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Posts Tagged ‘McIntosh apple’

McIntosh apples waiting to be plucked at Douglas Orchards in West Shoreham, Vermont. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

McIntosh apples waiting to be plucked at Douglas Orchards in West Shoreham, Vermont. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

APPLES COME and apples go, but McIntosh is that rare variety whose popularity never fades. It took nearly 70 years after its discovery on a Canadian farm more than 200 years ago for McIntosh to make its commercial debut. But since 1870 the Mac has enjoyed a sustained run as one of our nation’s favorite apples, firmly entrenched in America’s top ten (the sixth most popular variety grown in the United States), and accounting for about two-thirds of the New England crop, where Macs grow exceptionally well.

A century ago McIntosh was competing with varieties like Baldwin, Northern Spy, and Rhode Island Greening for marketplace supremacy. Yet, while those varieties are still grown in a number of the region’s orchards, their popularity crested long ago, and they are now treasured as heirlooms rather than grown widely on a national scale.

Many varieties that were popular one hundred years ago were not so lucky, and are now rare or extinct. Three Massachusetts apples, for example, were not only regional favorites but cultivated across the country. Benoni (an early season apple from Dedham in the early 1800s, with crisp, juicy yellow flesh and red, or orange-yellow, striped red skin), Danvers Sweet (a variety from the 1700s included in the American Pomological Society’s first list of recommended varieties for its sweet flavor and storage qualities), and Mother (discovered in Worcester in 1848 and prized for its appearance and flavor), are now found in just a few places, or preserved in heritage orchards like the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts.

The reasons an apple variety can fade from view are many. It may be difficult to grow or susceptible to disease. Its fruit may be small or misshapen, or the trees may bear crops only every other year. The apple’s core may be too big, the skin too tough, or the flesh too dry. The apple may bruise easily, fall prematurely off the tree, or store and ship poorly — critical factors for commercial success. A variety may simply become unfashionable, its desirability influenced by such superficial factors as color or name.

In some instances, the qualities that made an apple variety exceptional where it was discovered simply do not translate well to other climates or soils. A great apple in southeastern Vermont may be bland when grown in northern Connecticut. Even the flavor of successful commercial varieties like McIntosh and Honeycrisp can vary slightly according to where it is grown, the time of year, and the particular weather conditions of a season.

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

YET McINTOSH is remarkably consistent in flavor and texture, and its attributes well known. In addition to its distinctive, sweet-tart flavor, McIntosh is one of the most aromatic apples. Its juicy flesh is crisp but not dense. Few apples bring as much pleasure as the distinctive crunch of a fresh McIntosh straight from the tree — and they are now ripe for picking in New England orchards, and available at farm stands and grocery stores.

But McIntosh are also great for cooking, and apple crisp is one of the many desserts in which McIntosh excel. We recently made apple crisp using the last of the early season varieties, plus a couple of Granny Smiths that were given to us at the beginning of the summer and that had languished in the refrigerator.

The crisp had good flavor, but it was dry, as the early season apples and Grannies were past their prime, lacking in juice. When this happens, the crisp can be salvaged by adding half a cup or more of liquid, ideally fresh cider, and cooked for 15 more minutes. Water will work if you do not have any cider, or in our case, an eight-ounce bottle of apple juice we had on hand. The result was very good.

Had we used McIntosh, though, there would have been no such problem. Its natural juiciness ensures that apple crisp made with McIntosh will never be dry or lacking in texture, and its rich flavor and fragrance are simply sublime.

We will feature apple crisp made with Macs (and maybe a few Cortlands) at the New England Apple Association booth in the Massachusetts Building at the Eastern States Exposition (“The Big E”) in West Springfield, Massachusetts, for 17 consecutive days beginning this Friday, September 13. Customers will have the option of topping off their warm crisp (or apple pie) with vanilla ice cream.

A brief shower Sunday left traces of rain on McIntosh apples at Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

A brief shower Sunday left traces of rain on McIntosh apples at Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

We will also be selling fresh apples at The Big E from a number of orchards, including Brookfield Orchards, Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Cold Spring Orchard, Nestrovich Fruit Farm, Pine Hill Orchard, Red Apple Farm, and Tougas Family Farm, plus single-serving apple pies, cider donuts from Atkins Farm, and fresh cider from Carlson Orchards, and have informational items like recipe cards and our 2014 New England Apples wall calendar.

The fair is a great place to sample and learn about apples, including many of the varieties that populate New England orchards today. We cannot guarantee that all of them will be flourishing a century from now, but it is a good bet that McIntosh is here to stay.

The apple crisp recipe we use comes from Lois Castell Browns, grandmother of Executive Director Bar Lois Weeks.

Apple Crisp

6 McIntosh or other New England apples

1 T lemon juice

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/2 t salt

Topping

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/4 c old-fashioned oats

1/4 c brown sugar or maple syrup

5 T butter

Preheat oven to 350˚. Core and slice apples into a buttered 8” square pan. Sprinkle lemon juice and spices over the apples. Combine topping ingredients to cover the apples. Bake for 45 minutes or until apples have softened.

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For more information about New England orchards, what they grow, and where to find them, click here.

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McIntosh apples, Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts (Russell Steven Powell photo)

McIntosh apples, Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts (Russell Steven Powell photo)

BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, A HOLIDAY WEEKEND, and an early crop make this a perfect time for apple picking. McIntosh, the region’s most popular apple (accounting for about two-thirds of the New England crop), are ready for picking at many orchards, more than a week ahead of schedule.

Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, and Wealthy are some of the other varieties now being harvested at orchards along Massachusetts’ Route 2 corridor, among them Sholan Farms in Leominster, Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, and Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. Visit New England apples to find the orchard nearest you, and call ahead to see what they are picking.

Al Rose of Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Al Rose of Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

RED APPLE FARM celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday, August 30. A large crowd gathered beneath the orchard’s century-old McIntosh tree to recognize the Rose family, including Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson, State Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and State Representative Ann Gobi (D-Spencer). Al and Nancy Rose, the third-generation owners of Red Apple Farm, served up apple cake, turnovers, cider donuts, and fresh cider to their guests, accompanied by Al’s father Bill and the next generation: children Aaron, John, Madeline, and Thomas.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson recognizes Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson recognizes Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Red Apple Farm has evolved from a strictly wholesale orchard to a thriving retail operation, and like a number of New England orchards (among them Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, and Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont), Red Apple is going green. A 15-kilowatt windmill towers over the orchard; installed last year, Al Rose expects it to pay for itself within two years. Much of the funding for the wind generator came from the USDA’s Rural Development Program, the Massachusetts Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

A crowd gathers before Red Apple Farm's century-old McIntosh tree. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

A crowd gathers before Red Apple Farm’s century-old McIntosh tree. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

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America's Apple

America’s Apple

DID YOU KNOW that you can’t grow a McIntosh from a McIntosh seed (or a Honeycrisp from a Honeycrisp seed)? Or that most orchards practice integrated pest management (IPM), a series of low-impact measures to manage pests and disease? Or that John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, never wore the tin-pot hat that appears in many popular depictions of him?

These are just some of the apple facts you can learn in America’s Apple, a new book by Russell Steven Powell. The 250-page book features chapters on food and drink, horticulture, heirlooms, and food safety, including favorite apple recipes and photographs of apples, orchards, and growers from across the country by Bar Lois Weeks. Included is a photographic index of 120 apple varieties grown in the United States. For more information, visit America’s Apple.

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Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, is just one of New England's many pick-your-own orchards. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, is just one of New England’s many pick-your-own orchards. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

COMPARED TO MANY VARIETIES, McIntosh is a finicky apple. The creamy flesh beneath their thin skin bruises easily, and, more than most varieties, it is essential that they be kept cold after picking, or they go soft.

Macs break down easily when cooked, and their flavor, so tart and crisp in the fall, mellows with age over time to a sweeter taste and pear-like texture. Their color is a variable mix of red and green, lacking the bold intensity of monochromatic varieties like the uniformly green Granny Smith or the ubiquitous Red Delicious.

McIntosh is an heirloom variety, dating back to the early 1800s, and for years now, newer varieties with sexier names like Jazz and Pink Lady have attempted to challenge its supremacy. Yet today, McIntosh still accounts for nearly two-thirds of the New England apple crop.

Given its quirky qualities, why has the popularity of McIntosh endured for more than two centuries? Simply put, the McIntosh is one great apple! Its fragrance is unrivaled, its flavor legendary, its versatility endless.

It may require handling with care, but it’s well worth it. It wouldn’t be fall in New England without McIntosh apples.

No apple eaten fresh better evokes the feeling of a New England autumn than McIntosh. Its juiciness and distinctive sweet-tart flavor spectacularly usher in the fall harvest, and should be savored and celebrated at every opportunity, whether at the grocery store, the farm stand, the farmer’s market, or the orchard.

Whether you’re making applesauce, pies, crisp, or cider, make McIntosh part of the mix. Some people, for that matter, favor a mushier pie, and use all Macs for their superior flavor. Almost any dish is made better by including this aromatic apple.

That New England grows some of the finest McIntosh in the world is no accident. Our rocky soils, long, hot summers, and crisp fall days are particularly well-suited for this variety, discovered on a farm in Ontario, Canada. With technological advances like cold atmosphere (CA) storage, McIntosh now retain their crispness and flavor throughout the year as long as they’re kept cold from the storage room to your table.

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McIntosh is among the New England apple varieties now ready for picking. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

McIntosh is among the New England apple varieties now ready for picking. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

THE EASTERN STATES EXPOSITION opens this Friday, September 16, and once again New England Apples will have a booth in the Massachusetts State Building. Come visit us to learn more about apples! For sale are many varieties of apples, fresh cider, apple pies and crisp, cider donuts, cider apple posters, and our new 2012 New England Apples wall calendar. It’s a beauty!

During the 17-day fair, we give out recipe cards with our favorite apple recipes. Here is one of them. It’s our Featured Recipe on the Home page of our website, http://www.newenglandapples.org, as well:

Grandmother’s Apple Crisp

6 New England apples, like McIntosh, Cortland, or Northern Spy

1 T lemon juice

Topping:

1/2 c white or whole wheat flour

1/4 c oats

3/4 c white/brown sugar mix

2 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 c butter

Preheat oven to 350 ̊. Core and slice apples into a buttered 8” square pan. Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples. Combine topping ingredients to cover the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, or until apples have softened. Serves 6.

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NEARLY EVERY New England apple orchard includes McIntosh among its varieties (we can’t think of one that doesn’t). But if you want to combine your Macs with some new or hard-to-find varieties, try the “Find an Apple” feature on the home page of our New England Apples website to access our variety index. Click on the apple you’re looking for to find where they are grown.

You can find a wealth of information about New England’s apple orchards by visiting our Orchards by State page. Click on the appropriate state for complete listings from our orchards, including hours, directions, and varieties. Each listing indicates if the orchard offers pick-your-own or has a farm stand, and includes other products and special activities.

From there, click through to the websites of individual orchards to see what’s available at the moment or to order products online. You can also locate an orchard in your area by clicking the “Find An Orchard” link at the top right of our home page and searching by zip code or map with our Virtual Orchard Finder.

The forecast for this weekend — sunny, in the 60s — is perfect for apple picking. If you’re planning to visit an orchard, take a few minutes to watch the video below, which offers some suggestions about how best to prepare. Enjoy!

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McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

TODAY, APPLES ARE BEING CELEBRATED around the region as part of the third annual New England Apple Day. The fresh crop is ready for harvest, and there should be a good supply of apples, in a full range of sizes, across the New England states. The commissioners of agriculture in the New England states will tour orchards today, meeting with growers and sampling the season’s delectable fruit firsthand.

September marks the traditional beginning of New England’s apple harvest, although some early varieties have been available since mid-August. Most of the fresh harvest occurs in September and October, and the McIntosh, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the New England crop, should be ready at some orchards as early as this weekend. Macouns, Honeycrisp, Empire, and Cortland will not be far behind.

Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

About 40 varieties are grown commercially in New England, but many more heirloom and new varieties are available at certain orchards, especially during the fall. Most of the leading varieties are available in grocery stores throughout the year, maintaining the flavor and crispness through advances in technology such as controlled atmosphere (CA) storage.

Apples have been cultivated in the region since the mid-17th century, and some of the oldest American apples, including Roxbury Russet, Rhode Island Greening, and Baldwin, were first grown on New England soil. Go to the “Find an Apple” link on the home page of our New England Apples website to access our variety index. Click on the apple you are trying to find for a list of where they are grown.

Roxbury Russet apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Roxbury Russet apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

In fact, if you can’t make it to an orchard today — and to plan ahead for the weekend — you can take a virtual tour of New England’s apple orchards by visiting our Orchards by State page. Click on the appropriate state for complete listings from our orchards, including hours, directions, and varieties. Each listing indicates if the orchard offers pick-your-own or has a farm stand, and includes other products sold and special activities.

From there, click through to the websites of individual orchards to get a taste of the tremendous variety New England apple growers have to offer. These websites offer a wealth of information about each orchard’s history, as well as its current operation and products, and you will see some beautiful photography.

You can also locate an orchard in your area by clicking the “Find An Orchard” link at the top right of our home page and searching by zip code or map with our Virtual Orchard Finder.

There’s nothing like visiting an orchard in person to see — and smell — the apples on the trees. But until you can get there (and after a dreary mid-week, it is shaping up as a beautiful weekend), a tour of orchard websites is sure to whet your appetite.

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A whiff of late summer warmth for these cold wintry days. What happens to your apples after they have been picked? See video link below.

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

WANT TO IMPRESS your sweetheart with a sensual Valentine’s treat that goes straight to the heart and is more filling than chocolate? Try sweet, crunchy, aromatic apples, whose association with love is the stuff of myths, as a symbol of beauty, the golden apple “for the fairest” won by the Roman goddess Venus.

Apples come in all flavors, shapes, colors, and sizes, and are good eaten fresh or prepared for any course of any meal. Apples are brimming with healthful antioxidants, fat-free and only 80 calories. Look for cool, unbruised fruit when you shop, and keep your apples refrigerated at home.

New England apples bring real red color to this season of whites and grays, not the cellophane stuff you find wrapped around a cardboard heart. Candy, for all its sweetness, is loaded with empty calories that might eventually force your honey to the dentist or the gym. No matter how you wrap them, chocolates send a mixed message.

Buying local apples is a way of investing in your community — yet another positive message to your sweetie. Typically, New England apples are available in stores year-round, but because of last year’s smaller-than-average crop, supplies may run out by summer. But for now there are plenty of good McIntosh and Cortland and other New England varieties to choose from, and there will continue to be plenty of locally grown apples throughout the spring.

Apples are flavorful and versatile, and good for you. But their sensual beauty is what has made them such a potent symbol of love. The sweet smell of apples is seductive, and they are a beauty to hold and behold. They make a sumptuous gift box or basket.

Here is an easy yet unusual way to make a heartfelt impression on your loved one on Valentine’s Day (or any other!).

Stuffed Flounder Roll-Ups

Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Preheat oven to 375°

In small bowl, combine:

1/2 c fine bread crumbs

8 scallions, minced

2 T parsley, chopped

1 c New England apples, chopped fine

1/2 lb scallops, chopped

1/2 t Old Bay seasoning

1/2 t paprika

1/4 t fennel

1/4 c olive oil

Spread over:

6 flounder fillets

Roll up fillets and place snugly in foil-lined baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

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HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED what happens to your apples from the time they are harvested until you purchase them? This video tells the story.

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REV UP YOUR KITCHENS, ladies and gentlemen We have now officially entered the year’s biggest apple pie-making zone: Thanksgiving week. These next few days are your last chance to experiment with a new apple pie or practice your favorite recipe one final time before you make your pièce de résistance this Thursday.

Make sure you make enough to have some left over for breakfast Friday morning, but remember a pie’s greatest strength and weakness: it must be eaten straight away. For tips about how to take your pie from crust to oven, view the accompanying video featuring Andrea Darrow, Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont.

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

“If you bake one apple pie a week, or two a month, that’s 25 or 50 pies you will make in the coming year. At the end of the year, I guarantee you’ll be the best apple pie maker on your block — and you’ll have more friends than you’ll know what to do with.”

— Ken Haedrich, author of Apple Pie Perfect (Harvard Common Press, 2002)

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AT THE EASTERN STATES EXPOSITION (“The Big E”) this September, we staffed our New England Apples booth for the entire 17-day fair, succeeding in selling bushels of five-inch apple pies, sometimes at the rate of 135 a day! As you may guess, we fielded a myriad of apple pie making-questions, especially on the apple varieties that produce the best results.

Imagine my excitement, then, when a self-proclaimed expert pie maker stopped by to “talk shop.” I was dough in his hands as he related his secret tips for a flaky pastry crust, a perfect mix of sweet and tart apples to use, and, most exciting of all, an answer to an all-consuming question of mine: What is your favorite apple pie?

He answered without hesitation and with the enthusiastic support of his entire extended family: “Blackberry-Apple Pie.” So, here goes, as best as I can remember it.

Blackberry-Apple Pie

1 2-crust pastry shell

2 c blackberries

1/4 c sugar

2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice

*6 c New England apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

2-3 T cornstarch

2 T sugar

1 t cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

In large bowl, mash together blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Add apples and toss. In small bowl, combine cornstarch, 2 T sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir this into fruit mixture. Assemble pie as usual and bake at 400º for 30 minutes; reduce temperature to 375º and continue baking for 40 more minutes or until pie juice bubbles thickly out the steam vents.

*His apple choices:  2 McIntosh, 2 Northern Spy, and 1 Baldwin. In addition to his, my favorites include: Jonathan, Macoun, Cortland, Rome, Gravenstein, Winesap, and, if you can find them, Rhode Island Greening.

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Empire apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Empire apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

 

 

 

“The best pie apple is a matter of personal preference and a reflection of the quality of a given apple at a given time of year. And it’s a moving target. The Northern Spy apples in your neck of the woods might be super one year, the Jonathan apples a little better the following year. The Golden Delicious apples you find in your supermarket could be great one week, not so great a month from now.”

— Ken Haedrich, Apple Pie Perfect

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The mad peeler at work

NEARLY 20 YEARS AGO now, Cindy Keating of Southampton, Massachusetts, and three of her friends got together in Cindy’s kitchen for an afternoon of apple pie-making. They had a great time, the conversation and flour were flying. But the big hit was the corer and peeler Cindy had clamped onto her counter. It was so much fun to use that one of her friends refused to relinquish it, and just kept peeling apple after apple.

No matter. They ended up with four delicious apple pies by the end of the day, and an enduring memory.

Here’s Cindy’s recipe. She can’t recall where she found it, but has made it many times since. The sour cream, she says, coats the apples and suspends them in a delicious, custard-like filling.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 9” pie crust

Filling:

2 c New England apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 T flour

½ c sugar

¼ t salt

1 c sour cream

1 egg, slightly beaten

1½ t vanilla

Topping:

1/3 c flour

1/3 c sugar

½ t cinnamon

¼ c butter

Blend together with pastry knife or fork.

Place apples in pie shell. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, and pour over apples. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350º and bake for 20 minutes more.

Increase temperature to 400º. Add topping to pie and bake for 10 minutes more.

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Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Cortland apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

 

 

 

“Making a gorgeous, delicious apple pie is one of the easiest tricks in the home cook’s bag of kitchen skills. Loan me any 10-year-old for a couple of hours, and I’ll teach him to make an apple pie — not because I’m such a great teacher, but because there’s nothing to it: you mix a pastry, roll the pastry, prepare the filling, put it in the pie shell, and bake it. In one session, you can master 90 percent of what you need to know.”

— Ken Haedrich, Apple Pie Perfect

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WE’VE TOPPED THE CENTURY MARK! There are now photographs and descriptions of more than 100 apple varieties on the New England Apples website, newenglandapples.org. You’ll find a wealth of other information about apples and New England orchards, as well.

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McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

McIntosh apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

FEW THINGS are more quintessentially New England than a McIntosh apple. Its abundant, red-and-green fruit has been filling our orchards and beguiling our senses with a heady fragrance and explosive, sweet-tart flavor for more than a century now. McIntosh today account for about two-thirds of the New England crop.

McIntosh apples are known for their “strawberry or even elderflower flavor and sweet, glistening, melting, juicy, white flesh,” write John Morgan and Alison Richards in The New Book of Apples (Ebury Press, revised edition, 2002).

“Snap a rosy McIntosh from the tree and it’s like walking with Thoreau past Walden Pond in the 1840s, as the complex play of honeyed, tart, and spicy juices trickle down your throat,” add Frank Browning and Sharon Silva in An Apple Harvest (Ten Speed Press, 1999). They describe McIntosh as “juicy, lightly crisp,” with a “blush of strawberry-raspberry aroma.”

It’s not just the McIntosh’s outstanding fragrance and distinctive flavor that we value; they have had a far-reaching effect on the nation’s apple crop. “McIntosh has lent its good genes to several well-known varieties, including Cortland, Empire, Macoun and Spartan,” writes Roger Yepsen in his beautiful book, Apples (W. W. Norton and Co., 1994).

Yepsen’s volume is small in size (5”x6-1/2”) but long on information, with descriptions of more than 90 varieties with accompanying illustrations by the author, and a wealth of background on this amazingly diverse fruit.

The McIntosh is a cross between a Fameuse (also known as a Snow apple because of its bright, white flesh) and a Detroit Red by the Canadian farmer who gave the variety its name. It was discovered around 1800, but it was not until 1870 that the son of John McIntosh introduced the apple commercially.

The main knock against Macs is that they break down in cooking, making them ideal for applesauce but mushy in a pie. Some people prefer it that way, but if you like a firmer texture in your pie without sacrificing the superior McIntosh flavor, combine several Macs with two or three varieties that hold their shape better, such as Cortland, Ida Red, Northern Spy.

McIntosh apples also require careful handling, as they bruise easily and lose their crispness more quickly than some varieties, if not kept cold. At their peak flavor fresh off the tree, properly handled McIntosh in controlled atmosphere (“CA”) storage and then home in your refrigerator can be enjoyed throughout the year.

If you want fresh Macs, don’t delay this autumn; with the earlier-than-usual crop McIntosh may be done being harvested by mid-October rather than at the end of the month. As always, call your orchard ahead of time to see what varieties are available for sale or for picking.

Here’s a fabulous recipe featuring McIntosh for Apple Squares, passed down three generations by Margaret Richardson of Holden, Massachusetts. Two ingredients make it stand out: cornflakes, which are added to the filling to retain the McIntosh’s juices and give the squares texture, and a few drops of almond extract, in the icing.

For a healthier version, use half whole wheat flour, reduce sugar to ¾ cup, reduce butter to 3/8 cup and add ½ cup canola oil.

New England Apple Squares  

2-1/2 c flour

1 c butter

1 egg yolk

Milk

4-6 McIntosh or other New England apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 c cornflakes

1 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

dash of almond extract

Beat egg yolk in measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2/3 c liquid. Cut butter into flour and salt. Mix wet and dry ingredients together into a dough.

Roll out half the dough so that it fills the bottom and sides of a 15-1/2” cook sheet. Sprinkle with cornflakes. Top with apples. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples.

Roll out other half of dough and place on top of apples. Seal edges. Cut holes in top to let steam escape. Bake at 375° for 50-60 minutes, until crust is nicely browned.

Mix confectioner’s sugar with 3-4 t milk and almond extract. Drizzle over warm squares.

For additional apple recipes or to learn more about New England varieties, visit http://www.newenglandapples.org/.

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