Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apple Taste Test + Baked Apples with Pumpkin Ice Cream

Kenneth and I finally found time to taste test all of those apples I bought a while ago!  I chopped each apple up and Kenneth took down notes on what we thought of them.  Turns out, I have two favorite apples (at least of the ten varieties we tried): Braeburn and Gala apples.  Kenneth also liked the Braeburn and Gala, but his favorite has been Honeycrisp for a long time.

These are the varieties we tasted today:
Golden Delicious
Granny Smith
Paula Red
Pink Lady
Red Delicious

I knew Kenneth and I could not eat ten apples together in one sitting and I didn't want to waste them so I baked the apples and we had them with pumpkin ice cream.  I followed a recipe for Baked Apples with Cinnamon from the PBS Fresh Tastes blog, I used pumpkin pie spice though instead of just cinnamon.  

The apples were ok, the ice cream was pretty good.  There's a reason you're supposed to use one or two kinds of apples in a recipe, and why some apples are meant for baking and others are meant for eating fresh or making cider (fun fact: the apple seeds John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, spread throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia were used to make cider, not to eat fresh or bake with)! 

Some of the apples were baked perfectly, others were still pretty firm and a few had turned to mush.  I'm sure if I had followed the recommendation in the recipe on what apples to use, it would've been amazing, but the main purpose of this activity was to determine what my favorite apples are to eat fresh.    

Our notes from the taste test... apparently I had a big toothy smile when sampling the Braeburn apple, according to my secretary/husband.

The apple taste test would be a fun activity for kids (which I don't have, but I work with kids and most of them love activities that involve eating!).  Kenneth and I had fun judging the apples on how tasty they are, if you did the taste test with enough kids (or adults!) you wouldn't have leftovers to deal with.  Hopefully our baked apples will soften a bit when we microwave the leftovers (ten apples cut up fill a 9x13 baking dish... we will be eating baked apples all week!). Let me know in the comments if you try a taste test at home and how it turned out!

To help me figure out which apples I should bake with in the future, I found some apple variety guides online:
Directory Apple Varieties from Orange Pippin
Cheat Sheet: Apple Variety Tasting Guide from HuffPost Taste
A Visual Guide to Apples from Epicurious