Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Apple Day

I've been wanting to visit the Apple Day at Lotherton Hall for the last few years but for one reason or another I've always managed to miss it. Not so this year. It was held on Sunday and we got there nice and early.


The orchard was already filled with people picking the apples off the trees.


Armed with a book, which told us which tree was which variety, and a grabber, which enabled us to pick the uppermost apples, we set off to see which apples took our fancy.


The first ones we picked were Malster, a dual-purpose apple which originated in England and was known to exist in 1830. It's briskly acid when fresh, well adapted for cooking and sometimes used as a dessert apple when matured.


I chose five of these as I decided I'd make them into a crumble.


The next one was picked from a tree which didn't have much fruit on it. I'm not sure if it hadn't produced much or if it had already been stripped by others before us.


This is Edward VII, another dual-purpose apple which was first recorded in 1902, the year of the king's coronation. I only picked one of these, but I made sure that I kept it separate from the five I'd already picked from the other tree as it looked very similar.


The next tree was literally covered in fruit, I think perhaps because the apples don't look quite as attractive as some others.


Ashmead's Kernel is a dessert apple, developed in the 1700s by Dr Ashmead of Gloucester, England and is supposed to have a unique pear drop flavour.


My own Gloster apple tree has produced very well this year, the branches are literally bent by the weight of the fruit.


The apples are a deep red, very attractive to look at. I picked these four to take for my mum and dad but I picked an extra one for myself so that I could taste it and compare it to those I'd picked at Lotherton.


Now the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, so what did they taste like?


Well, the Edward VII was very tart, though it can be used as a cooker too so that's not really surprising. I don't mind a tart apple though. The Ashmead's Kernel was rather tart too, even though it's considered a dessert apple. None of us detected the unique pear drop flavour though. We tried a Gloster from my little tree in the garden alongside the ones we brought home from Lotherton, this was a much sweeter apple, a little like a Golden Delicious at first but with more of a tart aftertaste.

Both Mick and I agreed that we liked the Gloster best, followed by the Ashmead's Kernel and then the Edward VII. Eleanor totally disagreed with us, preferring the Edward VII followed by the Ashmead's Kernel and the Gloster came in last place for her. Another thing to note is that the apples from Lotherton started turning brown almost as soon as they were cut into, the Gloster held it's crisp, white colour, I'm not sure why this would be.

As for the Malster, I bought these with the intention of making a crumble but I haven't got round to that yet. Eleanor wasn't at home for tea on Monday, last night we went out for a meal with Eleanor, her boyfriend and his parents before they both return to uni, and Mick's working in Basingstoke today so he's decided to make the most of being just forty minutes away from where Daniel's now living and he's staying overnight so that he can spend the evening with him.

I'm sure the crumble will get made soon.

40 comments:

  1. Thanks Jo, that was interesting. I'm sure apples don't taste the same as when I was little, but most these days aren't the same varieties as then. I've not heard of the ones you've mentioned, but look forward to your review on the apple crumble apples. Take care.

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    1. I think lots of apple types have been lost over the years so I always enjoy trying old varieties. I think some of them have really interesting names.

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  2. What a great day out. I've been to an apple day before but not one where you can pick your own.
    Apple crumble is always a good idea. X

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    1. There were lots of children who were thoroughly engaged in choosing which apples they wanted, I think being able to use the grabbers increased their interest. I much prefer a crumble to a pie.

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  3. Taste buds do change as you get older. Good job really that the Gloster came out well. Do Lotherton change you for apples picked or an entrance fee? If it's just an entrance fee I guess people can be greedy

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    1. There's an entrance fee to get into Lotherton Hall Estate, I think it's about £6 per person, but we have annual membership so we can visit as often as we like. There's no additional charge for the apple day itself but the apples are charged at 10p each. There's a £1 despoit on the books and a £5 deposit on the grabbers, but those are refunded when you return them. There was also someone demonstrating an apple press and the juice could be tasted and there was bottled apple juice on sale. It was a well attended event.

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  4. What an interesting mix of apples thank you for the history too, lovely that those varieties have stood the test of time. xcx

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    1. It is. I jump at the chance to try old varieties as they're usually more flavoursome than newer types.

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  5. What a great idea to open to the public for Apple picking. I have to say, your Glouster looks so red and appetising it would win for me xx

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    1. I'm glad the apples don't get wasted, you see so many orchards with fruit just rotting on the ground, there were lots of people only too happy to pick them. I'm very happy with my Gloster apple tree, not only has it produced a really good crop for such a small tree but it tastes really good too.

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  6. An interesting post as I like apples and generally eat one most days. If I had a full size plot I'd certainly grow a couple of dwarf trees. Enjoy the crumble. xx

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    1. The dwarf trees don't take up much space at all, I've got two dwarf apple trees, a plum tree and a slightly larger cherry tree in my garden, they don't need a lot of room. They're all doing much better in the ground than they did in containers.

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  7. Sounds like great fun. I like a crispy, slightly sharp apple, it must have be lovely to try these old fashioned varieties rather than the super market varieties. 🍏

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    1. It's always interesting to try things which aren't ordinarily available. I think we're all used to such a small variety of apples these days yet there's hundreds of different types out there if we only got the change to try them.

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  8. The first thing I noticed was how far apart the trees in the orchard were planted - is this a specialty orchard? Around here, you would likely have 2 additional trees planted in the space between those in the photos.

    I was looking at our trees just yesterday and noticed that 2 of the smaller apples had fallen off of one. This is our first year with apples so I only have a rough idea as to when they should be mature. We, of course, tried the ones that fell - they were on the tart side (but like you, I don't mind tart - one of my favourite apples is Granny Smith) but they didn't seem to be very juicy, which I'm hoping means that they were still not fully ripe. Like your orchard apples, they turned brown within minutes of being cut into - I know that some apples are much more susceptible to this than others but I'm wondering if those that are under ripe also turn brown more quickly.

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    1. I think, perhaps, the photos may show the trees set in more space than they really are. They do have plenty of space around them but there's lots of trees planted in the orchard. Granny Smith is one of my favourite apples of the ones we buy from the supermarket, I enjoy a tart flavour. I had the same thoughts about the apples turning brown, either some varieties are more prone to this or else they may be not be quite ripe. The apples on my Gloster tree haven't started falling yet so I'm leaving the remainder for now, I don't think they're fully ripe until October.

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  9. I like the idea of picking your own and that you had a guide as to which apple was which. I like a sweet apple to just eat so I chose a Red Delicious and to make into a pie I want a tart one so I chose Granny Smith, it's a green apple.

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    1. The guide was very handy, it had information on each variety too. I think red apples look very appetising but I do enjoy tart Granny Smiths.

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  10. What a fantastic day out, sounds great fun, hope you enjoy the crumble

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    1. It was definitely something a bit different and very interesting too. I really enjoy apple crumble so I'm looking forward to making one.

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  11. What a lovely thing to do, Jo, and what a marvellous selection of apples, they all look so beautiful. Those bright pinky red ones look as bright as radishes! I've recently bought two books on apples, and I have the lovely English Apple book by Rosanne Sanders, which has the most gorgeous paintings of apples I've ever seen.
    Margaret P

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    1. It was something a little out of the ordinary. I was surprised by the number of different apples they had, so many varieties, and some hundreds of years old. It was all very interesting.

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  12. I have never been to an apple picking day before, sounds good and certainly something that I would enjoy. How wonderful to learn some of the history.

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    1. It was my first apple day too. We've been meaning to go to this particular one for quite a few years now but have kept missing it, I'm glad we finally managed it.

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  13. What an interesting post and event. I really enjoyed this. I've never heard of any of these apple varieties! I even grew up in NY, which is definitely apple country. Just the other day, my son was showing me a page in a trivia book he'd borrowed from the library that if you ate one apple per day, it would take you more than 20 years to try all the different kinds. Whoa.

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    1. There were only a few apples in the orchard which I'd heard the names of before. That's some statistic which your son told you of, it's amazing how many varieties there are, though it's quite sad that many old ones are being lost. I really enjoyed the event and I hope I can go again next year.

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  14. The apples you picked look lovely, Jo. We're thinking of getting an apple tree so I'll keep an eye out for a Gloster.

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    1. I'd definitely recommend Gloster, it's produced loads this year, yet it's only a small tree, and the apples taste lovely. They're very attractive too.

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  15. PS Jo, Apple Day is the 21st October each year (the same day as Trafalgar Day). This event started in 1990 to highlight orchards (as they were fast disappearing.) Events take place all over the country on or around this day every year.
    Margaret P

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  16. What an interesting thing to do. I rather liked the sound of the Ashmead's Kernel so it was disappointing to read the pear drop couldn't be tasted. And interesting that they browned so quickly.
    Apple crumble? I hope you enjoy! A good crumble just screams autumn don't you think? Must make one myself soon.

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    1. I must admit that I was rather looking forward to tasting an apple with a pear drop flavour, it's a shame it didn't come through. I've no idea why the apples should brown so quickly, perhaps that's down to variety, I really don't know. Mick won't be home until late tonight so crumble is still off the menu but I might be able to get it made over the weekend, I'm looking forward to it.

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  17. Thank you for sharing the review of the apples you picked during the Apple Day at Lotherton Hall. I've been trying to eat more fruit as part of a healthier diet and have got a new taste for apples and I'm now interested in finding the English varieties in the supermarket. Our little apple tree (Falstaff Red) is loaded this year, but not ready for eating. The apples from your own tree look lovely.

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    1. I think it's been a good year for apples, most of the trees at Lotherton were loaded and my own little Gloster tree is also covered in fruit. I'd like to try more old apple varieties now.

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  18. So many different varieties. Enjoyed reading about your visit. Unfortunately I can't eat apples due to their sorbitol (naturally occurring) content. My mouth is watering over your post and would still love to eat them though. Cx

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    1. I can't imagine being unable to eat apples, they're one fruit which I've eaten regularly throughout my life. It was a lovely day out and I must make sure that I go again next year.

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  19. An interesting post... what a great idea to pick apples and taste test them.

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    1. It's such a good idea, so many different varieties to try. I hope to go again next year.

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  20. It's a good many years that I went to an Apple Day.
    This did sound a very nice day out. A lovely idea that you can pick your own too.
    I think we all have slightly different likes and preferences when it comes to our more favourite apple.

    All the best Jan

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    1. There were lots of families there enjoying the day, all the children where having a wonderful time picking the apples. There's so many varieties with lots of different flavours, something for everyone.

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