Pomes of Nagano

Pome: From Middle English (fruit), Anglo-French pume, pomme (apple, fruit) and Late Latin pomum. Fruits with a core of small seeds surrounded by a tough membrane. The membrane is surrounded by an edible layer of flesh. Apples, pears, quince, etc.

Apples are not my favorite fruit.  Though I don’t dislike them, I don’t gravitate toward them when there are so many other fruits I’d rather eat. I’m also picky. Don’t give me a Royal Gala or a Yellow Delicious. It’s sour friends Granny Smith and Rusticoat (“Russet“) for me! I typically don’t like those sweet apples in the mid-range between sour and very sweet. I always thought the ones I dislike *were* the sweetest varieties. That is, until I met the special Nagano apple. Now there’s a sweeeeet apple, above what Royal Gala can even dare offer.

When I first saw the inner flesh of the Sun Fuji apple, I thought the fruit was rotting. Ah, no…my friend explained a bit about the special process the apples undergo to encourage “juice pockets”. In fact, the darkened wet patches gave the fruit its characteristic impossible-sweet and juicy taste!

Sun Fuji apples are grown without the usual paper covering, to allow the sun to affect the inside of the fruit. Normally, paper bags are used to give apples a homogeneous texture and density throughout. Removing the bag creates the sun ‘pockets’ that give the extra burst of juiciness and flavor.

Sun Fuji

Even better was the special Shinano juice I tried. It doesn’t compare to what we’d call “apple juice” in North America. It tastes nothing like your Motts, Del Monte, or Rougemont! It doesn’t even resemble that brown cloudy stuff normally found in farmer’s markets or organic health food stores. Pale milky-yellow in color, the special Shinano Sweet stuff tasted like an entirely new fruit experience. It went down smooth, and I could just keep guzzling it, but restrained myself because it was a more coveted pricey alternative to regular apple juice. I treated it like gold!

After further research, I’ve noticed Nagano is famous for their so-called Three Brothers (Shinano Golden, Shinano Sweet and Akibae). Though the Sun Fuji reds were definitely nice to snack on, I am partial to the Shinano juice. Such a refreshing discovery! I’ll never experience apples the same way again. I look at varieties available in Canada and just pout. I haven’t eaten an apple since returning from Asia. I might be ruined LOL.

If you’d like to discover other Japanese apple varieties, here’s a good place to start: Fruits Dictionary

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