We are never short of delicious apples and pears here at Manhattan Fruitier, but the fall is when we receive crates of new-crop varieties straight from our favorite orchards.
Many apple and pear varieties have been in danger of extinction due to commercial growers seeking more durable types that can sustain long periods in cold storage. This has led to breeding apples that conform to the model of perfectly round, red and shiny, while casting away the knobby, oddly shaped russet types that are packed with brilliant flavor. Over time this has trained many people to eat with their eyes and not their mouths.
We are fortunate to have access to lesser known apple and pear varieties as a few dedicated farmers remain committed to growing these “forgotten fruits” and bringing them to market.
Here are some of the apples we will be featuring this Fall
The Zestar apple tastes sweet and tangy, with accents of brown sugar, and is known for its unique flavor. The apple is best used for fresh eating, and for use in a variety of baked goods, sauces, desserts, and salads.
Mollie’s Delicious has a subtle pinkish red skin and exceptionally pleasing taste. While Mollie’s Delicious has the distinct “bottom bumps” of a Red Delicious, it is not a Red Delicious sport. Rather, it is a cross between Gravenstein and Golden Delicious bloodlines.
The Blondee is a sweet, cheerful early apple with an alluring fragrance. Great for eating out of hand or cooking. It was discovered growing amongst an orchard of Gala apples. It ripens a few days before the Gala and is one of the only yellow apples available in the early weeks of apple season. Blondees have been described as the “yellow Galas.”
SHINGO ASIAN PEAR
Asian pears have been a staple in our gifts for years, but we’ve recently been swooning over a wonderful varietal grown in New Jersey (of all places). The Shingo pear, grown at Evergreen Farm, is the crispest, sweetest, most mouth-watering pear we have ever eaten. This exceptional Asian pear has pearly white flesh and is subtly sweet and fragrant, juicy and crisp to the bite. Best eaten cold, they explode with a refreshing burst in your mouth. In case you couldn’t tell, we adore this fruit!
The Black Oxford is small and quite dark, spattered with rust-colored speckles. The blush is a deep red with purple overtones, almost mahogany, sometimes described as having a blackish bloom. The apple is slightly ribbed and classically shaped, round to conical. Flavor is mild and sweet with a hint of sweet corn, vanilla, and the pure sweetness of cane sugar. The Black Oxford originates from Paris, Maine (Oxford County) about 1790.
The Blue Pearmain is an old New England favorite dating back to the 1700’s. No one knows where it originated, but ancient trees can still be found in the most rural areas of New England. It has a blue-purple color and the russet blaze around the stem. The medium to very large fruit is sweet with just a bit of tartness. The flesh is fairly dry, firm, dense and slightly crisp. It is tasty eaten out of hand although the skin is rather tough so you might want to peel it first. Blue Pearmain makes a good baked apple as its thick skin holds up perfectly
Esopus Spitzenburg originated in Esopus, Ulster County, NY, in the latter part of the 18th century and is reputed to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite dessert apple. He ordered 12 trees of the variety from William Prince’s Flushing, Long Island nursery in 1790 to plant at Monticello. “Spitz” is a large apple, oblong in shape, smooth-skinned and colored a lively, brilliant red, approaching scarlet. It is covered with small yellow specks. The yellow flesh is rich, juicy, and sprightly.
Orleans Reinette is an old-fashioned 18th century French apple with a reputation for good flavor. Over time it has been known by many different names, including Winter Ribston. These apples can be found growing in the cooler climate of England as well as Oregon in the United States, and can still be found growing in areas of France. Orleans Reinette apples are medium-sized, plump apples with yellowish-green skin, orange russet, and a red blush. The skin is a rough classic russet texture, and very crunchy. Flavor has hints of sweet oranges and a nutty finish. It goes well with buttery cheeses such as raw milk Swiss-style.