When Exactly: Wednesday Nov. 12 - 6 pm
Purchased From: Tree-Licious Orchards - Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (Brooklyn, NY)
Color: I don’t know, I’m colorblind.
Eaten How: with Once Again Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter.
The Bob Dylan of apples.
I know this is a hefty claim, but I think I’m prepared to back it up. The Winesap cultivar reinvents itself with every apple, endlessly pushing its own creativity, creating new personae and building new avenues for self-expression. Each apple bares a few core attributes that unite them as Winesaps (no core pun intended), but those attributes are only used as springboards, used by the apples to careen out in unforged, brilliant directions. So, come on; it’s the Bob Dylan of apples! Who’s with me!?
Seriously, no core pun intended.
The innovation was present from the first bite. This Winesap’s texture went beyond the usual Granny-like crunch; it snapped like a jicama and gave up juice like it was… free juice day… at the apple factory? Sure, why not. As with every Winesap, there was a terrific sweet/sour balance, but all the flavor notes fell within one surprising category: grape. It’s something I’ve never tasted in a Winesap before. And so, another Winesap pioneer was born. And immediately eaten by me.
In particular, the apple’s flavors and light acidity matched those of a standard American white grape (or green, depending on your grocery store’s labeling). I like my grapes on the crunchy side, so having a big, snappy texture on this apple really drove the grape idea home for me. The flavors could have been a bit bolder, but the ideas were there.
Of course, this was all pre-PB. Grape flavors are obviously popular in PBJs so it was inevitable that a classic feel would be conjured from today’s apple/PB combination. But I must say, grape jelly is my least favorite jelly out there, especially in PBJs. Give me apricot or give me rhubarb or give me death (death, surprisingly good in a PBJ). My usual problem with grape jellies is that they are made cloyingly sweet by the addition of sugar to an already sweet fruit. Very dark grapes, like concords, are often too sweet on their own for my liking. So even though grape/PB is a classic, that didn’t mean I would like it.
But the combination really came off well, much better than I’d hoped. The dark, lightly salty Once Again PB coaxed out some deeper grape flavor from the Winesap without bringing the extra sugar that turns me off from softer, darker grapes. Grapes that are used for jelly also lack a sufficient acidity most of the time, but this apple’s pleasant white-grape-y tang was strong enough to cut through the PB, creating a more balanced grape/PB combo than I’ve ever experienced in sandwich form.
White grapes aren’t generally jellied because their light flavors can’t hold up in the cooking/sugaring process, so eating this apple/PB combo was like having an impossible white grape PBJ. Neat! As far as PBJs go, I’d still prefer apricot or rhubarb or death, but this was an extremely neat trick. Another unexpected but rewarding turn from the Dylan of apples.