A few weeks ago, it would have been easy to confuse these Lodi apples with the related Yellow Transparent apple. They’re roughly the same size, shape, and color up until the final phase of ripening, during which the Lodi apples become more pointed at the bottoms, while the skins of Yellow Transparent apples fade to their distinguishing pale, almost translucent shade.
Today, we start harvesting both these varieties.
The Yellow Transparent is an old Russian apple first brought to the U.S. in order to withstand the harsh winters of the midwest. They became a fast favorite in New England, too, where they (ironically) also thrived under hot and humid conditions. They’re beloved for their complex flavor and a smooth texture that lends itself to apple sauce. We have several customers who time their yearly summer apple-picking visit to line up with their peak, likely for that very reason.
Meanwhile, Lodi is a hybrid of Yellow Transparent and another apple variety called Montgomery. Sometimes, you will find them labeled as “Improved Yellow Transparent,” but I beg to differ. Although they’re related to the former, these two apples are each so different that they deserve to be considered for their own respective merits, not pitted against each other. Sure, Lodi can keep slightly longer and has a firmer texture, but Yellow Transparent is sweeter and juicier! In contrast with Yellow Transparent’s balanced taste, Lodi is very tart to bite into, similar to a Granny Smith.
Appearances and genetics aside, the two could actually hardly be more different. Side by side, they make a very versatile pair, allowing you to enjoy fresh apples, apple sauce, smoothies, salads, and baked goods of all kinds, all during early August. Even better, when used together in one apple crisp, their complementary characteristics meld to form a sweet and tart, soft and crispy treat.
This apple crisp recipe could not be more simple, and it could not be better because of that. It is Carolyn Rose’s original “Outstanding Apple Crisp” recipe from the late 1920’s or early 1930’s, exactly as she wrote it. Try making it as-is, using mostly Lodi and some Yellow Transparent, or use the Country Crisp mix we sell if you want a little short cut (no judgment!). Make sure to slice the apples a little extra think since these varieties break down faster than classic pie apples.
Outstanding Apple Crisp
Line glass or pan with thickly sliced apples 2 rows deep (5 or 6 apples).
Season with ½ c. sugar and cinnamon.
Over this, pour and spread to the edge the following mixture, thoroughly mixed to dry gritty substance.
- 1c. sugar
- 1c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- pinch salt (1/4 tsp.)
- 1 egg, broken in
Sprinkle rolled oats on top.
Bake at 350 degrees until apples are done. About 45 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream, hard sauce or ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8.