Senior Member
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Location: Virginia, zone 7

Quantitative method of measuring fruit richness of flavor?

I am trying to identify which cultivars of each kind of fruit have the most rich flavor such that they would make good pie. Sweetness is not required since sugar can be added.

I've seen journal papers that measure all sorts of things about fruit, but I am wondering which of these things would correlate best with the richness of the flavor of the fruit.

As an example, I think Pink Lady apples have a richer flavor than Gala apples and thus I would prefer Pink Lady in my pie. Is there a measurement that can distinguish between the two?

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Interesting question! 8)

I don't know the answer, but, last year, I had a great harvest from my Enterprise apple tree, and I felt that the complexity of flavor from Enterprise apples by themselves was superior to combination of Granny Smith and Gala in my favorite Apple Cake recipe. :D

Super Green Thumb
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

I'm pretty sure that the "richness" of the flavor is an individual preference, but the sugar content of ripe, near-ripe, and over-ripe fruit can be very precisely measured. See the Wikipedia article on brix for more info, and read its links as well; maybe there are some characteristics that can provide some of the information you're looking for.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Greener Thumb
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Hi Biwa,

It really is just a matter of taste on this one.
As far as I can see though nearly all American apple varieties are duel purpose fruits.
There are exceptions of course but on the whole it appears that you use Desert fruits for most of your recipies.
It must mean therefore that you are going to have a fair degree of sweetness already in the fruit.
Over here in the UK we have a whole selection of apples that were bred just for cooking. From Bramleys to Newton Wonder....all have a lack of sweetness in their make-up that makes them ideal for culinary use only, but alows you to adjust the suger to any particular taste.
Most of them are the sort that 'fluff' on cooking so are ideal for crumble and pie recipies.
Guess that's why the French use an eating apple for tarts as they are better at staying in their ' sections ' when cooked and not breaking down.

As for thing I would say is that all apples are better tasteing if they are allowed to get tree ripened.
So much fruit is picked far too early in the name of storage and the full flavour is never allowed to develope.
Golden Delicious is a prime example.
Picked green it will go yellow but will never be at its best.
Left until it goes yellow on the tree and it has the most gorgeous honey flavour.....but will bruise the market will not buy it at that stage.

Senior Member
Posts: 203
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:15 am
Location: Virginia, zone 7

But a lack of sweetness alone isn't a good measurement of how yummy the pie will be, is it? After all, Granny Smiths are pretty sour but I've had people argue with me that McIntosh or Pink Lady have better flavor despite being so much sweeter.

I don't have a paper on apples handy, but I just found [url=]an interesting paper on blueberries[/url] that measures how acidic they are, Brix (thanks for the definition!), Vitamin C content, how good of an antioxidant they are, and some other stuff.

I'm still clueless about which blueberry cultivar has the richest flavor, but just picking out the ones with different-looking measurements, I'd want to taste these first:

'Little Giant'
Lowbush, v. angustifolium
Bilberry, v. myrtillus

I don't suppose any of those would make an awesome pie?

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