Review: Apple, McIntosh

David Braue
1 April, 2009
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We’ve tasted a few different types of apples in our time, so we can say authoritatively that the McIntosh is among the tastiest cultivars you’re likely to come across.

The McIntosh, of course, is an apple cultivar with red and green skin, a tart flavor, and tender white flesh. It becomes ripe in late September. It is traditionally the most popular cultivar in New England, well known for the pink sauce unpeeled McIntoshes make. Many consider it a superior eating apple and well suited for applesauce, cider, and pies. It is extremely common to find this particular cultivar packed in children’s lunches owing to its small to medium size and longstanding reputation as a healthy snack.

What you may not know is that every McIntosh apple has a direct lineage to a single tree discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Dundela, a hamlet near Morrisburg, in Dundas County in the Canadian province of Ontario. Offspring of the Mac include the firmer Macoun (a Jersey Black cross), Spartan (recorded as a Newtown Pippin cross), Cortland, Empire, Jonamac, maybe Paula Red, Jersey Mac, and others.

This particular McIntosh apple came from a local shop, where we carefully looked for one with an even colouring, no brown spots or apparent disease. Rushing back to the taste-test laboratories, we carefully cut the apple in half, exposing its perfectly formed core and small black seeds.

To provide adequate point of comparison, we peeled one half of the apple but left the skin on the second. We then cut the apple into eighths, and smeared peanut butter onto one peeled and one unpeeled apple slice to provide yet another point of comparison.

The results were unequivocally tasty. The apple, McIntosh tasted juicy yet crisp and was filled with flavour. The pieces with skin were quite tasty, and while the skin seemed to add a subtle undertone to the overall experience, the pieces without skin were equally delicious. Peanut butter added an extra dimension to the flavour, but is not necessary and is most definitely contraindicated in those with peanut allergies. If you fall into this category, stick to the McIntosh just as Nature intended.

Macworld buying advice. If you’re in the mood for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, you can do much worse than to throw out that candy bar and bite into a McIntosh apple instead. If you’re not into tart, crunchy snacks, have a banana instead. And if you’re looking for a variety to bake in pies, you may want to consider a slightly sweeter variety, such as Red Delicious.

Vendor Your local fruit market
Cons Not the best choice for baking in pies
Pros Crispy, juicy, slightly tart, tasty skin
Rating 4.5
Product Apple, McIntosh
Price Approximately $0.40

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