A celebration of America’s apple renaissance by a James Beard Award–winning author.
There is indeed life beyond Red Delicious—and even Honeycrisp. While many supermarkets limit their offerings to a few waxy options, apple trees with lives spanning human generations are producing characterful varieties—and now they are in the midst of a rediscovery. From heirlooms to new designer breeds, a delicious diversity of apples is out there for the eating. These are varieties with strong personalities, from crabby to wholesome. The Black Oxford apple is actually purple, and looks like a plum. The Knobbed Russet looks like the love child of a toad and a potato. (But don’t be fooled by its looks.) The D’Arcy Spice leaves a hint of allspice on the tongue. Cut Hidden Rose open and its inner secret is revealed.
Packed with photographs as delightful as their subjects, Apples of Uncommon Character shows us the fruit in all its glory. Rowan Jacobsen collected specimens both common and rare from all over North America, selecting 123 to feature, including the best varieties for eating, baking, and hard-cider making. By capturing the nature of each apple, including its flavor, origins, and sometimes surprising ties to American history, Apples of Uncommon Character celebrates our romance of the rural landscape. It’s a must-have for every foodie.
Rowan Jacobsen is the author of A Geography of Oysters, Fruitless Fall, American Terroir, and other books. He has written for the New York Times, Harper’s, Outside, and others, and his work has been anthologized in the Best American Science and Nature Writing and Best Food Writing collections. He lives in Vermont.