September 19, 2012
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

It seems every year about this time I feel compelled to write about how much I enjoy the fall.  It brings to mind comfort for me-warm sweaters, beautiful colors, piles of leaves, warm apples cider, and a little chill in the air, tinged with the scent of wood smoke.

One of my favorite foods of the season is apples. So versatile, so many varieties, eaten anytime of the day.  I’m partial to the crisp, tart varieties, old fashioned ones like the Macintosh and newer varieties like the (relatively) recently released Zestar. 

The Zestar is an apple that was created at the University of Minnesota in 1999. It’s an early season apple that is also cold hearty.  The flavor is amazing-just the right combination of sweet & tart.  Texture is just as I like it-nice & crisp, without being too hard, like a Granny Smith.

From the experts:
The Zestar! apple helps fill a gap. Most early season apples are mealy, which is why you should be making applesauce in August and waiting until later in September to start your pies.The Zestar! is a crunchy apple that is available early in the season. It also has a long shelf life, unlike it’s early season counterparts. You can store them in the fridge for up to a couple months. One negative of the Zestar! is that it tends to bruise rather easily, so one must be careful when harvesting and handling. A bruised apple will not have that long shelf live. I think this easy bruising is why I am not seeing this apple regularly sitting next to the Galas and Fujis at the local mega mart.