Far from a new crop, McIntosh apples were discovered by John McIntosh in Dundela, Ontario in 1811. They are thought to descend from the Snow Apple variety. It quickly became the most widely grown cultivar in Ontario.
Since then, McIntosh trees have been used heavily in breeding programs as its genetics are hearty and reliable. Able to withstand temperatures as low as -34º C, the trees are very easy to grow. However, in order to reach optimal red colour, the apples do best in climates with cold nights and clear days. In Simcoe, Ontario, at the U of G research station, the harvest begins in mid September. Sadly, they are very susceptible to scab and bruising but since they tend to become mealy after harvest, McIntoshes make for a great cooking apple breaking down into the most delicious applesauce. Make the most of them in this recipe for Apple Crisp !
“Macs” are very juicy, with a distinct flavour combination of tart and sweet and when they’re picked right off the tree, theirs is the quintessential harvest ‘crunch’.
With files from Charlie Embree’s 100 Apples and 100 Pears: A Collection of Characteristics for 100 Apples and 100 Pears.