I recently rediscovered my love for Cortland apples. When fully ripe they are a dark, muted red with a soft, sweet interior. Since most red apples cause my throat to tighten (allergic reaction), I was a little hesitant at first to try them.
It only took one bite for me to remember when I had last tried them. They were a treat for me as a kid. Dad would take a knife from the kitchen drawer in one hand and a Cortland apple in the other. He was very methodical, but quick. In no time he’d peel the entire apple leaving one long, curly, red skin on the counter. I’ve never been able to peel more than a couple of inches, but Dad’s apple peel was almost always intact.
Next he’d core out the center using the same knife. He’d stick it through the top and twist until he was able to hollow it out from top to bottom. When he was done, he’d hand it to me. I used to think of them as doughnuts. I’d ask for a doughnut apple and he’d go through the process.
I never knew what type of apple it was until just recently when Hannah and I went to Tuttle Orchards just east of Lawrence. We arrived a little early in the season (since we wanted to go before Abigail was born), and they only had two types of apples available for harvest.
A half hour and twenty dollars later we had enough apples to last us a while. We got a few tart apples to make pie (Hannah made two and an apple crisp), but the majority were Cortland apples. I pulled the red wagon and snapped photos while coaching Hannah on how to choose the “right” apples. I’m a Wencl. There’s a “right” way to do everything, even apple picking.
After dropping off all 24 lbs. of apples in the car, we ate lunch at Tuttle Orchards. They only sold lunch on certain Saturdays, so we were fortunate. We ate cider-cooked bratwurst, chips, apple sauce, and, of course, apple cider. It was probably the best bratwurst I’ve ever had.
I now like Cortland apples for two reasons. Here’s to many more!