Book Review: The Best Apples to Buy and Grow

April 30, 2010

I found The Best Apples to Buy and Grow at the library. It is a thin little book that is a Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-region Guide, first published in 2005 and updated in 2007. It has several people contributing to the book, which makes it a little inconsistent when you are used to a formula format.

The book opens with a history of apples in North America (too bad I forgot about that when I was writing up the history for this blog) and then moves on to heirloom apples. There is a small section about apples for cider and apples for pie before it starts going though “60 Great Apples.” This section is where you really notice the different authors, but they do try to give a description and a little bit of history before talking about culinary uses, harvest time, regions where grown, and growing tips. Some apples have pictures, but not all of them.

The last part of the book is dedicated to the home orchard, including a page on rootstock, grafting, planting, training, thinning apples, pruning, harvesting and storing apples, pest and disease control and including disease resistant apple breeds, deer, rabbit, and mouse control, and planting an apple hedge.

I did like this book enough to put it on my Christmas wish list, and my mother-in-law got it for me. Yes it is small, but I think I would take it with me to the next apple tasting I would go to, and it would be easy to do so because of its size. While it is not as local as Warren Manhart’s Apples for the Twenty-First Century, it does a pretty good job for North America, though there are times where you can see the New York bias, which is where the Geneva apple research center is located. This book also talks about what apples are suitable for cider, but only if they are also good for eating. Can’t have it all, but then again, having a multipurpose apple tree makes more people happy. I get apples for cider, and my husband gets apples for eating.

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