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Five Acres Wholesome Food - Apple Varieties

Apple Year Type Season Description History
Adam's Pearmain 1826 Dessert November - March Aromatic and nutty - and slightly perfumed, according to Hogg. Considered to be one of the 'essential' apples for the Victorian and Edwardian dessert Although introduced in 1826 by a Mr Adam's as Norfolk Pearmain, Hogg can find no connection with Norfolk; he believed it to be the Hanging Pearmain of Herefordshire which was also known as Lady's Finger in the County (but not the cider apple of the same name)
Allington Pippin 1884 Dual Purpose November - December Can be sharp and needs a good year. Keeps shape when cooked Raised by Thomas Laxton as a King of the Pippins X Cox's Orange Pippin cross
Annie Elizabeth 1857 Culinary November - March White, firm and crisp flesh, needs little sugar when cooked. Large fruit from a compact tree with beautiful blossom. Can be eaten as a dessert when fully ripe Raised by Samuel Greatorex and named after his baby daughter, the original tree still stood in Leicester during the 1970s. It was claimed to be a seedling grown from the Blenheim Orange and was a common market apple up to the 1930s. It received the RHS First Class Certificate in 1868.
Ashmead's Kernel 1700 Dessert November - February Known as the connoisseur's apple, this is one of the finest desserts. Rich and sweet, it improves with age and is gradually regaining its popularity, although its dull appearance counts against it for supermarket sales Raised by Dr. Ashmead, a physician from Gloucester, in a garden on which Clarence Street was subsequently built. Its parent is probably Nonpareil with which it shares a characteristic sweet/sharp taste. Hogg finds it was little known in the C18th despite its local popularity in west Gloucestershire but it became a Victorian favourite
Blenheim Orange 1740 Dual Purpose October - January Dry, nutty taste, appropriately described by Joan Morgan of Brogdale as addictive. It does not break up when cooked so is widely used in French patisserie for tarte tatin and other dishes. Ripens in November to a beautiful, large dessert Raised as a seedling on the edges of Blenheim Palace in the C18th, it became a gardeners favourite and people came for graftwood from all over England. Hogg quotes the Gardener's Chronicle of 1860s "In a somewhat dilapidated corner of the decaying borough of ancient Woodstock, within ten yards of the wall of Blenheim Park, stands all that remains of the original stump of that beautiful and justly celebrated apple, the Blenheim Orange....Old Grimmett, the basket-maker... can remember the time when, fifty years ago .. thousands thronged from all parts to gaze on it"
Braddick Nonpareil 1818 Dessert November - March Larger and better coloured than Nonpareil, it has the same characteristic sweet/sharp taste, reminiscent of acid drops. Hogg describes it as one of the best winter dessert apples, which is probably a slight exaggeration Raised by John Braddick esq., who was a horticulturalist from Thames Ditton. It was first exhibited at the London Horticultural Society in 1818
Brownlees' Russet 1848 Dessert December - March Nonpareil type apple, but sweeter and larger with greenish-white flesh and a dull green russeted and rough skin. Another apple that is too ugly to be popular. Hogg recommends it for cooking as well as dessert. Introduced by William Brownlees, a nurseryman from Hemel Hempstead. The Victorians prized it as a late dessert apple and the Edwardians for its beautiful pink blossom
Catshead pre 1629 Culinary October - January Cooks to a sharp puree. Hogg detects a slightly perfumed flavour Mentioned by Parkinson in 1629 it is so named because, in profile and after some cider, it can look like a cat's head. Its square shape made it useful for apple dumplings, Ellis wrote in the Modern Husbandman (1750) "a very useful apple to the farmer, because one of them pared and wrapped up in dough serves with little trouble for making an apple dumpling, so much in request with the Kentish farmer"
Christmas Pearmain 1893 Dessert November - January A firm, crisp, juicy and sweet apple without a stong aroma. Raised by Mr. Manser and introduced by Bunyards of Maidstone
Cornish Aromatic 1813 Dessert December - February Hogg describes it as a valuable, highly-aromatic dessert apple of first-rate quality. Firm flesh with a sweet-sharp pear-drop quality. Joan Morgan describes it as capable of an almost spicy flavour - but can also be flavourless and chewy Intoduced by the Cornishman Sir Christopher Hawkins, who sent it to the London Horticultural Society in 1813 - though the apple is probably much older
Cornish Gillyflower 1800 Dessert November - February Rich and aromatic, it develops a characteristic 'flowery' quality as it ages Found growing in a garden in Truro c1800 it was, like the Cornish Aromatic, introduced in 1813 by Sir Christopher Hawkins. The Victorians prized it highly.
Costard 1292 Culinary October - February Passable cooker that cooks to a yellow froth. Of no great merit but of great historical interest First mentioned in the fruiterers' bills of Edward I where 100 apples were purchased for one shilling. Gave its name to the apple sellers or Costard-mongers (Costermongers) of Tudor England. Some consider Costard to be identical to Catshead - this is clearly not the case in the Brogdale wood used in our orchard. William Lawson wrote, in 1597 "A good pipping will grow large, and a Costard tree: stead them on the north side of your other apples, thus being placed, the least will give sunne to the rest, and the greatest will shroud their fellowes". What else need be said!
Court of Wick 1790 Dessert October - December Well flavoured apple with characteristics inherited from its parent, the Golden Pippin. Said to have originated at Court of Wick, near Yatton in Somerset. Hogg considered it to be one of the finest dessert apples of the Victorian period
Court Pendu Plat pre 1540 Dessert December - April Small, crisp with a pineapple-like acidity The origins of this apple are much discussed, some believing it to be a direct descendant of the Cestiana apple described by Pliny in the first Century AD. Estienne named it Court Pendu in 1540 (because it has a short stalk) and it was mentioned as Capenda by Parkinson in 1629. Hogg knew it as Garnons after the residence of the Cotterell family in Herefordshire, where it was grown without a name.It is the latest apple tree to blossom and, because it always misses the frost, it is also known as the Wise Apple
Crawley Beauty 1870 Dual Purpose November - February Cooks to a lightly flavoured puree and ripens to a pleasant dessert Found in a garden at Tilgate near Crawley in Sussex it was introduce by garden designer and nurseryman Joseph Cheal in 1906 and received the RHS Award of Merit in 1912. It is still a popular Sussex garden variety
D'Arcy Spice 1785 Dessert January - May Can be aromatic and spicy in a good year, but needs a lot of autumn sunshine and seldom reaches perfection outside its native East Anglia Found growing in the garden of The Hall, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, near Colchester. Hogg said that many old trees of the variety still existed in the area in the 1870s. It was sold commercially in 1848 by John Harris of Broomfield near Chelmsford, from graftwood taken from one of the old trees at Tolleshunt D'Arcy
Devonshire Quarrenden 1690 Dessert Mid August - Mid September An early dessert, the flesh is often stained red and has quite a rich, vinous flavour. As with all early apples, it does not have a depth of flavour and does not keep long - but it is one of the best. The earliest record Hogg can find is in the Compleat Planter and Cyderist in 1690. Morgan cites Worlidge as a reference from 1676. The earliest catalogue reference is from Miller & Sweet of Bristol, in 1790. It is assumed to be a Devonian apple, though it may have taken it name from the Carentan apple of Normandy
Duke of Devonshire 1835 Dessert January - March Joan Morgan describes it as sweeter than Nonpareil, but not as rich as the Ashmead's Kernel, which sums it up well. Hogg describes it as crisp, juicy, rich and sweet, with a fine aroma. Raised by the head gardener to the Duke of Devonshire at Holker Hall, near Grange over Sands. Was a popular market apple up to the 1930s
Dumelow's Seedling 1790s Culinary November - April Brisk, juicy, with a slight aromatic flavour. Cooks to a puree and is very good for baking Raised by a farmer at Shakerstone, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the late C18th, it was presented to the London Horticultural Society in 1820 and became known as Wellington apple in the London markets. Overtaken in poularity by the Bramley in the early C20th.
Early Julyan pre 1800 Dual Purpose Late July - Late August Cooks to a bright yellow puree but is not a great dessert, becoming soft and uninteresting. It's main attraction is that it ripens very early The origins of this apple are unknown although Hogg believed it to be Scottish. It was first introduced to the south by Ronalds of Brentford. It's name comes from it being ready to pick as a cooker in July
Egremont Russet 1872 Dessert October - December Traditional russet taste, inclined to go soft in store Probably the only russet regularly seen on supermarket shelves. Probably raised at the Egremont estate in Petworth, Sussex. Received the RHS Award of Merit in 1980, at a time when interest was increasing in russet apples.
Ellison's Orange 1904 Dessert Mid September - Late October Lovely rich, aromatic apple that ripens to a give hint of aniseed in late October. Best eaten before mid November Raised by a keen rosarian and orcharder, the Reverend C C Ellison who raised it along with his 1500 other trees at Bracebridge Manse in Lincolnshire. It received the RHS First Class Certificate in 1917 and was planted commercially before WWII but its biennial bearing habit meant it was superseded by other more reliable varieities.
Grange's Pearmain 1829 Dual Purpose November - March Bakes well with a pleasant acidity which mellows to a pineapple-like dessert Raised by James Grange, a market gardener at Kingsland in Middlesex, who was also a fruiterer in Covent Garden and Picadilly. He died in 1829 (aged 70) so the apple dates from some time before then.
Herrings Pippin 1908 Dessert September - October A big, red apple with a decent taste that can be aromatic and some detect a hint of spiciness Morgan says probably raised by Mr. Herring of Lincoln.
Irish Peach 1819 Dessert August Can be quite rich and aromatic although can also be brisk and balsamic. One of the best early dessert apples, it needs to be eaten within a few days of being picked Probably arose in County Sligo. It was sent to the London Horticultural Society in 1819 by John Robertson, a nurseryman from Kilkenny. Grown by London and Kentish market gardeners in C19th
James Grieve 1893 Dual Purpose September - November Juicy with quite a strong acidity which fades as it matures. Decent flavour and keeps its shape when cooked Introduce by James Grieve in Edinburgh, possibly as a seedling of Cox's Orange Pippin. Awarded RHS First Class Certificate in 1906.
King of the Pippins c1800 Dual Purpose October - January Quite sweet with plenty of acidity, Hogg found it one of the richest flavoured early desserts. Keeps its shape when cooked and favoured by French cooks. Named by the Brompton Road Nursery at the beginning of C19th, it may have been a French import where a similar apple is known as Reine des Reinettes and arose in the 1770s. Its history is somewhat confused, some believe it to be an old apple called the Golden Winter Pearmain
Margil 1750 Dessert October - December Small, juicy rich and intensely flavoured Documented from the Brompton Park Nursery in 1750 and probably known long before that, according to Hogg, who beleives that it may have been imported from the continent by George London, who worked in the gardens at Versailles.
Nonpareil 1500s Dessert December - March Intense sweet-sharp taste, reminsicent of acid drops. The likely ancestor of many modern varieties - it needs a good autumn to finish well, otherwise it can be sharp Almost certainly of French origin. Hogg documents that it may have been imported to the UK by Jesuits in the time of Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth I, though it is questioned why such a good apple for the time was only documented by one writer. In the Chartreux catalogue it was said "elle est forte estimee em Angleterre"
Orleans Reinette 1776 Dessert November - January Beautiful, large apple with a taste that is reminiscent of sweet oranges. Does not keep well and, unusually, it benefits from being stored in plastic bags Grown across Europe, it received the RHS Award of Merit in 1914
Peasgood Nonsuch 1872 Culinary September - December Yellow flesh cooks to a sweet puree and makes a good-sized baked apple Riased by Mr. Peasgood of Stamford, Lincolnshire and present, in 1872, to the Fruit Committee of the RHS who declared it to be "one of the most handsome apples in cultivation
Pine Golden Pippin 1861 Dessert October - December Small apple with a pleasant sweet-acid pineapple-like flavour, with a slightly resinous background Hogg documents the earliest reference as being in the RHS catalogue, it having been sent by Messrs. Dickson & Son of Hawick
Pitmaston Pineapple 1785 Dessert Late October - December An unusual apple, it is very small, brightly coloured and highly flavoured - a favourite with our Customers. It has an intense sweet-sharp, almost honeyed flavour. Hogg deemed it to be "of the greatest excellence" A Golden Pippin seedling. Hogg says it was raised by Mr. Williams of Pitmaston, near Worcester; Morgan says it was raised by Mr White, steward to Lord Foley of Stoke Edith, Herefordshire. Whatever, it is an excellent little apple!
Ribston Pippin 1707 Dessert October - January Firm, crisp and deeply aromatic flavour. Reaches perfection after a warm autumn. Cox's Orange Pippin is believed to be a seedling of the Ribston. A common market apple up to the 1930s and beyond, the original tree was found growing in the gardens of Ribston Hall near Knaresborough. Hogg recounts the story that it emerged from a pip imported from France around 1688. The original tree was blown down in a gale in 1810 but, supported by stakes, survived until it finally died in 1835
Rosemary Russet 1831 Dessert November - March Yellow flesh that is tender and aromatic and has the characteristic sweet-sharp taste of the Nonpareil family Described by nurseryman Ronalds, of Brentford, in 1831. It is not really a russet apple
St. Edmund's Pippin 1875 Dessert Late September - October One of the best desserts. Described by Morgan as tasting like pear-flavoured vanilla ice-cream, it has a rich, almost cloying sweetness that is very popular Also known as St. Edmund's Russet it was raised by Mr. Harvey of Bury St. Edmund's. It received the RHS First CLass Certificate in 1875
Sturmer Pippin 1800 Dessert January - May Crisp, with a rich, but brisk, sugary flavour. Needs a good autumn to build up sugar - we often leave this one on the tree until December or January Raised by Mr. Dillistone, a nurseryman of Sturmer, Near Haverhill in Suffolk and said to be a cross between a Ribston Pippin impregnated with pollen from a Nonpareil. Its long-keeping quality allowed it to lay the foundations of the South African and New Zealand export markets and it was a major commercial variety within living memory
William Crump 1910 Dessert November - February A beautiful apple with a lovely, intense, sweet-sharp flavour and yellow flesh. One of the best A Cox's Orange Pippin x Worcester Pearmain cross, it was raised by Mr. Carless who was foreman at Rowe's Nurseries, Worcester. When shown to the RHS in 1910, however, it was recorded as having been raised on Madresfield Court Estate - where the Head Gardener was William Crump
Winter Banana 1876 Dessert November - February Sweet and scented in a good year, with soft flesh - a typical American variety. Raised on the farm of David Flory in Cass County, Indiana. It was introduced in 1890 and received the RHS Award of Merit in 1912. Exported to the UK in the early C20th, I'm not really sure what it's doing in our orchard - but it's a nice enough apple