Apple Profile

Winesap

Another heirloom variety, Winesap has a firm, crisp flesh and a sweet, tangy, even aromatic flavor.  Its skin ranges from bright red to a deep speckled red against a bit of yellow background.

It’s a medium to large apple, being a triploid – meaning it has three sets of chromosomes.  As a late harvest, Winesap keeps well and is rated excellent for fresh snacking and in salads.  It also works well in cooking and baking, and contributes to an outstanding apple cider.

Originally called Stayman’s Winesap, this variety was developed in 1866 in Leavenworth, Kansas, and was in popular cultivation by the turn of the 20th century.  It was particularly popular in Virginia.

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Recipes

Roasted Chicken with Apple Stuffing

1 whole (3 – 4 lb.) chicken, trimmed of excess fat

Garlic Butter Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper

Apple Stuffing Ingredients:

Roasted Chicken with Apple Stuffing

  • 2 cups firm white bread, cubed
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large Michigan Winesap apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large Michigan Winesap apple, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Place in roasting pan. In small bowl, combine garlic, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Loosen skin of chicken wherever possible, and spread half of the butter/garlic mixture under skin. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper over skin. Put remaining butter in roasting pan.

Place bread cubes in mixing bowl. Toss with apples, cherries, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Moisten with chicken broth.  Melt butter in large skillet; add onion and celery and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Add to stuffing and toss.  Stuff chicken loosely with mixture. Tie legs together and roast 40 minutes. Add white wine, to deglaze the pan along with apples and onions to pan and continue roasting about 40 minutes, until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160 – 165 degrees. Remove bird to platter and let rest 5 minutes before carving.

Note: Drippings from pan may be used as an excellent base for gravy.

Skillet Apple-Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

recipe-photo-skillet-apple-cherry-pie

  • Refrigerated pie crust (15-oz. box)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) cherry preserves
  • 4 tart Michigan Winesap apples
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the dried cherries, pecans, ¼ cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Select an ovenproof skillet that measures 9” across the bottom and 11 to 12” across the top. (A cast-iron skillet works well and makes a home-style presentation.)  Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat, and then stir in the other ¼ cup of brown sugar and cherry preserves.  When the mixture is bubbling evenly over the surface of the pan – 30 seconds or so – remove pan from the heat.

Do not peel the apples; the peels will help them to hold together.  Halve them top to bottom, however, and core each half.  (Tip: A melon baller does a good job.)  Spoon some of the cherry-walnut mixture into each apple half, compacting it with a finger.

Quickly invert the stuffed apple halves and place them cut side down in the skillet. You should be able to get 6 or 7 around the outside and 1 in the center.  Finely dice the remaining apple half, if left over, and scatter the pieces between the apples.  Sprinkle the leftover cherry-nut mixture between the apples.

Between two sheets of waxed paper, converge and roll together both top and bottom pie crusts to form one 12-inch circle.  After removing the top sheet of waxed paper, invert the pastry over the apples, center it and peel off the other sheet of paper. Lifting the edge of the pastry, either tuck the edge straight down along the inside of the pan or pinch it to crimp the edge. Poke two large vent holes in the pastry with a paring knife, twisting the knife to enlarge the holes slightly.

Lightly brush the pastry with the milk and sprinkle surface with sugar. Place the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until the top crust is golden brown, another 25 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes or to room temperature before serving.