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A is for Apple

6 regional apples to add to your table this fall

By Margaret Button

Macoun and gala and McIntosh, oh, my!

It’s apple season, and with so many delicious varieties to choose from in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont, it’s difficult to know what you’re picking and what that apple is best used for (besides taking a big old juicy bite out of, of course).

Here are a few varieties we found ready for the picking at regional apple orchards. Use this cheat sheet to plan which apples you’ll be filling your basket with. Happy harvest!

CORTLAND

Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Characteristics: Sweet, with a hint of tartness; juicy; tender, snow-white flesh.

Best used for: Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking; good for freezing

Special hint: Good for kabobs, fruit plates and garnishes because they don’t turn brown quickly when cut.

IDARED

Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Characteristics: Sweetly tart; juicy; firm, pale, yellow-green flesh, sometimes tinted rosy pink

Best used for: Sauces, cooking, baking and pies; good for eating, salads and freezing

Special hint: Idareds make a beautifully colored applesauce. Cook the apples with the skins on and strain the sauce to get the best pink color.

MCINTOSH

Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Characteristics: Sweet, with a tart tang; very juicy; tender, white flesh.

Best used for: Excellent for eating and sauces; good for salads and pies.

Special hint: McIntosh’s tender flesh cooks down quickly. Add a thickener if making a pie.

GALA

Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Characteristics: Mild sweet flavor; juicy; crisp, creamy yellow flesh

Best used for: Eating and salads

Special hint: Size, mellow flavor and thin skin make them a perfect choice for lunches and snacks for kids.

MACOUN

Brattleboro Reformer File Photo

Characteristics: Extra sweet and aromatic; very juicy; tender, snow-white flesh

Best used for: Excellent for eating; good for sauces and salads

Special hint: Try serving Macoun slices with cheese for a sophisticated dessert in the fall.

ROXBURY RUSSET

Brattleboro Reformer File Photo

Characteristics: Firm, yet tender, flesh; some tartness; fundamentally sweet; white to greenish to greenish-yellow flesh.

Best used for: Excellent for juice and hard cider; good for eating and cooking.

Special hint: Keeps for six months in proper storage.

(These heritage apples, introduced to America in the mid-1600s, can be found at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vt.)

Sources: nyapplecountry.com; extension.illinois.edu

Maggie Button is the associate features editor at the Berkshire Eagle and pens the biweekly food column “Kitchen Comfort.” Prior to joining The Eagle in 2014, she served as the city editor of the North Adams Transcript for 26 years. She resides in North Adams with her yellow lab, Sassy.


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