These Pink Pearl apples made me gasp when I saw them in San Francisco's Bi-Rite Market last week. I was so excited I almost overturned the display! Like little ambassadors of fall, this forgotten heirloom variety is hard to find these days. Don't know Pink Pearls? Read on for more about these little jewels.
Pink Pearls are delicious eating apples. Their vibrant, deep pink flesh is crisp, juicy and has an excellent sweet/tart ratio. They cook up nice, too, holding their shape and getting deeper colored and slightly sweeter. Pink Pearls were developed in Northern California in 1944 by a man named Albert Etter, using another red-fleshed apple called Surprise as a seedling. I've only been able to find Pink Pearls on the west coast so far, starting at the end of August and going through September.
If you can't find Pink Pearls in your area, don't despair. Hopefully this post will inspire you to seek out any older variety of apple (or any produce for that matter.) Unless you are blessed with a market like Bi-Rite, which sources and even grows unusual, local produce, you will probably have to go beyond your grocery store. Try farmers' markets and local orchards. If you don't see anything, be sure to ask: sometimes farmers don't bring their lesser known varieties to market. Let them know there's an interest in these beauties!
(Image: Dana Velden)