Ostensibly, fall is upon us here in northwest Louisiana. You wouldn’t know it by going outside, but small changes are everywhere. Maybe your glasses don’t fog up when you leave the house in the morning. Maybe the neighbors have that tasteless inflatable black cat in their yard already (or maybe you’re the tasteless neighbor). Whether we like it or not, the tomatoes in the grocery store are growing wan and pasty, strawberries are losing their luster, and people who didn’t even attend LSU are donning their purple and gold.
At any rate, there’s a special treat that I look forward to each autumn, and I want to share it with you. Honeycrisp apples started popping up nationwide several years ago. They make their seasonal debut sometime in September, and often stick around until January. Spring and summer are long and lonely, as no other apples will do; nor should they. Honeycrisps will completely shift your apple worldview, and, chances are, they’re available in your neighborhood grocer at this very moment.
Honeycrisps hail from Minnesota, like most good things: Post-It Notes, Target, and Bob Dylan, for instance. They were developed at the University of Minnesota by a group of benevolent biologists who sought to make the world a tiny bit better by introducing what is quite possibly the tastiest commercially available fresh-eating apple in the country.
Honeycrisp’s family tree is a delicious tangle of Macoun, Golden Delicious, and Honeygold varieties, and the taste is uniquely light, with a muted tartness that swims underneath dazzling sweetness. Its finish is clean and brisk, like an early fall stroll through downtown St. Paul. Unmatched in crispness, a toothy break into Honeycrisp’s yielding flesh is more of a satisfying “crack” than a crunch.
Kroger on Youree Drive (location of last week’s unfortunate red rears incident) carries big, robust Washington-grown Honeycrisps, while the Barksdale AFB commissary offers smaller, smoother New York Honeycrisps.
So, if you’re aching to hear autumn’s bittersweet ballad despite the uncooperative weather, crank the AC down to the 60s, grab a Honeycrisp from the fridge, and hold fall in the palm of your hand.