HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Down with Red Delicious apples

I propose, only half in jest, a ban on the cultivation and sale of these heinous examples of false advertising (except for the red part) - sorry, Washington state! I once read that those with deep red skins should be avoided as they are the ones most likely to have mealy, flavorless flesh and tough, bitter skins. The lighter red, streaky ones are a better choice and I admit to having eaten a few good ones in my lifetime, but they are rarer than Ghost Orchids. There are now so many other more reliable quality apples available; I truly hope growers plan to transition away from Red Delicious. Empire, one of its hybrids, tastes like what a RD should be. Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Cameo, all of which are now common in supermarkets, are all better examples of the firm, crunchy-perfumy type of apple. When I was young, markets always had Macintosh and Red Delicious and sometimes that was it. Periodically there might be Cortlands, Romes, and Yellow Delicious - this was on Long Island and I'm sure the cast of characters varies by region.
I just came home from a 3-day hospital stay in which a small, mealy Red Delicious was what you got if you asked for an apple. Really repulsive. When I see moms with children in tow buying bags of them in the supermarket, I worry about what that could mean for the kids' lifelong eating habits, hoping they don't grow into adults who don't eat fruits and vegetables.
I heard on NPR that Michael Pollan has reissued a version of The Omnivore's Dilemma which is rewritten for a younger audience, in hopes that explaining to children how their food is produced will dampen their enthusiasm for fast and artificial food. I think that's a promising idea, but many of today's young parents don't know how to make good choices, either.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I also find red delicious, really not delicious at all, to be meally. I'd also opt for pink ladys, fuji or galas as they are all crisp, firm and have better flavor.

      1. re: Karl S

        Thanks for that link, Karl! It sounds like serious growers might be able to redeem the Red Delicious if they could convert it to one of its earlier forms. My loathing for them in their current state is reinforced by the knowledge that it was purposely grown for the "qualities" that repel me. I don't see any change for the better in the 4 years since that article.

      2. Well put greygarious, I have the same complaint. I for some reason (since having pnemonia) have a crazy craving for apples. I can't stand the texture of the red delicious. The galas are better, but my favorite is the granny smith. Hard and crunchy, juicy and delicous. I have to restrain myself to just about 3 a day. For one thing, I don't buy the bagged apples, they are usually under par, and smaller, I want a full sized apple and the bagged stuff I can't tell what's in there.

        1. I wanted to correct my OP - it was on Martha Stewart that Pollan was talking about targeting kids.

          1. I never actually *buy* "Red Delicious" apples. The last few I've had have been from hotel fruit baskets or breakfast displays. Invariably I end up taking a few bites and realizing *why* I don't buy them.

            greygarious, the tiny, tasteless examples you ate in the hospital were no doubt among the cheapest produce available to them. They're harvested god-knows-when and then "astro-cooled" in nitrogen and other gasses. By the time they reach the consumer they're dry, tasteless excuses for fruit.

            Problem is, one can see them in abundance in every supermarket/produce market. *Somebody* is buying these apples. Who are these people? Do they actually eat them?

            1. I agree. Give me a nice crispy tart granny smith any old day.

              4 Replies
              1. re: EWSflash

                My favorites are Empire, Macoun & granny Smiths.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  Just got my Pippins, Russets, Baldwins and Suncrisps from local orchard today. Late season apples are the best.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Honeycrisp (sweet juicy and hard) are becoming hard to find. They won't be available much longer.

                    1. re: jayt90

                      Well, our local supermarkets (eastern Massachusetts) are positively lousy with them. A very good apple that is verging on seasonal (not all-year) dominance; seems to be displacing the Macoun in that regard.

                      Suncrisps blow away Honeycrisps, though. Very very hard when picked, very meaty (you'll see your teeth bites; not wet-crisp like as Honeycrisp); formidible bouquet, subacid/somewhat tart, et cet. I've never seen a keeper like this relatively new variety; I had one from last October in my crisper drawer at the end of this past May, and it had softened to the level of a Honeycrisp and was still quite delicious. Keepers usually last into mid-winter in a home fridge crisper (apples want to be kept a bit above freezing and in relatively high humidity); never late spring!

                      General rule is that ugly apple varieties taste best. Russets are the perfect example.

                2. Red Delicious are *only* good for food photography or still life portraits.

                  For eating, you're better off with a mouthful of styrofoam.

                  1. Grey,
                    Red Delicious apples are my favorite, BUT
                    I only buy them in season from the orchard or farm stand. Late August til early November here in Connecticut.
                    Storage apples are terrible, and the red delicious get mealy.
                    I do not inderstand why people buy out of season produce and expect them to taste good and be of fine quality.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bagelman01

                      Well, late season apples include many varieties that do keep well for months if kept cold and humid. It's just that supermarket display cases are not the place to keep or find them. Many fruits and vegetables are well-suited to long-term storage, and human being have been doing it for millennia. It's just that the vegetables and fruits that are not well suited to traditional long term storage means suffer more

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Same here. My parents, who live up in Michigan apple country, always buy a big lot of Red Delicious for us right from the orchard and then bring them down when they visit every fall. We also get a couple of gallons of mind-blowingly good orchard-made soft cider from them on the same trip- so much more intense and complex flavor than what you get in grocery store cider.

                      2. I'm on board! Give me a good Winesap any old day (tough to find outside an orchard or farmstand) or a Honeycrisp or Gala.

                        1. Fortunately, I'm an old parent, not a young parent, and I also do the grocery shopping around here. Harris-Teeter couldn't give me any Red Delicious apples for my kids.

                          Truly a repulsive piece of fruit. Almost as bad as a non-local supermarket peach.

                          1. Never eat them if I can avoid it. Golden Delicious are occasionally OK, but I far prefer Macs, or Spartans or Winesaps or IDA Reds. Some of the new hybrids like Jonagolds, Suncrisp, etc. are also very tasty.

                            1. Red delicious are mealy and unpleasant to eat. I like Jonathans, but they are difficult to find. So I usually get a Gala or a Granny-Smith. Fresh HoneyCrisp is nice, too. I've never encountered the suncrisps that people mention.

                              1. Our WF is featuring a sale on organic Ambrosia apples...which I've never heard of...are they tart in any way? That's what I love...on the tart side and juicy. Granny Smiths are a little TOO tart for me for eating out of hand, though. I do use the GS's in baking, though.

                                1. In the "Apple Fries Rant" thread, thinkstoomuch linked to this 2006 NY Times Magazine
                                  piece on the part of the apple industry that produces and sells bagged pre-sliced apples:

                                  I suppose that if the choice is between people eating pre-sliced fruit or none at all, this is a good thing, but I am sad that there's a market for these. Cutting up an apple, if for some reason you can't handle a whole one, is just not that big a task. I understand that packaging foods in such a way as to avoid portioning increases consumption and therefore sales but that will work a lot better with potato chips than apples, since eating a whole apple, or its equivalent, leaves you feeling quite full. If I have an apple that is bigger than I want, I halve it and refrigerate one half, wrapped in plastic. There is little browning - if that bothered me, I'd trim off the browned area before eating the second half. If it is true that people don't like to eat an apple out of hand because they consider holding and disposing of the core to be disgusting, the endtimes must be nearer than we thought! A core can be tossed on the ground, where it will either be food for an animal, or biodegrade. The same cannot be said for the plastic bag that holds the more expensive presliced fruit.

                                  1. Good luck--I hope you are not too late. In the 1950's/60's, living as a child in New England, I liked apples...or so I remembered. When we left New England, I hated apples and would nto eat them for over twenty years (other than in pie or as cider and juice). Then I returned to a Massachusetts wedding and had an apple from the bride's family's trees foisted on it. Then I realized that I HAD like apples until I was removed from the real thing and had been given Red Delicious and other infamies. See "Between Meals" by Liebling for a great assault of faux food...the paragraph begins "Personally I like tastes that know their own minds."