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Apple Taste Testing: Part 1

 There has been a lot of discussion about apple desserts in my kitchen in the past week or two. I‘ve recently posted two recipes, Apple Tarte Tatin and Apple Walnut Pie, and while the man I cook for had no hesitation eating either, both times he’s commented about the disappointing flavour of the apples. In one instance, I used Jonogold, the other Granny Smith.

This prompted me to buy one each of the six different apple varieties available from my local fruit shop for a cooked apple taste test.

I peeled cored and cut each apple into eighths. After adding 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and bringing it to the boil, I covered it tightly and simmered for 5 mins. I checked the moisture then simmered the apple for a further 5 minutes. I added nothing but water to the pot. We tasted them unsweetened.

We judged each on it’s inherent sweetness, moisture, texture, aftertaste, and the overall eating pleasure. In order of our preference here’s what we found.

The clear winner was the Pink Lady. Generally accepted as a good quality apple for eating fresh, this was our clear favourite when cooked. It was sweet, but with a clean acidity.The fruit had maintained it’s structure and offered a nice resistance when bitten into. All the water had been absorbed or had evaporated after 8 minutes of cooking so I removed it from the heat. It was still pleasantly moist, but would have scorched if left to continue cooking. The Pink Lady’s flavour lingered pleasantly on the palate.

Jazz, another red variety and one I hadn’t previously tasted was our second choice. Jazz could have done with an extra few minutes in the pot. The texture still had an element of crispness, and the mouthfeel was a little dry. It was a fresh tasting apple, not very sweet but it generally lacked a depth of flavour.

The perennial favourite cooking apple Granny Smith was our third choice. It was no surprise that this apple was reduced to pulp after just 8 minutes cooking time. This apple was sweeter than the jazz with a nice acidic finish, but little aftertaste. The lack of structure dragged this down.

Our Golden Delicious specimen was bland, just sweet, but with little acidity and even less apple flavour. While it had maintained it’s structure during the cooking process it had a slightly mealy texture.

Jonathan, the classic red eating apple had an unpleasant slippery texture after being cooked. It had a nice firm bite, but it seemed dry. There was an unpleasant metallic after taste.

To cook a Fuji apple was a big mistake.It was soft and mushy even though it had held it’s shape. After 10 minutes cooking time there was still a puddle of water around the fruit. The apple was tasteless and left an unpleasant flavour lingering on the palate.

None of these apples really excited our taste buds. They were bought from a greengrocer with an excellent reputation for buying from small orchadists and none had been in coolstore. I just hope that the apples I buy from the Farmer’s Market this week are more satisfying!

Apple Tasting Part 2 will appear next week.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

24 comments on “Apple Taste Testing: Part 1

  1. dunelight
    May 15, 2015

    I am blessed to be living in the land of orchards..I’ve eaten all these apples. I’ve always thought of Pink Lady as a good ‘eating’ apple…next fall we may have to make something of her.

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  3. richardmcgary
    April 30, 2015

    Love your experiment. I have never cooked with Pink Lady and have never tried Jazz. My go to apple for pies and cobblers is Granny Smith. Nevertheless, the very best apple pie I have ever eaten or made bar none was an apple I picked off the tree at the Philmont Scout Camp outside of Cimarron, NM. At one time it had a very large apple orchard in front of the main house. When I was there 12 years ago, most f the apple trees were gone and the few that were left were rather scraggly. Nonetheless, we picked 2 bushels of apples on the last day and brought them back to DFW. I have no idea what was type of apple. They were small, yellow with a red blush, and very firm and tart with a nice sweetness. I made 2 deep dish pies (one finished with 1/4 cup of dark rum), apple butter and a few other dishes. The pies were incredible. They were firm to the bite, pleasantly tart with just enough sweetness and seriously tasted like apples. I have never found another apple I liked as much. Too bad no one knew the history about the apple trees or their fruit.

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    • ladyredspecs
      April 30, 2015

      Isn’t it amazing how an outstanding flavour stays with you, how it becomes the benchmark against which you judge all others. Was it Cox’s Orange Pippin you picked? They’re an incredible apple, the best I’ve ever eaten and one rarely found here, though I believe it’s still quite common in the UK. Nice to hear from you Richard

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Gather and Graze
    April 25, 2015

    I’m confused Sandra… I remember writing a comment for this post, but it’s not here and just checked FB in case I left it there instead… Anyway, love this experiment you’re doing and will be interested to see Part 2 as well to compare and know the results. The apples I used in my recent Apple Crumble were Braeburns (recommended by our local Apple Orchard as a great one for cooking with). M

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    • ladyredspecs
      April 25, 2015

      You’re not going crazy Margot, you did comment on FB. I picked up 8 more different apples this am, no Braeburns in the market though. I was keen to try them as another had recommended them as well. We’ll put the new varieties through their paces tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gather and Graze
        April 25, 2015

        Thanks Sandra, just realised I was looking at your FB profile, rather than your PPTR page site. Phew… not going crazy after all! 😀
        Hope the 2nd round of testing goes well tomorrow.

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  6. Fae's Twist & Tango
    April 24, 2015

    You’ve got my attention! I can’t wait to read your next experiment report. Maybe because my taste buds don’t care much for tart anything, for my cooking, I concluded that Fuji keeps its shape (as you mentioned) and taste the sweetest. Also to eat them raw, they are quite sweet. I don’t think I have seen Pink Lady variety, I have to look for them. Very interested! 🙂

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  7. cheergerm
    April 22, 2015

    I am watching your experiment with great interest, I I totally agree that apples have changed. I usually use Granny Smiths and pink ladies and find that the best are these ones straight from the Blue Mountains orchards but of course, I can’t always get those. It will be great to see if you get to test some more unusual varieties.

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  8. Leah
    April 22, 2015

    What an awesome experiment!! Can’t wait to see what the end results are like and which varieties end up on the apple pie list 🙂

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    • ladyredspecs
      April 22, 2015

      The apples have been OK, but not fabulous so we’re on a mission

      Liked by 1 person

      • Leah
        April 22, 2015

        Fun one by the sounds of it. I always remember Adelaide apples being amazing and I’m getting some beautiful organic pink ladies at the moment just from the supermarket. A good year for them I think so probably a good time for the experiment 🙂

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  9. Francesca
    April 21, 2015

    An interesting test Sandra. Maybe you should get your hands on some old varieties too, like Cox’s Orange Pippin, or Arcane to name a couple. I agree that Pink Ladies are a lovely cross of Lady Williams and Golden Delicious, a true Aussie cross, 1973, and are deservedly popular. I have never cooked them.

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  10. marymtf
    April 21, 2015

    nothing beats a cooked granny in winter topped with a bit of custard.

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    • ladyredspecs
      April 22, 2015

      The Granny Smith’s i’ve cooked have been disappointing this year, not much flavour

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      • marymtf
        April 22, 2015

        My mother has a tree. Maybe home grown is the trick.

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  11. fluidicthought
    April 21, 2015

    Pink Lady is the apple I prefer. I love a crisp apple 🙂

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  12. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    April 21, 2015

    So very interesting to see that you get virtually the same apple varieties in Australia as we have here in the UK. The only one I didn’t recognise is Jonathan/Johnny. I really like Pink Lady and Jazz for eating (and cooking) and am glad to see they made it to the top of your list. Do you get Braeburn? It is usually my first choice for cooking.

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    • ladyredspecs
      April 21, 2015

      Braeburn are not a big here although I do hope to pick some up at the Farmers Mkt Saturday, and hopefully also some other less commercial varieties. You’d think i’d have worked out which apples Mal likes best after almost 40 yrs together, but to be honest I think apples have changed!

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2015 by in Desserts, Food, Fruit Desserts, Soapbox and tagged , , .
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