General Discussion 21


mrbarolo | Apr 28, 2004 01:27 PM

The topic is out of season, but it's also general, so I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

Though the contemporary tomato is surely undergoing the most desperate crisis, I'm deeply frustrated by what seems to me the progressively generic nature of apples.

As a kid in NY state, I remember a wide variety of apples that all had truly individual taste/texture/appearance profiles. They were small or large, round or more oblong, had varying degrees of crispness, softness or chewy mealiness, and huge variations in sweet/tartness. And they all had perceptible aromas. My parents used to ship small boxes of local apples to my dorm when they were in season and the perfume would fill the room in seconds.

There were also mushy macs, and bland goldens too, but still...

The types I remember are sheepsheads, McCoons, winesaps, jonathans, among others.

Today, it seems to me that Fujis, Braeburns and Galas are absolutely identical. And the taste of all of them is a uniformly bland, cloying sweetness with very little apple-y-ness about it. Granny Smiths used to be tart and crisp, but now they're mostly mealy with skins like leather. None have a tartness that makes your salivary glands sit up and take notice. None are winey or citrus-y. Just sugary.

And you can stick your face right into the apple display at a supermarket and not smell much of anything.

Am I imagining this decline due to dyspeptic middle age, or is there something really going on in the apple farming world that has effected this change?

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