* * *THE GOLDEN APPLES we eat today may not bestow immortality, but their beauty and flavor make them divine enough to be food for the gods. Three late-season golden apples that thrive on New England soils are Golden Delicious and two of its offspring, Mutsu (also known as Crispin), and GoldRush. While unrelated to Red Delicious, Golden Delicious shares its conical shape and many of its flavor characteristics. Like the Red, Golden Delicious is a sweet, medium-to-large apple and is an excellent keeper. Golden Delicious has a greenish-yellow skin that turns gold, and its yellow flesh is crisp and juicy. It is good in cooking, especially in pies, as its flesh holds up well when cooked. Golden Delicious is also excellent eaten fresh and in salads. The Golden Delicious originally was called Mullins Yellow Seedling after its discovery in West Virginia in 1890. It was renamed Golden Delicious when introduced commercially in 1916. Mutsu, or Crispin, is an excellent dessert apple and good in salads, but it excels in pies and baking, with a sweet, light flavor when cooked, and holding its shape well. Mutsu can grow quite large (a pie made with them may require as few as three apples). Its flesh is white to pale yellow. Mutsu has its origins in Japan, developed in 1930 from a Golden Delicious crossed with an Indo, a Japanese seedling. It was introduced in the United States in 1948. GoldRush is a good dessert apple, juicy and honey-flavored like its Golden Delicious parent. Golden Delicious is GoldRush’s seed parent, with crosses from several other research varieties including Siberian Crab Apple, Winesap, Melrose, and Rome Beauty. Its development began in 1945, but it took until 1973 for the first seedling to be planted at Purdue University by the cooperative breeding program of the Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations. It was released commercially in 1993. If you are planning a home orchard, GoldRush is considered a good choice due to its heavy bearing, disease resistance, winter hardiness, and ease of growing.
* * *IF YOU ARE NOT QUITE READY to bake Thanksgiving pies, here is a recipe that you can try this weekend, using any of these golden varieties. Easy to make, it should make a delicious dessert all winter.
Apple Bread Pudding4 slices of whole-grain bread 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1-2/3 c milk 1 t vanilla 3 New England apples, cored and thinly sliced, such as Golden Delicious, Mutsu, or GoldRush 1/4 c each white and brown sugars 1 t cinnamon 1/4 c butter, in chunks In a medium size bowl, coarsely crumble the bread. In a small bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Pour milk mixture over the bread crumbs and set aside. Meanwhile, combine sliced apples, sugars, and cinnamon in an 8″ square buttered baking dish. Pour soaked bread crumbs over the apples. Dot with butter. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream, hard sauce, frozen yogurt, or whipped cream.