I live in the foothills above Hollywood, where various types of homeless people tend to hang out. In addition to used condoms, human feces, and tangled balls of weave, I see a lot of discarded apple pipes. Different colors and levels of craftsmanship appear in the mornings. Some, delicately tucked into the crevasses of trees, are awaiting later use. Others, gnawed around the blackened bowl, are strewn in the gutter.
Though most of what goes on in the shadows around here ranges from sad to scary, the local vagrant scene is killing it with their resurrection of the apple pipe. Aside from hippies and high school kids, this trick is underutilized. Completely biodegradable and tinging smoke with fruit flavor, they’re cheaper than a one-hitter, available wherever food is sold, and great for road trips or any on-the-go situation. Versatile, eco-friendly, accessible, the question becomes, which variety of apple is best suited to be transformed into a pot smoking device? To answer this burning question, we rounded up five common apples, and tested them out. Here are the results, from best to worst.
Gala apples are the best for a number of reasons. While juicy, they’re not mealy. Mealy is the worst thing an apple pipe can possibly be, as a loose, crumbly texture clogs smoke canals. The Gala’s skin is thin, so it’s easy to make precise holes, while the flesh is strong enough to maintain its structure throughout the process. They don’t brown quickly, and add a faint yet delightful flavor to the experience.
Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smiths come in at a close second, their most alluring quality being accessibility. You’re not going to find a Gala apple at a Circle K in Nebraska when that summer road trip you agreed to reaches untold levels of boredom. They aren’t very juicy, so making the pipe isn’t messy. The flesh is crisp and dense, producing a solid bowl that will last a while. The only drawback is that Grannys brown fast, and once they do, you can taste a rotten, saccharine undertone.
Pink Lady Apples
While stunning in color and flavor, the Pink Lady is too juicy/mealy to make a good smoking device. It was hard to pull the smoke through the clog, and when I did, the weed sucked too far into the wet flesh of the bowl.
Disclaimer: At this point, I’ve begun to feel uncomfortable with myself in a Law and Order: SVU sort of way. Sitting alone in my apartment, shoving a screwdriver into bleeding fruit named Granny and Pink Lady, smoking out of them, rating their performance with words like juicy and flesh, then posing them for post-mortem prom pics complete with a sparkle blue backdrop like a psycho. Even my dog left the room.
Fuji apples are a sweet and sensitive fruit, not built for this kind of activity. They bruise to the touch, and brown almost immediately. After the trauma of becoming a pipe, my Fuji was a sad mess. Though there was a distinct flavor to the smoke that was not as palpable as the other apples, I would still stick to eating these.
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Red Delicious Apples
Beautiful with an air of fairytale romance, Red Delicious apples are terrible for smoking weed. Like an Instagram model, they suffer from a condition called “vanity ripeness,” where cultivators of the thick-skinned variety have sacrificed flavor and integrity for cosmetic appearance. As I began to make the pipe, Red’s not-so-delicious insides turned to mush. Sludge shot at me from the apple, turning brown before I was even done poking the holes. At one point I screamed, then thought putting weed into this bowl would be like voluntarily dipping a blunt in a dirt slurpee. I did it anyway, and was correct. Weed disappeared down the goop hole. It wouldn’t even light. The whole thing was disgusting.
This was one of the strangest things I’ve ever done, and made me feel like the world’s most benign serial killer. Basically, if the apple is mushy in any way it’s going to suck as a pipe. If you’re around a Gala, get that. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, like a Walmart or something, get a Granny Smith. If you ever come into contact with a Red Delicious apple, throw that shit in the trash and slap whoever gave it to you.
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