Heirloom apples for lunch boxes, pre-game snacks, or after-school treats? Yes! These two varieties are my best picks for early-season apples I would offer to a young eater.
On the subject of kids and heirloom (or unfamiliar) varieties: Last winter, we made gallons of homemade heirloom apple sauce (to be covered soon!). We busted out one of those batches for a family Hanukkah gathering, and were told that the youth in attendance wouldn’t like it– bits of skin! Different colors! It was one of my greatest heirloom satisfactions yet to report that those kids devoured that sauce, and asked for more. So, read on:
Frostbite was a winner right out of the gate in this household. Crisp, smaller-sized, with a clear, sweet tanginess. There’s something about the idea of winter ice in this apple– it’s a very clean and refreshing type of sweet. Like the Tydeman’s Early Worcester, the Frostbite has also fared extremely well in the ‘lazy storage’ category, and appears to have lost none of its crispness while languishing on my table.
Frostbite is another “new” one by University of Minnesota; developed in the 1920s, but not released until 2008. It’s a granddaddy of Honeycrisp. The apple’s small size and delightful flavor would make this a great choice for younger eaters. Elsa would totally eat this apple.
This was really the week for Apples the Children Will Adore. If there was an apple from Alice’s Wonderland, this certainly was it; the inside of the apple has bright magenta streaks, as though caught in the crossfire of red paint on white roses. Depending on location and harvest, it can display completely magenta-pink flesh.The thin skin is golden, with a lovely pink pearlescence; this apple is aptly named.
The texture is extremely tender, more along the lines of a Golden Delicious– again, perfect for younger eaters, or for anyone dentally or orthodontically compromised. Flavor-wise, it’s sweet and pleasant eating, like a Golden Delicious with more kick. I wouldn’t compose an entire pie of it; I can’t imagine the texture would hold up, but one or two of these apples added to a pie or sauce would do spectacular things in the color department.
The Pink Pearl came to market in 1944, via Albert Etter, a fruit breeder of note from California. This is the first of his regular apple varieties I’ve tried, except for the Wickson Crab (not in season yet, but a favorite here, and sure to be covered later).
This week’s farmers markets are under way! One of these days I’ll post a list of which apple growers are at each market, but until then, the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets posts vendors for all of the markets on their page.