When I see a red delicious, the iconic apple of school lunches and cafeterias, I cringe a little thinking of how bland and mealy they taste. Sure, they are a deep, rich red. Sure, they have been buffed and waxed to shine in the fluorescent lights. But looks ain’t everything.
It seems that, as I explore the realms of real food, local food, and heirloom varieties, I discover more and more that the ugly foods taste the best. My favorite tomatoes look like Frankenstein stitched them together. Greens can taste terrific when they appear to be wilted. Melons and other fruits often taste te best when they are at their ripest and easily bruised.
This week on the farm we chose apples from a crate of Jonagolds covered in ugly black spots. Terry explained in her email about the share food this week that there were “lots of scab this year because of the rainy spring. That is the main reason there are few apple orchards on this side of the mountain!”
But you know what? I rinsed off my apples. Took a crisp bite. And – mmmm – they are good. Chopped some up and cooked them on the stove, and they made the prettiest applesauce I’ve had in a while.
Sure, sometimes food that looks bad is bad. You can typically use your nose to tell the difference: if the food smells rancid, toss it. If it smells sweet or appetizing, it’s probably right where you want it. Well, technically you’d want it in your mouth, but you get the picture.
Applesauce is easy to make, by the way. Just slice your apples and remove the core. I prefer to keep the skins on, but it’s more common to remove them. Thin slices will help it cook down faster. Put in a small pot with a tiny amount of water, and turn on high temperature. Make sure to keep the lid on the pot sealed. If the moisture goes down, add a little water (you don’t want to ruin the bottom of your pot). Monitor the apples and let them cook down for about 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed. The apples are ready when you can mash them up with a spoon into sauce.
WEEK 18 – First week of the Fall Share
We decided to not sign up for the egg share this fall, hence no eggs in the picture.
(Starting from the top and going clockwise)
Head of Garlic
Head of Cabbage
Lots of Purple Potatoes (I think it was 2 lbs worth)
(In the Middle)
8 Jonagold Apples
So jealous! Alex looooves apples, particularly cooked dessert-like apples. I definitely agree that Red Delicious are pretty but don’t win at taste. Alex experimented a while back and brought home lots of different things, and our favorite is Pink Lady. It’s crisp and sweet and not the least bit mealy. ^_^
What do you do with fennel? I always see it in the produce aisle, between the leeks and the bok choy, but I don’t even know what it tastes like!
i so agree – butterpoweredbike wrote a great post on gleaning ugly fruit you might want to read.
I hope my kids learn that ugly fruit and veggies are often the best – especially if we get them from a local farmer who grows them right!
Beth: I love Pink Lady apples. Another favorite of mine is Honey Crisp. Jenna: Fennel tastes like licorice. Check out allrecipes.com for ideas. Christy: Thanks for the link!
Jenna: I made a stew this week with fennel, and it added good flavor. Stew contained: beef chunks, beef stock, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, turnips, salt, pepper.