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Distracted Dining: Apples, apples, apples and more apples

In this column, Nancy gets distracted by the plethora of apple choices
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I went to the grocery store intentionally to buy apples and came home empty-handed. Finding the apples was easy - being overwhelmed by the plethora of apple choices is something I did not anticipate. There I stood, gobsmacked in the middle of the fruit aisle; mouth agape; shaking my head in bewilderment as I scanned the over abundance of apple produce. I literally had to leave to go home and research what kind of apple I wanted. Once I started looking things up, there is pretty much a different variety or two or three of apples for eating vs cooking vs canning vs baking. Who knew?

Right now, there are approximately 7,000 varieties of apples in the world. There’s probably more being created as I type. 7,000. That means if you consumed a different apple every day it would take you nearly 20 years to eat through the entire spectrum.

I discovered the first type of apple grown in Canada was produced by a man named John McIntosh. Can you guess the apple? In 1796, John McIntosh settled on land near the town of Iroquois on the St. Lawrence River. While clearing the land, he discovered little seedlings, strong and youthful. He recognized them as apple seedlings in the Canadian bush. The rest, as they say, is history. Today the McIntosh is produced in greater quantities than any other apple in Canada.

I’ve heard of Johnny Appleseed, but not John McIntosh. What a great bit of Canadian history. There is much in that name.

Apple. Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak wanted a fresh, non-traditional name for their new personal computer. Jobs was an advocate of natural foods. In 1976, the company ‘Apple’ was harvested. Subsequent to that, in 1981, Jef Raskin who worked for Apple, got permission to build his own dream computer. It was to be inexpensive, portable and as easy to use an appliance. This computer was introduced in January 1984. He called it Macintosh - after his favourite kind of apple. We’ll forgive the spelling as the short-form Mac is stellar.

While I never connected the computers Apple and McIntosh to the apple industry, it’s an interesting ‘core’-relation.

So...how the heck do you pick the right apple? Typically, the most common varieties are on the shelves, including Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and McIntosh to name a few.

Here are a few of my favourites for you to assist you in the search for the apple of your dreams. These definitions are courtesy of bestapples.com

Red Delicious - crunchy and mildly sweet

Meet the world’s favourite snacking apple. The heart-shaped Red Delicious features a bright red and sometimes striped skin. Renowned for its crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor, this tasty apple shines in cool, crisp salads.

Gala - crisp and very sweet

You’ll go gaga for Gala! This crisp, aromatically-sweet apple features pink-orange stripes atop a pretty yellow background. Delicious in salads, pies, and sauces, the Gala’s popularity is on the rise around the world.

Granny Smith - crunchy and tart

Tempt your taste buds with tart Granny Smith apples! Known for its delicious tart flavor and pleasing crunch, the Granny Smith apple’s popularity comes as no surprise. What’s more, it’s a go-to apple variety for snacking and is a favourite of pie bakers. Granny Smiths are great in all kinds of recipes, such as salads, sauces, baking, freezing, and more.

Honey Crisp - crisp and distinctly sweet

The Honeycrisp apple’s name says it all! Pleasantly crisp, sweet and juicy, this popular apple features a beautiful bright red skin mottled with pale green. Its complex flavour is subtly tart, and is a versatile ingredient for recipes ranging from sweet to savory. As a snack, Honeycrisp apples burst with juice with every bite, and they are also a delicious addition to salads, pies, sauces, and baked goods.

Golden Delicious - crisp and sweet

The Golden Delicious is a perfect pick for any recipe. Sweet and mellow, this crisp apple has a tender golden skin, and its flesh stays white after slicing for longer than other apple varieties. Reach for a Golden Delicious as an all-purpose apple for snacking, salads, baking, freezing, sauces, and more.

I feel I must include the attributes of the McIntosh as it is the national apple of Canada for obvious reasons.

McIntosh - tart and tender

The fruit has red and green skin, a tart flavour and tender white flesh. It is considered an all-purpose apple, suitable for both cooking and eating raw.

You can find that perfect apple. The trick is to do a little preliminary research so as not to be appled-over in the grocery store. It’s fall - apple season. Thanksgiving is here. Enjoy your favourite apple - crunched; canned or cooked - thank you very much!

Me? I’m off to get a variety of the ‘king of fruit’ to make dutch apple pies for the family gathering on Sunday. YUMMO!

Nancy Revie is a Guelph author, motivational speaker, fitness instructor and entertainer. Visit Nancy at www.nancyrevie.com. Her column appears every other week.