British Apple Varieties

The British Bramley cooking apple has been grown in Britain for 200 years, and is still the apple of choice for most people cooking with apples, as it provides such a perfect balance between sharp and mellow, and cooks to such a light, airy froth.  However, despite the reduction over the last 30 years from 55,000 acres of apple orchards in Britain, to just 4,886 today, there is still a great interest in ancient varieties, and Raymond Blanc is planning to plant an orchard of 6,000 fruit trees in the grounds of his restaurant: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.   He has tasted over 600 varieties of apples. Here are some recommendations:

Eating Apples:  The Egremont Russet is remarkably nutty; the 18th Century Orleans Reinette is very flavoursome; the Cox’s Orange Pippin is very common, but still one of the finest English dessert apples.

Apples for sauces or purées:  The Adams Pearmain is richly aromatic; the D’Arcy Spice has hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, a late apple, picked in November; and the Cheddar Cross is creamy, white-fleshed, green and russet (greenish-brown to yellowish-brown colour).

Apples for pies and tarts:  The Bramley, of course, as mentioned above; but try also the sweeter varieties:  Blenheim Orange – warm and nutty, which cooks to a stiff purée; or Captain Kidd – sweet and juicy.

Tarte tatin: use Winter Gem – a late-season modern apple with aromatic flavour; Jonagold – white flesh and well-balanced sweet and acid taste; or Winston – firm, juicy, sweet and aromatic.

Bramley Egremont Russet Orleans Reinette
Cox’s Orange Pippin  Adams Pearmain  D’Arcy Spice 
Cheddar Cross  Blenheim Orange Captain Kidd 
Winter Gem  Jonagold  Winston 

Some of this information was taken from an article by Anna Pavord in The Independent on 29/09/12 on Bramley apples.  Click on the link in the last sentence to see the full article.

A lot of this information was sourced from The Week, Issue 891, on 20/10/12.    See

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