Fruit spotlight: apples


Photo Courtesy of Alan Nguyen

Every Saturday on Murphy Avenue, a farmer’s market is open from 9 a.m – 1 p.m. Located just in front of the parking lot facing the Goodwill is the stand for Prevedelli Farms, a local farm based in Watsonville that grows organic apples and tomatoes. Prevedelli Farms sells over 12 types of apples, so it can be overwhelming for consumers to choose which ones they want to buy. This list will help people pin down the best in-season fall apples.

Mutsu apples, also known as Crispin apples, were introduced in Japan in 1948. They have distinctive green skin with small patches of russeting (brown sections that are rough) and they are the largest apples available on the stand. When bitten into, their green flesh is sweet, slightly tart, floral and almost minty in the first few bites of the skin. The texture of a Mutsu apple is smooth and crunchy, and when chewed on, does not become a mealy pulp quickly. It can be enjoyed raw, though the apple is great for cooking, with its slices retaining firmness and shape throughout the baking process.

Crimson Crisp apples were discovered and bred for their resistance to disease and apple scabs — a prevalent fungus infecting apples across the east coast — in 1972. They sport attractive rouge-colored skin with little to no patches of russeting and they are so small that they easily fit in the palm of one’s hand. Eaten raw, a Crimson Crisp has a sharp, sweet flavor that dissipates quickly, so it ends up being fairly basic flavor-wise. The texture is the highlight of the apple: the creamy white flesh has an excellent crisp to it, thus the name. The smooth flesh is dense and chews cleanly. While the Crimson Crisp can be cooked, the flavor after cooking is mediocre at best. 

Golden Delicious apples were discovered in West Virginia in 1905, where they were then advertised as a companion to the Red Delicious breed of apples. It has a distinct, greenish-yellow tint and is easily prone to bruising and russeting; almost every Golden Delicious will have a noticeable brown mark. When eating, its yellow flesh has a pronounced sweetness with no hints of tartness. But, its taste is not pure sugar; the flavor has a floral sweetness with citric notes. While the flavor only becomes more exquisite as one chews, the texture disappoints, with the flesh being dense and grainy and turning into pulp quickly. The apple is unsavory for cooking, its structure collapses after the process of baking, with not even its flavor being preserved. This mediocre apple is best consumed raw.

Of this list, Golden Delicious is the worst of the bunch, with Crimson Crisp being better than it by miles. But, if you were to get one type of apple, I would recommend the Mutsu apple, with its texture, versatility in the kitchen and complex flavors, these well-rounded aspects of the apple beat out the rest.