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Picking a good apple
From eNews, October 23, 2008
Apple tastings are all in a day's work for Horticultural Research Center scientist David Bedford, who estimates he bites into as many as 600 apples a day. He shares a few pointers on how to evaluate apples and "pare" the great from the so-so.
Look for a healthy red hue. But more importantly, check the background color. "The background color should be turning from pale green to yellow," says Bedford. "The more yellow the background color is, the riper the apple."
The preferable texture is hard and crisp. There should be a noticeable "crunch" when you bite into the apple. All apples tend to get "mealy" and soft eventually, but the better apples retain their crispness much longer.
Apple tasting event
This weekend (October 25-26), the Arboretum is hosting an apple tasting from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Oswald Visitor Center. You will be invited to share your apple evaluations on comment cards. Free with gate admission. Master Gardeners will conduct the tastings.
The best apples contain a high level of sweetness balanced with a high level of tartness. This combination of natural sugar and acid makes the flavor much more interesting. "A too-sweet flavor is insipid, boring and bland. It makes the apple taste like Kool-Aid," says Bedford.
Apples are now in great supply and available for purchase the at the Arboretum's Apple House, located one mile west of the Arboretum at the corner of State Hwy. 5 and Rolling Acres Road.
The Apple House is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and selections include old-time favorites and popular varieties that were developed by the University. (Call 952-443-1409 to find out what varieties are available.) Proceeds from sales are used to support fruit and vegetable research at the Horticultural Research Center.