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May 9, 2007 12:06 PM

McIntosh apples - what?

I grew up eating Macs...but just recently when i buy them they taste different. it's as if they've bred them with red delicious (which i hate) to make them last longer... any ideas what's happened to my favorite apples?

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  1. I have no idea about breeding apples, but since apple season ends before Thanksgiving, maybe the Macs you're buying now have just been frozen for a few months and don't taste as good now. I hope they're not changing Macs forever; they're my favorite eating apple.

    1. It is MAY -- I have no idea where these are coming from, but it can't be the Northern Hemisphere. Maybe New Zealand?

      Try getting them in season from a local supplier...

      4 Replies
      1. re: renov8r

        I heard that they pick them in the fall and then put them in a room filled with some kind of gas to keep them "fresh" for months. Anybody confirm this?

        Apples are not in season now and have either been stored or are from someplace where it's fall NZ But even in NZ, it's as if it's November now, right?

        1. re: oakjoan

          If you visit and orchard, you'll see huge warehouse full of crates of apples. You know they aren't selling them right after they are picked.

          1. re: mojoeater

            Apples can be stored in refrigeration for months, but the texture becomes more and more mealy as time goes on. This is why apples off the tree taste so much better than even apples in the store during picking season, and sooo much better than during the late winter. Don't worry, in a few months, the Macs you know and love will be back. Till then, buy Fuji apples....they are a lot sweeter than Mac but their texture holds up much better to refrigeration (not grainy & overly sweet like Delicious). As a note from a New Englander, you have no idea how good apples can taste unless you've had one just picked from a tree!

            1. re: InmanSQ Girl

              Went to an orchard years ago and learned that apples can actually be in cold storage for up to a year. I always wondered why I didn't like the apples from the chain markets. I usually buy my apples at a farmer's market now. The taste is so much better.

      2. yes, your macs are out of season. a lot of conventionally grown apples can be stored for very long periods, sometimes over a year, in order to supply the big box groceries with the big breed apples. they grow mealy and tasteless the longer they are stored. this is the kind of apple frequently sold for "big savings" in 5 lb bags. if you want to buy a fresher apple, buy organic. better yet, wait for your local orchards to harvest and buy at a farmer's market near you. it will be the freshest apple you can get, besides picking your own.

        2 Replies
        1. re: soupkitten

          organic may or may not taste better, depending on the growing season.

          but out of season apples are just a waste.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            hotoy, i was talking about organic apples being sold when they are in season, that they are not stored for a year like conventional-- that's one big reason organic apples generally taste better, they are fresher, not treated with fungicides & preserving waxes to try to keep them longer, etc. for example right now domestic organic braeburns are at the end of their season, so will only be in stores for a few weeks. organic delicious apples (golden and red) from WA are available, as are organic WA cripps, granny smith and fuji, and imported south american organic gala varietals and jonagolds. organic macs are out of season, so any mac the op would have purchased would be conventional, and have been in cold storage for many months. supermarkets try to sell popular varietals of conventional apples year round (because they are popular), with the result that these apples are sometimes stored way too long to taste right. you don't get that problem with organic apples ime.

        2. Macs don't keep very well. Figure on three to four weeks top in season and then go to other varieties. Also watch out for very red Macs. Some newer red Mac clones lack flavor. Indeed, this is a problem with most solid red apples. There seems to be a genetic problem with full red versus flavor. The older clones had more flavor. If you can get an old Red Delicious clone, the apples will be streaked with green but have good flavor. Several years ago I talked with an older Michigan grower who had a few of the old trees. He only used the apples in cider because they wouldn't sell at the faremers' markets. Solid red apples are the enemy of flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eldon Kreider

            inmanSQ girl is right on the money on both counts, I have worked in a cold storage
            and the apples themselves gives off this gas that ripens them, so we had to air out
            the room everyday so they wouldnt be over ripe. like she said about the Fuji apple.
            to me its the best apple made. I have a tree in my back yard. I know what it means
            to get fresh fruit off your own tree, living here in the great San Joquin valley. there
            is a valley down in chilie that is about half the size of ours that produces alot of
            fruit, we reconditions some thompson grapes from that valley and I have to say
            it produced the biggest bunch of grapes I have ever seen, It weighed over 27 lbs
            one bunch, we all took pictures of it with all the workers because it was going to be
            in the fresno bee news paper. about the Fuji you can`t go wrong with apple no
            matter what your trying to make.

          2. apples are harvested in the late fall and placed in cold storage. as time progresses, the sugar convert into a starch resulting in "mealy" flesh. This is not optimal time to be eating apples; stonefruit is just starting, so eat a donut peach!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Veggietales

              Thanks for all the responses - I know they're out of season, I just didn't expect them to taste so different - also the texture is very firm, more like a granny firm! I am looking forward to the fall, when I visit my mother in upstate NY I bring home as many apples as I think I can use! :)
              Unfortunately I cannot really eat stone fruit (allergies) but strawberries are also in season! YUM. My local FM should have them.

              1. re: jujuthomas

                Personally I think a stored out-of-season, but local, apple is a better choice than imported fruit for much of the winter. I'm in Toronto, Canada so my local/seasonal options are always limited! It's odd what you say about the macs because I've been eating them all winter and I don't find them firm at all.

                1. re: jujuthomas

                  Like you, I grew up eating Macs, and they are my favorite. I live in the midwest now, and have come to love Jonathans, but they, like MacIntosh, have a short season, and limited peak crispiness as well. Braeburns are good season.
                  There was a discussion on these boards a couple of months ago about decent apples in late winter/early spring. I learned about the Cripps/ Pink Lady apples, and sought them out. We now buy "Cripps Pink" at our local market, and I just adore them: very crisp, but not hard like Granny Smiths, and nice and tart. Try one! It has become my daily afternoon snack.

                  1. re: p.j.

                    Thanks PJ, I'll keep my eye out for them.