Antique Apples

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Jenny Watts
    • Bare root season is here. Choose and plant your favorite fruit trees and roses now.
    • Spring flowers and vegetables can be started from seeds now on your window sill. Try pansies and snapdragons, broccoli, cabbage and lettuces.
    • Lilacs and wisteria have beautiful spring flowers. They come in a variety of colors and can be planted now from bare-root plants.
    • Delicious raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, boysenberries and blueberries are all available now for early planting.

Highly Esteemed Antique Apples
Add some taste variety to your apple orchard

        Apples. Red, round, crisp and cool. The list of adjectives doesn’t have to stop there. An apple can be much more flavorful than the few you’ve tasted from the market.

        The orchards of North America have produced well over a thousand named apple varieties, each one with its characteristic color, aura and flavor. These antique apples are worth exploring to rediscover the remarkable variety of flavors hidden inside the modest apple.

        Ashmead’s Kernel is an apple that has been around for over 200 years since its discovery in England. This is widely regarded as one of the all-time best-flavored apples. It is one of the best cider apples and a good one to store for winter eating since it becomes sweet, juicy and aromatic as it ripens a few weeks after harvest.

Cox Orange Pippin is the classic English apple, often regarded as the finest of all dessert apples. Dating back to 1830 in England, it remains unsurpassed for its richness and complexity of flavor. Firm, juicy, and sweet, it is at its best when picked fully ripe straight from the tree.

Originally from Russia, Red Astrachan is a beautiful summer apple with firm, coarse flesh that is very tart. It makes flavorful dried apples, and some old-timers rate this the best for pie.

Spitzenburg was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple. Unexcelled in flavor or quality, the fruit is great off the tree, but flavor radically improves in storage. A perfect balance between sharp and sweet, it is recommended for applesauce, apple butter and baking.

White Winter Pearmain is a very old apple, perhaps dating back to 1200 A.D. This high quality, all-purpose apple has a rich, almost sweet flavor. It is a vigorous, healthy tree and the fruit keeps well.

        The dark, waxy skin of Arkansas Black encloses a golden flesh that is juicy, and crisp with a nice aroma.  It is a late apple that keeps for many months, and is excellent for cooking and making desserts.

Hudson’s Golden Gem is perhaps the finest eating russeted apple with crisp, breaking, sugary flesh and a distinct nutty flavor that resembles the Bosc pear. Fruit is conical, elongated, yellow and russeted, and it is quite disease resistant.

“Heritage” apples, also called heirloom or antique apples, are the old varieties that have stood the test of time, generally for over 50 years. Some well-known heirlooms are Yellow Newton Pippin, a snappy, tart apple famous for cooking and excellent dried; Rome Beauty, prized for its baking qualities; Golden Delicious with mild, sweet, distinctive flavor.

Braeburn, a late season apple that is very popular now; Mutsu, a bright green, all-purpose apple; Pink Pearl, a pink-fleshed, highly aromatic fruit; Gravenstein, famous for sauce and baking; and York, an excellent keeper with fine quality for dessert use.

Tantalize your taste buds with one of these old-time favorites.