An Imperfect Apple

John Scalzi

While walking the dog earlier today we walked by the neighbor’s apple trees, on which apple are coming in nicely but are not yet ready to be eaten. One thing I note about all the apples is that, even in this still-early stage of growth they are, largely, wildly misshapen and would never make the cut for a supermarket produce section. It doesn’t mean they won’t taste good (previous apples from other years confirm they do), it just means that they are lumpy and gnarled and would be destined for applesauce or juice or some other end where their cosmetics don’t matter.

I will still eat them, happily, however, with my neighbor’s say-so. I reject artificial beauty standards for real fruit! Long live ugly apples! Until, uh, I get them in my belly, anyway.

This post is clearly written so I can have an excuse to post this picture of an apple. Lumpy or not, I think it looks pretty cool.

— JS

16 Comments on “An Imperfect Apple”

  1. I so much enjoy the pick your own fruit season. Those imperfections show character not flaws.

  2. Your keen perception is noted. Thank you from all the lumpy apples of the world.

  3. I’m looking forward to blueberry season, late next week. Smaller and stronger-tasting than commercially grown berries, and far less certain to be ripe when expected–here’s hoping it’s a good year.

  4. The key is to take big bites and not look at them. More protein is good for you!

  5. @Jim G: The key is to take small bites and check for worms. Worm-shaped protein is horribly bitter. :)

  6. Looks like a Heralson. We had such a tree in our backyard when I was a kid.

  7. When I see stuff like this I am always reminded of this story about Shunryu Suzuki (who was the real-life model for Yoda, if anybody was).

    Your photo is very spirit-of-Zen.

  8. Ugly apples are made for pie. When I was a little girl (OMG, I swore I’d never use that phrase! Shoot me now…) stores sold all the apples, not just the “perfect” ones. Really, my stomach doesn’t care.

  9. Most of the best apples in America have been pushed out in pursuit of the best looking apples. Take the Red Delicious, which is plenty red but only delicious if you enjoy the flavor of wet cardboard. The only thing worse than a Red Delicious is those industrial tomatoes they strip mine down in Texas. The best supermarket apple is the Pink Lady but it is only available part of the year. However, if you live near an orchard, you might be able to turn up a Crispin aka Mutzu, a fabulous apple but a big ugly green softball that doesn’t make it to the stores anymore. What you’ve got there looks like an old school cider apple, and I would like for you to send me a bushel please.

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