I recently held interviews for a new apple. Not the inedible kind that allows you to text, watch cute animal videos and download pirated music. I’m talking about a new apple I can eat. For snacks and stuff.
It occurred to me last year that I rarely eat apples anymore and I decided to change that. The problem was that I’d been out of the apple loop for decades and I had no idea what was hip and cool and “on trend” in this department. What were the cool kids eating, I wondered?
One fall day a couple of years ago I had my first Honeycrisp apple. Mind blown. That apple was the best I’ve ever had. It was sweet, yet tart, firm, and really juicy. The only drawback was the price. They are far more expensive than regular apples and you may have to re-mortgage your home to buy a bag, but they are worth it. The high price is because they are full of magic so you have to just suck it up. Magic isn’t free, you know.
So why am I still interviewing apples when I am clearly in love with Honeycrisps? It’s because I found Honeycrisp apples were great in the fall but by mid-winter, I wasn’t so enamored. It’s like dating. You go out with a guy and he’s all shiny, looks great, and he smells good in the early days. A few months later, he’s convinced you there are no other guys like him out there and he gets comfortable. Next thing you know, he’s living in his boxer shorts, drinking, lying to you, and planning your murder. You can see why I no longer date, right?
The Honeycrisp apple is like that. It is now my fall apple. The rest of the year I see other apples. The guy? He’s living somewhere else in his boxers, drinking, thinking up new lies, and probably planning someone else’s murder.
Last week a friend asked me to pick her up some apples. Red Prince, to be exact. She claimed they were better than Honeycrisp and insisted I had to try one. I was intrigued. So I had a blind date with an apple. More on that later.
My blind date with Mr. Prince got me thinking. Maybe I should play the... orchard... and see what other apples were out there. Was it possible that there was an even better apple out there for me?
I headed to my local grocery store and picked up six apples to interview. I purposefully didn’t choose Delicious or MacIntosh apples. Both were the main apples I ate as a kid and they are boring. We lost touch. We aren’t even friends on Facebook, although we sometimes run into each other in the produce aisle. Awkward.
These are the ones I interviewed. Back row, left to right - Honeycrisp, Red Prince, Empire. Front row, left to right - Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji.
After their photo shoot, a few random questions, and finally a sample of what they have to offer a girl, here are my findings, in no particular order:
This apple has a lot of sex appeal. As the name suggests, Gala is ready for a party.
Lovely skin, pretty coloring, firm to the touch. Its taste is sweet and mild, more reminiscent of a safe night at the orchestra rather than a wild night of rock-and-roll.
Gala likes walks on the beach at sunset, mingling, and promises to get you home by midnight.
This apple is round and sturdy and gives the impression it could easily rule the land. Sweet and flavorful, and very appley.
Although not as flashy as some apples, its skin has a lovely variation of color.
Empire enjoys being the boss and promises to protect you.
This is one sassy grandmother of an apple.
Granny Smith is tart, has lost her filters, enjoys nude bingo, and will run you over with her walker if you get in her way.
She is surprisingly firm for a granny.
You’re safe with this apple. Fuji is sweet and mild in taste and looks good in public.
A bit soft perhaps, but perfect for those who like to be in charge in an apple relationship.
Fuji travels well, has lofty aspirations and enjoys photography.
If you like big apples, this one is for you.
Red Prince is a vibrant red, firm and gigantic, towering over all the other apples in the bin, making them feel just slightly inferior.
This apple is both sweet and tart, suggesting a mysterious duality. Do you take this one home to meet the family or save it as your dirty little secret?
Mid-winter Honeycrisp has clearly been on a bender that ended in a bar fight. Gone is the sexy clothing of his youth. Mid-winter Honeycrisp is a hot mess.
I couldn’t taste test this one. I cut it open to find that it had rotted out. I pronounced it dead, performed last rites, and gave it a quick burial in my compost bin.
R.I.P., dear Honeycrisp. See you next fall.
It was hard to pick a winner. There are three standout apples for me.
Honeycrisp, although disappointing this time around because of its death and all, is still a seasonal favorite. I will have to enjoy a short, yet exciting, affair with Honeycrisp each fall.
Granny Smith is who I aspire to be when I get old. She’s got good taste for an old gal, she’s sassy as all get out, and you just know she will keep you entertained.
Red Prince is one impressive apple. It made my heart flutter. The only drawback for me is that it is massive. For my blind date, I tried eating one as I was driving between clients and barely managed to finish it. It would be fantastic on a long road trip to, say, California. You'll want to take your time with this apple. Red Prince does not rush. Much as I love Red Prince, it is a real commitment and has me worried for my freedom. Do I stay or do I go now?
Oh, who am I kidding? You know I will be spending some weekends with this one.