What other apple varieties am I missing out on?
Based on a post here, I just recently tried honeycrisp apples for the first time.... Absolutely delicious! I had never even heard of this variety until I read the post (which had been revitalized from 2002). So what other delectable apple varieties am I missing out on?
Well, you don't live in apple orchard country, so I suspect you are going to be limited by what your supermarkets consider varieties they can sell in volume, which means you lose out on dozens of heirloom apple varieties and newer hybrids (the Honeycrisp is one of the latter).
The orchards in eastern Massachusetts date back as far as the 1630s and many still have great old varieties that don't sell in supermarkets anymore (the customer is the loser for that one) as well as newer hybrids. Off the top of my head, here are apples I see in our orchards that don't darken the doors of supermarkets:
Baldwin (was *the* great American apple for about a hundred years)
Rhode Island Greening
Jonathan (which begat many hybrids you *do* see in the supermarket)
Winesap (aka Stayman Winesap)
Russets (several sub-varieties) (the oldest (and to some tastes the best) American apple variety - the russet potato was named for it due to the rough skin)
Pippins (several sub-varieties)
Melrouge (a new hybrid I am seeing a lot of in local orchards)
SunCrisp (ditto - cross between eastern Golden Delicious and Cox Orange Pippin)
Northern Spy ("Spys for Pies!")
Rome Beauty (the classic baking apple)
Macoun (pronounced "Mac-o--un", not "Mac-oon") - though we tend to get this in our local supermarkets in the fall, it seem rarer outside of New England
What you won't see on these lists are splendid hybrid varieties that are developed and the rights to which get bought up by agribusiness so that they are used for processed food and never sold retail to the public. My family in western NY has witnessed apple varieties being tried out and sold for a few years in local orchards, finding some fantastic apples that way, only to have them disappear when the rights are bought out.
Apples, in case you don't know, are among the tree worlds marvels of hybridization. They are meant to hybridize.
The English brought apples to the colonies and apples found America a perfect place. The reason apples were important was not for eating but for drinking - cider (natural, fermenting) was the dominant drink in the US until the advent of large breweries (people preferred to drink cider to water if they could for reasons having to do with pre-modern medical theories, et cet.) But I digress....
pink ladies/cripps pink
haralson and red haralson
If you are specifically looking for the CRUNCH like a Honeycrisp, there are not many that compare if you are looking for standard supermarket varieties. Fujis come close, and Mutsus are similar to a Fuji - although I prefer Fuji. I only write this becaue I know plenty of ppl (myself included) that judge an eating apple by its crunch. I will toss an apple after one bite if it has no crunch. Thus, I generally only eat Honeycrisps or Fujis. Most other varieties are only for baking, if you ask me. I'm sure there are plenty of varieties that are good for eating for other people, but they gotta be super crunchy for me. Fuji crunchy at minimum.