I have to admit, it’s been a tough week, food-wise. Two days after returning from vacation, I came down with a horrid stomach virus.
Nothing like a day on watered-down Gatorade to make one appreciate how wonderful the simple things can taste.
That first, clean, bright taste of applesauce on Wednesday evening after coughing up the contents of my stomach not once, but twice that morning and then taking 5 hours to drink a single 16 ounce glass of water was pure Nirvana (the spiritual plane, not the band).
Pure, unadulterated cooked-down apples. No sugar, no ascorbic acid to help it retain its color. Just apples.
Have you ever taken one of those single-serving plastic cups of applesauce and put it in the freezer? Then you take it out once it’s frozen and scrape the top with a spoon so you get something like an apple-y sno-cone. I used to love doing that when I was a kid. Well, really a teenager and 20-something. I don’t think they had those little plastic cups of applesauce when I was a kid. Someone out there who knows my age correct me if I’m wrong. ;o)
Come to think of is, the apple is probably my favorite fruit to just eat. I grew up eating apples when all you could reliably get were Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. But back then, the Red Delicious were pretty good. We’d buy them in five pound bags and they’d be gone within the week. The apples were small and sweet and juicy almost all the time. Every once in a while you’d get a mealy one.
But as I got older, the Delicious apples started getting bigger and less yummy. They were almost always mealy, not the tasty little gems I’d grown up eating.
Mom and Dad would sometimes get Braeburns or McIntoshes (as opposed to mackintoshes). They’d talk about Gravensteins or Winesaps or Jonathans or Pippins.
I’m pretty sure that Dad would make applesauce from McIntoshes. Maybe Jonathans. Not sure what he put in apple pies before Granny Smiths came around.
I fell hard for the Granny Smith apple in my teens. It was always crisp, fabulously tart, gorgeously juicy. I loved them. But then they started to come up dry and flat-tasting. They, too, got larger and more mealy.
Nowadays it seems like new varieties come around all the time. Now there’s Fujis (which, granted, have been around for quite a while), Galas (okay, they’ve been around a while, too), Pink Ladys and Honeycrisps. So many wonderful eating apples, I can hardly count them all.
My current favorites have to be the Honeycrisps. The flavor is delicate, sweet and tart at the same time, beautifully crisp and juicy.
I know someday I will have a Honeycrisp apple that is past its prime, that has grown too big and gone mealy, and I will fall out of love again.
But for now, they are, to me, the best eating apple there is.
Apparently it’s too watery for applesauce, so maybe I’ll grab some in-season Galas this Fall and make some then. Mmmm...stay tuned....