Saturday, 26 November 2011
Unidentified 'wrong' variety
Well the day arrived when the mystery apples finally started to turn a little yellow and less bullet-hard than they had been. They came from graft wood sold to me as Ard Cairn Russet, a very sweet, slightly dry russet. Clearly the striped red fruit are just about as different a variety as you could get.
The flavour was pure bitterness. We peeled the second one, in case the bitterness was mainly in the skin (as can happen with a lot of red apples, esp. if poorly ripened) but the taste was equally disgusting. The only explanation for this is that it must be some sort of cider variety, probably a bitter-sweet, as there was very little acid in the flavour. The nearest for appearance is Foxwhelp, although this is a bitter-sharp. I suppose we will never know, especially as the dreadful Deacon's Nursery who supplied the wood have refused all communication on the matter of all these wrongly-supplied varieties.
Meanwhile, my in-laws now have a sizeable, heavily bearing tree of entirely inedible apples. If it's not biennial bearing, I'll try making cider from them next year.
Looking for identification guides for ciders reminded me to go to the excellent Gloucestershire Orchard Group, which has an excellent directory of cultivars local to the area, as well as a lot of other information.