Fall Fun: Apples to Apples
Here in Minnesota, we strongly associate autumn with apples. When we saw that Mpls.St.Paul Magazine posted a ranking of apples developed by the University of Minnesota, we knew we had to give apple tasting a try. We decided to go big and try all ten varieties of apples available at our local Lunds & Byerlys. We each scored every apple on a scale of one to ten (with ten being the best), and then we averaged those scores to get our overall ranking. We did not reveal the type of apple the sample was until the tasting was over. And like Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, we were surprised to find that Honeycrisp wasn’t in our top spot!
Here's the final verdict –
1. Fuji Average score: 8.75 The Fuji apple was described as “crisp and sweet,” and had high scores across the board. 2. Honeycrisp
Average score: 8.5
Honeycrisp may not have ranked number one, but it wasn’t far behind! This apple was described as having a crispy bite and a tart flavor that were so familiar that a team member instantly said, “I’m willing to bet that’s Honeycrisp!”
Average score: 7.5
The flavor of SweeTango® made three Lilja team members increase their scores after the first bite. “Crunchy, snappy and tart,” this apple’s scores ranged from five to ten.
4. Pink Lady
Average score: 6.5
The Pink Lady was described as a little soft, but very sweet. The team was a little divided on whether it was the perfect sweetness or a little too sweet.
Average score: 6
Another sweet contender was the Gala apple. The sweet flavor was right on, but the texture was a little too soft for us.
6-7. Granny Smith and Rave® Average score: 5.5
There had to be one tie, and it was between the Granny Smith and Rave apples. Our Granny Smith apple was, as expected, very tart with a firm bite and had scores ranging between one and nine. The Rave® apple was described as having a good snap and a tart taste. We all agreed that it reminded us of a “perfume-y scent.” This apple had scores ranging between one and eight.
8. Golden Delicious Average score: 2.25
It’s safe to say that the “delicious” varieties of apples are not favorites of the Lilja team. Golden Delicious sparked comments like “gritty” and “weak flavor.”
9. Red Delicious
Average score: 1.75 Red Delicious managed to bring in scores even lower than Golden Delicious. With its “tough skin” and “Styrofoam-like flesh,” the taste brought back unpleasant memories of eating these apples as kids – and hating them – for all of the Lilja team.
Average score: 1 We had all heard of Zestar!® apples and were excited to try one. Unfortunately, we think we stumbled into a bad batch of these. They were squishy, gritty and had no flavor at all. One team member noted that “it doesn’t taste like an apple at all” and another asked if we could give it a score of zero.
According to the University of Minnesota, this apple ripens in late August to early September, so maybe we missed the window for Zestar!®. We’ll have to give it a try again next year ... earlier in the year.
After we had tried all of the apples and revealed which was which, we broke out a shaker of pumpkin pie seasoning and dusted the top of a few apples each. A wonderful recommendation from Mary Lilja herself, it makes for a fun snack! We set our leftover apples slices outside for the local wildlife to munch on, and we came into the office the next morning to find all of them taken – the slices must have been a big hit!