Let’s talk about apples and how to eat them. Specifically my way to eat them – the best way to eat them, obviously.
If you don’t like apples, most of this can be applied to pears as well, otherwise you’ve no reason to read any further, unless of course you simply appreciate reading about ways to eat things.
The selection of the apple is paramount. Get this wrong and you may as well file your teeth to the nerve!
Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but it is still important! My suggestion is a Shinano Gold (apples unique to Nagano Prefecture in Japan, though recently slated to expand!). They are crisp, succulent, and sweet, plus they get rather large and are enough to fill you up, if you aren’t a voracious eater that is. If you can’t find a Shinano Gold where you are, the more popular Fuji should do just fine. If you’re a Red Delicious type, well I’m sorry for you.
Look over the apple for holes, cracks, bruises, etc. If at all possible, use one that doesn’t have such blemishes to the beauty. Otherwise simply cut out the bad areas after you’ve performed the cleansing but before you start the bites.
Apples often have a wax coating and washing them isn’t enough. It doesn’t remove the wax and it leaves that strange feel to it, you know what I’m talking about. So you’re going to want to pour boiling water all over the your apple to get rid of the wax. A pleasant side effect of this is that the apple starts to cook ever so slightly, enough to bring a nice effervescent smell off the skin, go ahead, take a whiff! Delectable!
After the wax is removed, pat it dry with a tissue, remembering to enjoy the delightful smell coming off the apple, teasing your taste-buds into action. You should be able to get a squeaky clean sound off the apple if you rub your finger across it. Using a slightly wet portion of the tissue wrapped on your finger, stick it in the top near the stalk and spin the apple and you finger in opposite directions, pressing firmly (an alternative would be to use a cotton swab for ears). You’ll come up with a lot of dirt. Get a clean, damp spot on the towel and do it again. It is important to clean this area because you are going eat around it eventually. Do the same thing for the bottom of the apple as well, not as dirty there, but do it just in case.
Next we’ll talk bites. There are three quintessential bites that take place when eating an apple: the second, the plateau, and the foundation.
There is also a technique to getting a proper bite out of a crispy apple.
Using both sets of teeth causes undue pressure and damage to the apple’s flesh which can not only make it more messy while eating, but is a blatant waste of precious juices. With the right pressure, angles, and torque you can clean an apple to its core without losing a single drop of juice!
Sound is an important part of the pleasant, aesthetically pleasing way to enjoy your apple as well. Getting the apple’s flesh to ‘snap’ just right is one of the most wonderful audible sensations in the world and greatly adds to the overall experience of the apple.
Rule of thumb – You never use your bottom teeth.
- The first bite, the plateau, and the foundation bites need both sets of teeth
- The ‘clean up‘ bites often need both sets of teeth
- The use of your bottom lip is okay when needed for leverage
All other bites starting from the second bite require only your top teeth. These bites are performed by using the torque in your neck and wrist to roll away from each other after your top teeth are sufficiently lodged into the flesh of the apple. If you are are not fortunate enough to have the technique down properly yet or if your apple is not sufficiently crispy, you may need to get some leverage using a bit of pressure from your bottom lip; but there should be no penetration of your bottom teeth into the apple’s skin save for the first bite that you take.
On the imaginary line formed from the base to the stem, find the mid-point. Now with the line made from your nose to your chin perpendicular to the former, take your first bite at that mid-point.
The first bite is simply to open up some fleshy area to dig into for all your bites to follow. This makes it important, of course, but lacking in other areas (bite size, shape, sound, breakage, feel, etc.)
You have now opened up the exocarp of the apple; revealing the glorious mesocarp of pulp.
The Second Bite
The second bite is actually the first bite that allows you to really get into your apple. It is the bite that sets the stage for the entire rest of your journey! This one should break off a chunk nearly too large to chew and should – if your teeth are angled right – snap off from deep down as well as be nice and wide. This is one of the larger and more pleasant bites. In the group of quintessential bites, it has the strongest aroma from the skin to go along with it, as the skin is still freshly boiled.
This bite should start from the lower-jaw portion of your first bite. Dig your top teeth in deeper than normal and use the torque and some lip support to pull off this giant piece.
Savor this bite to the utmost, chew slowly, allow the knowledge that this amazing process has begun to sink into your bones, remember the effervescent scent and allow it to fill your nostrils, remember the sound it made as its flesh tore away from the core, this is what eating an apple is all about and you are doing it perfectly!
Bites after the second bite should proceed as follows:
Make a new bite which starts form the lowest, furthest left open fleshy portion, then do the same on the right side, then make another middle bite.
Your first five bites should leave you with somewhat of a pyramid shape with a relatively straight line of skin that goes from the bottom of the apple to the stalk. Continue making bites around the apple in this way, keeping a fairly straight line were the flesh meets the skin, as best as you can
Now is a good time to talk about ‘clean up‘ bites. At any point during this portion of eating, you can use your top and bottom teeth to make surgical bites that remove excess fleshy portions that did not break of deep enough, although you may not need the bottom teeth if the apple is crisp enough!
When there is roughly 60 millimeters (a bit more than an two inches) of skin left between the start of the first bite and bottom of your most recent bite, stop and turn the apple around. As you did after the second bite you took, start on the left and take a bite, then right, then middle. The goal being to leave about 30 millimeters of skin along the side of the apple from the stalk to the base, a splendid ridge of apple goodness. If 30 millimeters is too wide for you to comfortably bite over, make 3 smaller bites to narrow this.
For the final portion of this section, starting near the base, take one large bite that removes the strip of skin near the base of the apple. Take another large bite near the stem that also removes the strip of skin near the stem. This should leave you with one bite right in the middle which has steep cliffs and if you hold it with the skin towards the sky, it looks like a majestic plateau.
The Plateau Bite
The plateau is so named because of the shape that it has when you get to it. If you have performed your bites properly, this bite will not only look aesthetically pleasing, but it will also be the most satisfying bite regarding the flesh to skin ratio. There will be more meaty goodness in this bite than any other you will take during the whole process. Yes, your ‘clean up’ bites are all flesh, but they are also much smaller in comparison, and no where near as satisfying to take.
You will use your bottom teeth for this bite to ensure you get the maximum amount of flesh off the core. Get your teeth as close to the core as possible before lodging them into the apple. Crispy apples will likely break off effortlessly, but if not, simply use your neck and wrist torque to cause the succulent snap to take place.
It is easy to appreciate this bite, so take your time and do that now!
You have now removed nearly all of the mesocarp and likely some of the edible areas surrounding the endocarp, or core.
If there is any flesh remaining near the stalk, you can remove it now with some ‘clean up’ bites, being sure to get all the skin as well.
There should be some fleshy goodness near the bottom of the apple still, and it is time to learn about what it is.
The Foundation Bite
The base of the apple houses something special. Many consider this portion dirty, or ugly, or scary. Little do they know what they are missing out on. This area is the remains of the lovely flower that was pollinated so that the apple you are devouring could come into being. It is the foundation of the apple because without it, there would be no apple!
Because of it’s makeup, it is very soft and easy to eat. It also has the most organic, earthy flavor of all the bites you will have! It is clean (because you poured boiling water into it and wiped it) but also because it hangs upside-down and nothing stays in there for long to begin with.
You will bite this portion off the same way you did the plateau, just ensure you get your teeth far enough down towards the core, but not too far. Feel free to feel around with your teeth before digging in for the bite so that you know you are not about to bite the housing of the pips. Add the pressure and snap it off!
The fulfillment attained by this bite is not describable, but trust me when I say it is pure bliss. Take notice of the flavor, remember the roots of your being and of the apple. You are both of the earth – you are a part of each other and you provide sustenance for each other.
With this bite over, there is very little to do besides ‘clean up’ near the bottom and any areas you may have missed. Don’t be sad, it was a wonderful journey and one you will remember for a long time to come. Share it with a loved one next time!
All that’s left.
If you are feeling feisty, you can simply finish the rest of the apple save the stalk, just, “Bite into the core,“ as my good friend would say. There is nothing to be afraid of. You will not grow a tree in your belly or be poisoned by the pips. The flavor and texture is not unpleasant, but also not for all walks of life. My mood often dictates whether I bite into the core or not on any given day, but I still do finish the entire apple sometimes.
Let me know how it goes. You can’t help but forget your worries for a while when you demolish a zesty apple!