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Summer Apples
The apples are in: Lobos, Melbas, Jerseymacs and Paulareds. “These are summer apples,” a worker at Alain Dauphinais’ Atwater Market stand explained to me. “Not for baking, not for cooking, just eat them.” So, in the interests of science I bought three or four of each. The colours are gorgeous. They range from the dark red of the winy tasting Paulareds (pronounce this as if it was a girl’s name and hair colour) to the faint blush of a peach on the Melbas.

I figured there would be a lot of difference in them so we conducted a little experiment, taking small slices of each and then nibbling away at these. “What do you think of the aroma, the taste, the texture,” I asked our assembled crew of experts Sarah and Leora. Now, Sarah and Leora are not experts in apples. They are experts at being preteens. “Hmm , not bad, ok, yeah whatever.” The Melbas were a little sweeter and the girls liked them the best. The others seemed indistinct.

I picked apart the flavours trying to find some real difference. Not much. I put them in paper bags and hoped they would develop a stronger flavour. Then, the other day, I simply grabbed a big red Lobo as I hustled to the car. I took a thick bite as the juice dribble off my lip. Hey. This is great.

But the flavour hadn’t changed very much. It was still mild. Not as tart as a fall Macintosh or as sweet as a Melba when it is really ripe. It just tasted good. “These are eating apples,” as I had been told.

Warm days, cool nights, a hint of fall in the air but we aren’t quite ready to give up on summer. These apples could age longer and would be more flavourful, but they are great for eating now. They are prime for munching, for savoring the luscious crunch of taunt red skin and firm white flesh. To let the juice and mash fill the mouth. A more patient person would probably let them ripen a little more. But I ‘m enjoying the flavour of the new. These apples hint at a stronger flavour. A promise of the harvest yet to come.

© Barry Lazar 2000 Email Flavourguy

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