It’s hard to believe that we are more than half-way through apple picking season. Don’t fret though, there are still some wonderful apples coming into their peak season; we wanted to share a bit of information on Cortland, Empire & Jonathan Apples.
When it comes to being a popular apple, Cortland ranks right up there with the best of them; it is among the top 15 most popular apples in the United States. Cortland apples are a cultivar of apple and were first produced at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York in 1898. Cortland apples were named for the nearby Cortland County, New York, and are one of the most commonly produced apples in the state of New York.
It’s easy to understand why a lot of people could confuse this apple with the McIntosh, because Cortland is actually a cross between a McIntosh apple and a Ben Davis apple. The Cortland apple is bright red, with a crisp white flesh that is incredibly juicy with a sweet-tart flavor.
Like the McIntosh, the Cortland is a soft apple, though not quite as soft as a McIntosh; however unlike the McIntosh, the Cortland apple can be used in many ways, from eating, baking, to cooking.
Additionally, the Cortland apple is extremely slow to brown when it is cut, making it another great apple for recipes that call for fresh apples, (think fruit salads or fruit kabobs)
As with all McIntosh varieties, Cortland is at its best when eaten soon after being picked. The sweet-tart flavor will fade quickly, as will its crispness.
If you are looking for the quintessential red apple, that is perfect to go in the kid’s lunch boxes, as well as on the teacher’s desk, then the Empire apple is the apple you are looking for, if for no other reason than the fact that this is an apple that doesn’t bruise easily.
The Empire apple made its debut at Cornell University in the 1940’s, but were not introduced to the public until 1966. The parents of the Empire apple are the Red Delicious and the McIntosh, which is where it gets it beautiful red color from. The apple was called Empire to pay homage to the state they were created in.
When it comes to taste, you will find the Empire is a sweet apple with a crisp, crunchy taste, and a bright white flesh. Like the Cortland apple above, the Empire apple is another perennial favorite of apple lovers across the nation.
You can roast, bake, or sauté or even dry an Empire Apple. Additionally, because of their crisp texture, they make a great apple for salads. If you choose to use them in a salad, they will stay white longer if you put them in a bowl of water containing two tablespoons of lemon juice first.
The Jonathan apple is an heirloom apple that used to be extremely popular but lost some of its popularity due to all the newer varieties of apples that began to appear on the scene. However, the good news is that heirloom apples are becoming popular all over again, and the Jonathan apple is once again becoming a fall favorite.
Did you know that the Jonathan apple is actually a parent to many varieties of apples, including; Jonamac, Jonafree, and Jonagold?
The Jonathan apple is a medium size apple, that has a thin red skin, with a sweet taste that can often have a tart tang to it. The Jonathan apple is a wonderful apple for fresh eating but also makes for a great freezing as well as cooking apple.
Because the flesh of the apple may break down a bit during cooking, you can pair the Jonathan with other more dense apples such as the Granny Smith, or Fuji for your pie fillings. The Jonathan apple is also a very juicy apple, making this variety of apple the perfect choice for juice and cider.
If you plan on storing the Jonathan apple, you can typically store it for about 3-6 months in the refrigerator.
Did You Know Fact?
Most of the apples we discussed in this blog post contain Vitamins A and C as well trace amounts of folate. They are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which has been shown to help prevent heart disease and promote healthy digestion. Apples also contain potassium, which may reduce the chances of a stroke, and a trace amount of boron, believed to build bones and to increase mental vitality.