Saturday, November 1, 2008

Staymen Winesap and Winter Banana

“What are these Mommy?” “Dorion” “Oh!”

“What are these Mommy?” “Winter Banana” “Oh my!”

“What are these Mommy?” “Ida Reds, Tangy and tart. Good for baking.”

“What are these Mommy?” “Connie, sweet for eating.”

And so it went on down the line of crates of brightly colored apples. My daughter’s questions were the same. My answers were filled with exotic proper names that were somehow familiar and descriptors that filled us with sweet anticipation for a bite of each variety: “Winesap, the deep color of a rich burgundy wine.” “Gala, sweet, zesty with distinct coloring.” “Double Red Winesap, tart, spicy, firm with bright red color.” “Mutsu, mildly sweet with great crunch; juicy for eating.” “Staymen Winesap, crunchy, mild taste; good for cooking and eating; golden color with streaks of rose.” “Newtown Pippin, tart, hard; a good keeper.” “Braeburn, mildly sweet, tart, crisp, juicy, firm.” “Red Rome, juicy, firm, aromatic, mildly tart; good for baking.” “Fuji, exceptionally sweet, firm, crunchy, juicy.” “Swiss Gourmet, hard and sweet; next best to Honeycrisp for eating.”

Somehow, I managed to copy down the name of the varietal and the descriptors of each of the above apples on a little piece of sticky note and throw it into a different bag with the corresponding apple….while trying to keep my three-year-old away from the hornets circling the apple cider dispenser from which she continued to try to fill her paper sample cup. And then there was the baby to keep from crying. Needless to say, I was very frazzled by the end of the project. But, now as I reread the little sticky notes for each apple type and inhale the unique aromas of each varietal, it was all worth it. And a half bushel (a large bucket) was ONLY $20.00!!

The above descriptions were from Skibbe’s Farm, from whom I buy the Michigan apples at our local farmers market. The apple site has more colorful wording and some background on each variety. But not all the apple varieties I purchased were listed on the site. So I feel I’ve discovered some hidden gems. I’ll have to do a little more research on Staymen Winesap and Dorion and Connie. Aren’t those imaginative names? I wonder, where oh where did they originate?

Many of the recipes on the Michigan apple site are creative and sound delicious. We might try out the Apple Salsa tonight. Nachos for dinner would make and ordinary chilly Saturday something special. Plus, we have apples coming out of our ears.

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