10-26-2005, 10:32 PM
No. Cooking down to thick sweet sticky apple paste is most lovely.

Ok, then we agree to disagree. That sounds disgusting.

fluiddruid
10-26-2005, 10:50 PM
An apple seller at Pike Place Market (one of the greatest wonders of the world) told me that "Grapples" have been infused, artificially, with white grape juice.

Actually, it's artificial grape flavoring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapple_%28fruit%29) rather than grape juice (check the ingredients on the package).

I bought a package once. It was $3.69 for 4, and definitely a mistake.

lorinada
10-26-2005, 11:07 PM
Around here, the red and golden delicious are the cheapest apples available by far, and I stopped buying the reds decades ago because of their mealiness, so I usually buy goldens. They also happen to be my favorite. I usually buy the smaller ones, green or yellow, and I don't recall ever getting a mealy one.

*wanders off to kitchen to get a golden*

Fridgemagnet
10-27-2005, 07:39 AM
The best apples are eaten in-season and (preferably) harvested locally. I go for a batch that has lots of different shapes and sizes, maybe a little bit scabby looking. Lovely red "Snow White" apples always taste disappointing - it's almost impossible to breed for looks, uniform size, yield, disease resistance, shelf life and flavour, so I just go for the varieties that promise flavour. My favourites are:

Discovery needs to be eaten almost straight off the tree, as they don't keep very well, but they are possibly teh most delicious apple ever.

Russet is a scabby looking apple, but with a totally unique flavour and texture. Even when they go a bit old and wrinkly they're still good. I love 'em.

Cox's Orange Pippin is an old classic, but there seems to be no uniform quality in the sub-cultivars. Some can be big, uniform and a little tasteless, others are small, odd looking, and quite delicious.

As for the commercial varieties, Pink Lady is OK as they go, but Golden Delicious seem to be disappearing off the shelves. Which is no bad thing, though I have to say I did eat a GD apple straight off the tree once, and it was indeed golden and delicious, rather than the usual yellow and tasteless. I guess they lose a lot of flavour once picked.

Oddly, some varieties of apple need storing for a period to be at their best. Most are best as fresh from the tree as possible.

CurtC
10-27-2005, 10:34 AM
Fridgemagnet, I've never seen any of those varieties here in the US.

By the way, I think the reason apples taste better right off the tree is that apples taste better when they've been allowed to ripen on the tree. Apples sold in stores have to be picked before they're fully ripe so that by the time they're sold they won't be overripe. I think that's true, anyway. It's the reason home-grown tomatoes are so good compared to store-bought.

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