Picture-perfect apples with lackluster flavor dominate the American and European markets because they have the longest shelf life and broadest appeal. At the same time, there is a renaissance of interest in preserving precious, personality-packed heirloom apples. To lure people into joining this small but growing movement, Roger Yepsin has created this visually enchanting book devoted to the infinitely varied apple. In it, he talks about how apples are grown, stored, and used to make cider and harder alcoholic beverages, as well as for cooking and eating.
You can virtually taste the complex flavors of over 80 kinds of apples, thanks to Yepsin's exquisite prose and the vividly detailed watercolors he painted for Apples. Looking through the section describing each apple variety takes you on an international journey. You will meet the Japanese-bred Akane, introduced in 1970, the golden, russet-skinned Zabergau Reinette that came from Germany in the 1880s, and the French Calville Blanc which has been cultivated since the 1500s and which Thomas Jefferson grew. This informative romancing of the apple may draw you to a local farm stand, or inspire you to contact one of the mail order sources Yepsin provides for buying apples, actual trees, cider presses, and winemaking supplies. At the very least, you will want to experience for yourself apples beyond the usual tart Green Granny Smith and reliably dull Red Delicious. --Dana Jacobi
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