Anyone fancy starting a Campaign for Real Apples?


In 1831, the Horticultural Society of London believed there were as many as 1,500 varieties of apples, although it believed many of the older varieties of apples were ‘worn out.’ Loudon’s 1835 Encyclopaedia of Gardening lists hundreds of varieties of apples, with names as romantic as their origins. The White Juneating, a variety of Owen’s Golden Beauty, was known in England before 1688. This small, roundish, pale yellow apple was tender, crisp and juicy, ripened in July, lasted until August and grew on a small tree. By contrast, the Keswick Codlin, which as its name implies originated, in Keswick, Cumberland, circa 1800, was a medium sized greenish-yellow apple, with a conical shape and juicy and ‘subacid’ flavour. loudonRipening a month later than the Juneating, it grew on ‘healthy trees.’ loudon1Apples were recommended for comfits, jellies and making apple bread ‘full of eyes, and extremely palatable and light.’ Ripe apples were reputed to have had a laxative affect and the juice was ‘excellent in dysentery’ and ‘equally efficacious in putrid and malignant fevers.’ It was used in perfumes and brewing and the wood of the tree was used for dying fabric and wood turning. The apple was ‘of more use and benefit to the public in general, than all the other fruits, the produce of this island, united.’[1] During the 1960s, Britain followed North America’s example and grubbed up traditional apple orchards[2] and replaced them with mostly imported ‘supermarket’ apples that are uniform in shape and size and, frankly, tasteless and uninspiring.

Given the choice wouldn’t you much rather have a local-grown conical, juicy and ‘subacid’ apple than the insipid greenish/pink tasteless spongy thing that passes for an apple today?

                                                              Anyone fancy starting a Campaign for Real Apples?

[1] Loudon 1835 p.888

[2] Allotment and Leisure Gardener Issue 4 2008 p.22

Comments are closed.