Monday, August 14, 2017

How to choose a good apple (even Red Delicious!)

Choosing good apples when you're shopping is a challenge. Just from looking at an apple, you don't know if it's going to be crisp, crunchy, juicy, and flavorful, or if it's going to be mealy, dry, and flavorless. This post is about how you can choose good apples easily. You can even use this trick to find Red Delicious apples you'd wanna eat! (Yeah, I know; they're usually fit for applesauce at best, but really!)

What you do: You're going to use your middle finger and your thumb and make a flicking motion like you're flicking a large crumb off a table. Holding the apple between the thumb and middle finger of your other hand, gently flick the apple with your fingernail. (There's no need to do it hard; you'll bruise the apple. Just enough to make the apple ping a little.) The apple's going to make a noise, a musical note if you like. The riper and juicier and crisper the apple is, the higher and clearer the note. If the apple makes a sort of dull "thwock" or "thunk," it's going to be mealy.

You want to select apples that are of a roughly equal ripeness (based on how they look): apples that are unripe are going to make a substantially different noise compared to apples that are ripe. Also consider that some apples that are getting a little older, ones where the skin may even be a bit loose or wizened, may still be very edible indeed, even though they don't make the same high note. (You may notice a difference in clarity of the note they make, though.)

This will take a little experimenting to get the rhythm, but it's not Big Science, so it won't take you long at all. When I am selecting apples at the store, I usually have two or three in hand that have the highest notes, replacing with apples with higher notes as I go, until I get the feeling for what the highest note I'm going to get from that bin is, then I start bagging them. And yes, I get very good apples this way.