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Apples of Uncommon Character: Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little-Known Wonders Hardcover – September 2, 2014
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"A true delight... The descriptions are almost lyrical and a pleasure to read. Each apple comes with its own full-page photo, beautifully shot in natural light...I love the surprising readability of this book. It should be tucked into the backpacks of all apple festival goers. I really can't recommend this book enough." --Powells.com
"Like Facebook for fruit." --NPR
"Opening the pages of Apples of Uncommon Character is like walking into a portrait gallery flooded with russet, bronzed masterpieces bathed in golden light -- forget about Magritte's Granny Smith-bedecked Son of Man, here are the Winesap, the Pound Sweet, the Maiden's Blush and Black Twig, rendered in a vivid prose rarely seen outside of the wine list... For anyone who's willing to get swept up in the grand romance of food, this handsome volume will make for seductive reading." --Morning Edition
"Imagine my delight when the book Apples of Uncommon Character landed in my mailbox, a glorious compendium of "123 heirlooms, modern classics, and little-known wonders." Author and self-described apple geek Rowan Jacobsen does for apples what he did earlier for oysters: he captures in vivid language what makes the flavor of each type unique (with extraordinary photographs by Clare Barboza you want to bite into). --Melissa Block, All Things Considered
"Stunning" --Seattle Times
"The most gripping aspect of James Beard Award winner Rowan Jacobsen's Apples of Uncommon Character is the author's loving, quirky, and so-vivid-it's-like-you're-eating-one-right-now descriptions of 123 different apples." --Bon Appetit
"Supremely well executed and written. If you are one of those foodies who actually likes to read, this one's for you." --Christopher Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen
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The book is not perfect however. While it has some very good descriptions about what part of the country the various apples do well in, it is not a book for the grower in that disease propensity etc is not discussed. While it tries to be an American Apple Book, it is more focused on New England than other parts of the country. Its probably for the better though as the descriptions show the varying degrees of familiarity the author has with the different apples - the ones he knows best just sing from the page while some I get the feeling are only vague acquaintances. I also really don't know why mediocre apples are intentionally covered, there are fantastic apples that were left out (including two of my favorites, Hoople's Antique Gold and Freyburg) so we could learn how bad 20-Ounce Pippin is.
If you buy this book beware of the temptation to grow apples. I gave into it and will have about a hundred holes to dig this coming spring!
I have purchased 3 - 2 for gifts and one for my own complete perusal. Highly recommended.
Also contains variety-specific recommendations for different uses (baking, sauce, juice/cider, fresh eating) - which change over storage life. Very comprehensive volume, this. HIGHLY recommended for anyone who grows, or eats, apples. You will not look at the humble fruit in the same way again.