Feeling bored with the grocery store’s produce section the other day, I looked around for something to spice up the monotony of winter food shopping. I noticed a surprisingly large variety of apples available, including two that were new to me: the bright yellow Opal and one promising a “tropical twist,” the Pinata. I thought an apple tasting would be fun for the family.
I grabbed a few familiar flavors as a control group (Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith) as well as a Pink Lady, because, well, they’re yummy too and the price was good. I also wanted the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith to compare their color to the garish yellow of the Opal. Without looking at Opals next to something familiar, it’s hard to understand how freakishly yellow they are. At first glance, I was a little thrown off by the color. I thought, “What did they do to get it so yellow? Is it GMO?” But, I’m happy to learn that it’s all natural, in fact, it’s the first US apple variety to carry a label from the Non-GMO Project verifying its status as non-GMO.
The Opal had a good crunch, much sturdier than a Golden Delicious, which can be mealy at times. The flavor was pleasantly sweet and mild. I didn’t pick up much tang, but then again I was comparing them to Pink Lady and Granny Smith, so perhaps on its own it has a little bit of tanginess. I learned that these apples resist oxidation after cutting, so they will not turn brown as quickly as other varieties, according to the Opal apple website.
The Pinata was also crunchy and firm. I tasted some slight orange flavors, while my husband tasted pineapple and kiwi. The kids gave it a thumbs up. This was probably our favorite apple of the day. The Pinata apple website says it is a cross between Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Duchess of Oldenburg. I’ve never heard of the latter two, but as the Pinata was developed in Germany, those varieties may only be available in Europe.
The apple tasting was fun. I think Pinata could easily be my family’s new favorite apple, for as long as it’s available. Pink Lady, which we all enjoy, is sweet and mildly tart, but not often easy to find in stores. Granny Smiths are too tart for me, but everyone else likes them. My go-to apple is Gala, and I think I’m the only one who likes Golden Delicious.
What’s your favorite apple? What unique or new variety have you tried?