Sunday, 6 September 2009

Evaluation: Tydeman's Early Worcester

This is a bit harsh, but I think this is the worst apple variety I grow (after the one I suspect to be Sturmer pippin). I've given it quite a few years of grace now, but each crop has been disappointing.

Let's start off with flavour. The skins, though attractive and reasonably thin, are bitter. The flavour on first bite is not too bad, but soon the bitter, slightly tannic quality emerges. Even when peeled, the bitterness is still detectable and slightly astringent. The flesh has a soft, slight strawberry taste if well-ripened, but without sufficient sweetness or acidity to counter the bitter skin quality. Very occasionally a single fruit will ripen well (probably the king fruits), but the ones that don't can taste vile. 

Taking a bite from a tree-ripened Worcester Pearmain just after eating a Tydeman's Worcester, the fruit is much sweeter in comparison, with pleasantly fruity level of acid and a pleasantly fragrant pear-drops flavour; rather more aromatic than expected. The flesh is quite crisp, and I think probably keeps rather better than Tydeman's (though I never finish the latter in all honesty; most end up as chicken food).

TEW is also very susceptible to wasp damage, and the earliest, best-ripened fruits will probably be wasted. The tree habit isn't great either (mine is a small half-standard on M26), quite whippy and inclined to bend/break under the weight. Cropping is good, but then what is the point if the fruit isn't very nice? If you like early, fruity, soft-fleshed red apples, Devonshire Quarrenden has a better flavour.

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