McIntosh apples are one of the oldest apple varieties which are available in the market since they were discovered in the 1800s. They are quite popular in North America and they are known for their amazing sweet and tart flavor.
They are a classic variety since they have red and green speckled skin, the apple cider flavor, and very soft flesh.
If you want to know more about McIntosh apples, read on. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about them including their history, flavor, season, where to buy them, and a few interesting facts about them.
These fruits thrive in cold climates, so there are speculations that these apples first originated in New York. However, research has shown that its origin is in Canada.
John McIntosh, a Canadian, discovered McIntosh apples in the early 1800s. John McIntosh was a farmer. Before his discovery, locals believed that apples could not grow in the cold Canadian climate.
John McIntosh happened to stumble upon the seeds and that was the beginning of grafting and growing McIntosh apples on his farm and the rest is history. The apples became very popular in a short period of time.
The original McIntosh tree is no longer exists. However, the clone of the original tree has been preserved in a Canadian museum.
For several years, farmers have used McIntosh apples to develop other apple varieties. Most of the varieties developed from these maintained the signature sweet-tart flavor, hardiness, and white flesh.
Farmers still grow them on farms and orchards in Canada. Some farmers grow them in New York and some parts of the Northeast United States.
These apples go by the nickname ‘mac apples’, so if you hear anyone talking about mac apples, they are definitely talking about McIntosh apples.
What Do they Taste Like?
I personally think that McIntosh apples are some of the best-tasting apples that exist. They have a signature sweet-tart flavor that is kind of tangy. Additionally, they have a fruity and slightly spicy aroma that makes them irresistible.
McIntosh apples are very juicy and tender white flesh. When fresh off the tree, their texture is crisp. Additionally, they are very flavorful. With time, the flavor mellows and becomes sweeter and pear-like.
You should know that after harvesting, it quickly loses its tart flavor. The classic taste of the apple is maintained if you refrigerate it.
Once refrigerated, the apples will maintain the amazing texture and sweet-tart flavor for a long time. If you store the apples at room temperature, they will become soft and lose their crispiness in just a few days.
If they become soft, you do not need to throw them out. They may not be the best snack that you can eat fresh, but you can always use them in your pies or applesauce.
McIntosh apples are a soft variety and their thin skin bruises more easily compared to the ones you have interacted with. Therefore, it is important you handle them carefully.
McIntosh Apples Use
Like most types of apples you know, the apples have several uses. Here are a few ways you can put those apples to use.
- Eat them Fresh
There is no better way to enjoy McIntosh apples than eating them fresh, especially when they have just been harvested. The flavor is to die for, and it makes for an amazing snack.
- Juice them
Considering how juicy they are, they are great for juicing. You can use them to make apple juice at home or sweet cider.
- In Baking
These apples are a great addition to baked desserts. Next time you are making a pie, cake, or muffins, try using them and see how much you will love the outcome.
- Making Applesauce
McIntosh apples have soft flesh which makes them the best variety for making applesauce. The texture of your applesauce will be perfect.
McIntosh Apple Substitutes
It is important to know some substitutes you can use in place of McIntosh substitutes when you run out, or when they are out of season.
The best substitute in baking is Cortland apples. Cortland apples have a flavor profile and texture that is very similar to Cortland apples.
Other apples that you can use when you want the sweet flavor that McIntosh apples give you are Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Gala, Pink Lady, and Jana gold. If you are leaning more towards the tart flavor, I suggest trying Cortland, Granny Smith, and Stayman.
Most of these substitutes will give you great results. However, the flavor will not be 100% the same as that of McIntosh apples.
Seasons for McIntosh Apples and Where to buy Them
As I mentioned earlier, McIntosh apples thrive in cold climates. They are harvested between July and November every year.
If you live in Canada or the northern United States, you can buy them in orchards near you. Alternatively, buy them at farmers’ markets near you. If you do not find any around where you live, just buy them online.
Remember that these apples are fragile, so handle them with care when buying them and store them in your refrigerator for longer shelf life.
Interesting Facts about McIntosh Apples
- This apple is an essential part of the Canadian culture. It even featured on a 1996 Canadian silver dollar.
- Of all varieties, the apple has the most recognizable flavor and aroma.
- McIntosh apples have been around since the 1800s and people enjoy them to date.
- They are one of the few apple types that thrive in cold climates.
McIntosh is an amazing variety of apples. In fact, it is one of my favorites. The sweet-tart flavor is out of this world and it is great for snacking on, baking, juicing, and even making applesauce.
I assure you that when you taste this variety it will be one of your go-to apples. Try buying them when they are in season for the best experience. You can easily get them at grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
Try these apples today and share your experience.