The Real Reason “Red Delicious” Apples Aren’t So Delicious

When it comes to apples, beauty is often only skin deep. This is definitely the case for the Red Delicious variety. There is no disputing the fact that these apples have by far the most lovely appearance that is mouth watering to say the least. It’s when you cut into one of the lovely fruits and take a big bite, there is a distinct lack of flavor that is comparable to watered down low fat milk in comparison to other varieties. In the past, this apple became fairly popular and they are still displayed as one of the bargain varieties that look good, but are priced lower than others.

Red Delicious, a hybrid marketing scam

How could something so appealing to the eyes be such a disappointment? It’s all in the genetics. The creators of this apple variety chose to develop an apple that would have the most beautiful outward appearance. This was done with little concern for texture or taste. Some Red Delicious are huge in size, feature a bright red skin and are sold waxed to a high gloss for eye appeal. Never mind the fact that the skin is bitter and tough in comparison to other varieties. One of the biggest marketing scams constructed is found in the name Red Delicious. They look delicious, but really they’re not. When it comes to texture and flavor, they are at the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. It’s kind of a form of trickery to suggest that something of low grade taste quality is delicious. Here, we have more dishonesty in advertising.

New choices drive popularity to the basement

Red Delicious apples have long been the dominant variety sold in American markets. One of the reasons is because there were limited choices available. The market is currently brimming with some pretty amazing alternatives. Competition for the flavorless old standard include some tasty and well textured varieties including the Honeycrisp, the Gala and the Fuji. These are remarkably delicious apples that pack an explosion of flavor. When you browse through the apple section at the market, you’ll notice the prices are higher. It’s because the apples are much better than the Reds. The appearance may not be as amazing, but the overall quality is leaps and bounds ahead. With popularity in America hitting a decline for Red Delicious, we’re seeing nearly two thirds of them shipped out of the country as exports.

How Red Delicious became a standard in the US

Promotion of the apple was key to establishing it as a favorite in the US. The name was established in 1914 and it was heavily marketed. Salesmen would shout the benefits of the lovely fruit and as one of the most eye catching, people were willing to give it a try. Thanks to the new Railway running through Washington State and connecting it to other parts of the country, Red Delicious could be shipped around the nation. This was just the beginning. There is a certain psychological appeal to a well-presented food item. If you’re told that something is good often enough, you may just start believing it. The Red Delicious became a craze, partly because of the excellent marketing campaigns but mostly because it was one of the most prolific varieties available in large supply. By the 1940s, it was the most popular apples in the country until the introduction of new, tastier varieties in the 1990s.

Better alternatives

It’s long been common knowledge that Red Delicious are not the best choice for making apple pies. They’re too sweet and they lack flavor. Women using them in pies and tarts were forced to add lemon juice or other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Sugar measurements were also cut down to accommodate the extra sweetness. The better apples for baking were and remain, the Granny Smith and other tart, tangy and flavorful varieties. As consumers, the American public has made their choice and the preference for the Red Delicious is to ship most of them out to countries who are willing to eat them because of their beauty, while we feasts on the tastier Galas, Goldens, Grannies, Fujis and Honeycrisps.


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