Approximate Ripening: Late October
Uses: Eating, cooking, baking, salads
Trivia: One of the best known apples and certainly Australia’s most famous apple export, Granny Smith was discovered in 1860 as a seedling growing in the remains of a compost heap located in Eastwood, now the city of Ryde, Sydney. Yes, you read that right: a compost heap. Perhaps not the most appetizing of origins, and one wonders what possessed Mrs. Maria (pronounced “Mariah”) Ann Smith to sample this apple under the conditions. Yet she did and discovered it not only delicious but versatile. She named the apple Granny Smith, and its popularity soared on the world market. No one knows Granny Smith’s parentage for sure, but it is believed to have derived from a cross between French Crab and Rome Beauty.
Notes: Granny Smith is the Godmother of apples for tart apple lovers. Most of us grew up with this variety from the supermarkets, and its uncompromising tartness is so recognizable that you can probably tell a Granny Smith apart from other apples in a blind taste test. Even if you don’t prefer tart apples, don’t turn your back on Granny. She’s one heck of a cooking apple, holding its shape under heat and lending welcome flavor to a variety of dishes. Store it for a while and you’ll find it mellows with age, taking on a balanced tart-honeyed sweetness.