There is nothing like a crisp apple. Now I can say with certainty that there is NOTHING like taking a bite out of an apple still attached to the tree, or picked five seconds before you eat it! We went apple picking a few days ago while driving around Maine and New Hampshire, something I had never done despite having lived in New England for four years while I was at college in the 1980’s. The apple picking season often starts around Labor Day, and we chanced upon an orchard which had just decided to open up to the public and allow folks to pick their own apples starting that day…
A peck is a unit of measure, roughly equivalent to two gallons, and four pecks make up a bushel. Armed with our plastic “peck”, we headed out to the rows and rows of apple trees, pruned specifically so it would be easy to pick the fruit. I was amazed by the sight of hundreds of trees, all laden with ripening fruit, and we had a wonderful time at the orchard. We were told that the Macintosh variety of apples was ready for picking so we concentrated our efforts there.
The amount of fruit on each tree was simply astonishing and they were so easy to reach and pick. I suspect that each tree must yield a good 100+ pounds of fruit, which is impressive given their small size.
In their natural state, the macintoshes had a reddish green skin, with an almost matte finish, albeit with a light dusting of “powder”. Most commercially available apples are waxed to extend their shelf life, and if you scrape them with your fingernail or a knife, you can see the thin film of wax come off the apple.
I bit into a freshly picked mac and it was superb! A tough-ish protective skin protected a crisp, juicy and somewhat sweet/tart interior. Yum.
We also were able to harvest a few utterly sublime mutsu apples. Less tart than a Granny Smith, I have loved the mutsu variety ever since I tasted my first one some 20 years ago.
Finally, I was able to snap this photo of Royal Gala apples, a variety I thought were primarily from Australia and New Zealand, but was growing in this orchard with great success. Their naturally shiny yellow red skins were beautiful to behold, and if ready/ripe, possess a really clean sweet apple flavor. Other rows in the orchard were planted to cortland, macoun, empire and other apple varieties. We ended up buying some 10 pounds of apples, which at 80 cents a pound, were a real bargain!
A crystal clear blue sky, a sunny afternoon, 60F temperature all made for a wonderful first time apple picking experience! Now the saying “As American as Apple Pie” makes a lot more sense to me… But if I am not mistaken, I think apples originally came from Asia/China. :)