Welcome to Actually, a safe space for us to share our deeply-held but likely-unpopular opinions about food and drinks.
As children, we're fed so many lies: that we might grow up to be princesses or knights, rather than Excel-spreadsheet-filling drones; that a flying lady in a tutu takes our discarded baby teeth from under our pillows and leaves behind a pile of quarters; that our leaders always have the best interests of humanity in mind. And worst of all, that apples of a shiny, deep red are "delicious."
The Red Delicious apple does not live up to its name, but it is a stunner of a fruit. The rich color of its scarlet skin is eye-catching, dramatic, and sensual. But should you find yourself tempted to take a bite (it might be worth noting that in many historical artistic depictions of the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit is a bright red apple), you'll find that... Red Delicious apples absolutely fucking suck.
Their pale, mealy flesh is nearly flavorless—a starchy, watery crumble that offers none of the punch that their outsides promise—while their visually appealing skins are tough and bitter to chew, peeling off in rubbery strips that are best, or necessarily, spat out. You know why God told Adam and Eve not to eat that fruit? Cuz it's nasty.
Hit up a new Google tab and type in "Red Delicious apples are..." and the first word to autofill is "gross." It is no secret that this apple is unpleasant, dastardly, and as devoid of good flavor as it is replete with good looks. A Reddit thread dedicated to putting this wretched apple in its place likens its taste and texture to "sawdust wrapped in a stack of wet college-ruled paper."
Yet for difficult-to-comprehend reasons, this unforgivably shitty apple has had a long reign of terror as the most popular variety in the US for more than 50 years. How can it be a surprise that nearly 88 percent of Americans are not eating enough fruit when one of fruit's most ubiquitous representatives is this universally despised edible embodiment of false advertising?
Finally, our hero is here: the Gala, which the US Apple Association recently projected to take over as the most grown fruit in the States. Slipping to the second spot, the Red Delicious is then followed by the Granny Smith, the Fuji, and the Honeycrisp in popularity (in that order). This year's production of the Red Delicious has declined from 57.9 million units to 51.7 million—an 11 percent drop. Fuck you, Red Delicious. Away with you.
According to the US Apple Association, the Gala "has increased in popularity because consumers like its taste, texture, and sweetness," qualities which the Red Garbageygarbage utterly lacks. This writer is also pleased to see the Honeycrisp—the finest of all popular apple varieties, IMO—enter the top five and knock out the Golden Delicious, which is nearly as mealy and reprehensible as its red cousin. If projections pan out, the Honeycrisp may even move into the top three, ahead of the Granny Smith (boring and too tart) and the Fuji (friendly and acceptable).
Despite this clear indication of the people's hatred toward the Red Delicious, Mark Seetin, USApple director of regulatory and industry affairs, doesn't seem inclined to acknowledge the vitriol toward the variety. “The rise in production of newer varieties of apples aimed at the fresh consumption domestic market has caused demand for Red Delicious to decline,” he said in a press release. “However, Red Delicious is important in the export market, where it makes up roughly half of our apple exports.” And exports have been hurting, thanks to Trump's trade wars, which have led China to impose a 15 percent tariff on US apples.
Photo: Getty Images - Roberto Machado Noa / Contributor
Back in 2014, Tom Burford, apple historian and author of Apples of North America, had plenty to say about the Red Delicious, which he referred to as "the largest compost-maker in the world," when speaking with MUNCHIES. He recalled that the variety is descended from the far superior Hawkeye, which had a pleasant, floral flavor, far sweeter than the Red Not-Delicious, which soon descended from the Hawkeye due to the American industrial machine. Late capitalism, bad apples.
But now, he says: "The consumer goes into the supermarket and picks up that bag of Red Delicious and puts them in the cart. They take them home, put them in the fruit bowl, pick one off the top, and bite into it and say, 'This isn't really good.' It goes in the trash, and the next week the very same thing happens. Fifty-two bags of apples piled up in the trash!"
So stop putting them in your damn cart, people. Surely there's a Honeycrisp or a Fuji nearby, waiting for you to take it home—and to actually enjoy eating it.
Follow Hilary Pollack on Twitter.