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Oct 24, 2009 08:31 AM

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.

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  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?