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Two Rome apples -- one baked and one fresh
Nancy Baggett for NPR

A staple all over America in autumn, this handsome, bright red apple is said to have grown from an unidentified sapling near Proctorville, Ohio, in the early 1800s. Also called Red Rome and Rome Beauty, it is recommended for baking primarily because it is very large — sometimes huge! — and impressive-looking, and the tart flesh maintains its integrity during baking. The apple flavor is not complex but quite zesty, which complements the classic brown sugar-cinnamon combo nicely.

Tasting Notes: Pleasant and mellow, but fairly plain apple flavor. Huge with some shape, but skin split and faded to a drab brick color. Skin is just slightly tough; Guy found the flesh "mushy."

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