[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples - substitutions for

Holly Stockley hollyvandenberg at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 29 08:17:12 PDT 2008

> > No, I don't think that is typical. Perhaps because you live in or > near an apple growing area? Even in the specialty groceries I'm only > likely to see 20 or so. But central Ansteorra (central Texas) is not > really apple country.
*g*  I live in an area of Western Michigan termed the "Fruit Ridge."  The microclimate here is ideal for orchards and blueberries.  But it's small enough that BIG commercial ventures aren't really feasible.  So the target market tends to be more local and Chicago.  Hence, more varietals> > Some of your vocabulary has me a bit confused. What do yo mean by > "sports" and "terrior"?
A "sport" begins as a genetically mutated branch on a tree.  The fruit of the mutated branch is often similar but with enough distinction to warrant propagating in its own right.  Red Rome, for instance, is a sport of Rome Beauty, and Royal Gala is a sport of Gala.
"terroir" is essentially "flavor of the Earth."  It refers to the nuances of flavor in a fruit specific to the place it's grown.  Mostly used for wine, but true of other fruits as well.> Do you mean that the crab apples and the dessert apples today are > crosses within each type? Or that New World crab apples and sold > world dessert apples have been crossed to produce most of the common > apples today?
Any seeds planted in this country from the first trees planted here would have been hybrids either of old world varieties with each other or with native crabs.  It's the nature of the apple.  And Johnny Appleseed did just that.  The best seedlings tended to then be grafted and cultivated.  And lots of the others just went into cider.> This list may be too detailed for me, right now unless I can find > those specific varieties. Which ones of these are eating apples? > Which are best for cider? Which are better in pies and such? I can > make some guesses from your descriptions, though.
All of those I listed are decent eating and cooking apples, for the most part.  I don't usually bake with winesaps, but you could.  
I didn't even get INTO cider apples, which are a whole 'nother ball of wax.  A good cider fresh or hard)  is a blend of apples.  You can buy Honeycrisp cider around here, but I can't imagine why you'd want to.  Bleh.  You need four characteristics:  Sweet, sharp, bitter, and aroma.  (Though the last is often satisfied by one of the varieties used for the first three.).  I refer you to a better description of the concept here:
If you're interested in making some, you might try some of the commercial varieties first.  I have a few favorites:
And, if you can find it, my personal favorite, K draft Cider:
 > I'm assuming that "decent doppleganger" means a good substitution?
Yep.> Yes. And I suspect most of the apples sold in my stores are likely > chosen because they are better eaten fresh, or perhaps in pies, > although that usage may be falling as well. I've had abysmal luck > making cider when I tried using fresh apples or even apple juice, but > what were the good cider apple varieties in period or even today?
See above, Greenmantle Nursery's site.  Off the cuff I'd guess your attempts had way too much sugar and too little malic acid to be palatable.> Maybe someone could do this at Pennsic? One of the last times I was > at Pennsic, maybe it was after Jadwiga's mustard class, I remember > being part of an impromptu Sekanjabin tasting at a nearby camp. It > was amazing the variation you could get from one recipe depending > upon the varieties of vinegar and sugar and mint used.
Pennsic is probaby the worst time of the year for doing this.  The period apples wouldn't have ripened yet.  And you're not likely to find any that have been stored that long.  Many of them don't store well to start with.  Plus, many apple varieties change their flavor and texture distinctly when stored.  Sometimes this is bad, sometimes it's an improvement.
Gulf War might be timed a BIT better.  I don't have my act together enough for the MK Cook's symposium.  Sorry :-(

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