Photo Credit: Stepan Babanin via Unsplash

 

What happens when it’s apple season in Ontario, there are no university sports to cover and you still have to fill a certain number of newspaper pages with a shortened staff? You throw all of that together and bake a good ol’ apple power rankings pie. 

 

It’s a humble fruit, the apple. It doesn’t have the showmanship of the pineapple or the grace of the mango or the beauty of the grapefruit, yet it is one that plays a vital role within the fruit society. 

 

It is a versatile fruit; you can do a grab-and-eat on your way out the door, unlike the orange, which requires time and effort in its preparation. You can dip them, cook with them, drive an hour and a half to pick a bunch of them from trees only to pay double the price of the ones at the grocery store 10 minutes away from your house. You can also bake with them.

 

It would be tough to rank every type of Ontario apple, simply because of how many different kinds there are. Plus you can only eat so many apples before getting worn out. Now, I should also mention that apples, plums, nectarines and really any fleshy fruit with skin on it can prove troublesome for me. 

 

Like many people out there, I have one of those permanent metal bars that coats the back of your front four bottom teeth from when I had braces (it’s so your teeth don’t move back), but I also have one on my top teeth as well. So anytime someone offers me a whole fruit with skin on it they might as well just ask, ‘hey, would you like to be inherently uncomfortable until you can access your toothbrush?’ because that’s the stuff I’m dealing with. Plus I got my wisdom teeth out last month so my mouth is basically a magnet for apple skin. This is the kind of sacrifice the staff at The Brock Press make for our ever-faithful reader. Behold:

  1. Honey Crisp

The unquestioned GOAT apple. I should preface this by saying that the number one characteristic I look for in an apple is its crispness. To me, a hard, crunchy apple is what a 21-year-old model is to Leonardo DiCaprio; some of us just have a type. So with that in mind, it’s no real shocker that Honey Crisp is my favourite kind of apple. I also like consistency when it comes to my apples. A good Red Delicious apple really makes this sort of thing difficult. But then you have six duds in a row and it makes you think that the guy who gave the Red Delicious its moniker only ever had one in his life. 

 

The Honey Crisp is an ironman out there in the orchard. It shows up ready to go every day of the week, bumps and bruises be damned. You’ll never get a bad Ontario Honey Crisp; only good ones and better ones. Plus the stories that are whispered around the Honey Crisp only add to its legendary status. It’s been said that the Honey Crisp once overheard Johnny Appleseed himself saying that his go-to apple was the Butterscotch Beauty and that he planned to plant the Beauty trees in the rows with optimal sunlight because of it. Well, when was the last time you saw a basket of Butterscotch Beautys in your local supermarket? That’s right, you haven’t, because the Honey Crisp made sure of it.

 

  1. Russet

This may be a surprise, but Ontario Russets deserve way more love than they get. Maybe it’s because they peak at the very end of apple season, when everybody has already eaten their fair share of apples and is ready to hang it up for the year. What Russets really are is a final reminder that winter is coming. Maybe people think they’re like a bad omen or something. Maybe Ned Stark was munching on a Russet before he found those direwolves in the snow. Who’s to say. 

 

Russets are definitely not for everyone. They’re weirdly tannic, in the same way that some red wines can be, but so long as you have some water or something it’s not a problem. They are super firm and crunchy and have a unique appearance to them, with a brownish-green tint and a rough texture. You can’t bake at all with them, but they’re on the smaller side so you can eat two or three in a day and feel fine. 

 

  1. Gala

I was a lot lower on Galas prior to this year. But when my dad bought a basket of Ontario Galas from a place that specializes in produce, I had a change of heart. The Galas I grew up on were the ones that you saw lying down in defeat in a toppled-over pyramid from supermarkets. Those ones were always mealy and unappealing. But Ontario Galas really taste like a different species. They’re consistent, crisp, sweet and are a great late summer/early fall apple. 

 

  1. Northern Spy

Spys probably hold the title for best raw and baked apple, if that makes sense. They’re great eaten fresh, but also really good baked and covered in cinnamon and nutmeg. Like McIntosh’s are probably the best baking apple, but unless you plan to lure unexpecting cartoon characters to your windowsill with dozens of pies, it really doesn’t do you much good buying a dozen. Spys can excel both hot and cold, though, hence their position on this list. 

 

  1. Ginger Gold

These guys are a little sweet but also tart and a little sour, which is something that hasn’t been on this list until now. If you purposely want a tart apple, then Ginger Golds are a good call. Solid apple, not much to say here, they’re pretty good in salads if you’re into that. Walnuts, goat cheese, tart apple slices, arugula and balsamic? Sounds pretty good to me.

In Ancient Greece, to throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one’s love. Seeing as this is a widely known fact, this Thanksgiving, why not pick up a bushel of apples and show your significant other how you feel about them by pelting them with apples love. What other fruit can offer that?