[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples
lilinah at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 26 10:17:43 PDT 2008
Apples are so common... and yet... i know that many of the varieties
most commonly found in the supermarket are fairly recent hybrids. And
i have trouble finding many of the apples i remember from 40 years
ago. I've read that modern apples are being bred to be sweeter and
sweeter, although we can still find some tart apples in the
This curiosity was brought on by a recent cooking competition in
which a couple judges were complaining that an entrant had not use
period apples, as if we can find them in the supermarket.
I cannot grow my own trees in my second floor apartment, but if
someone has land, here's a great source of historical fruiting plants
(not just apples)
Trees of Antiquity sells all sorts of amazing fruit trees, they even
have a few SCA-period apples, which is something one can't find in
the supermarket. Here are trees they carry (no, they do not sell
fruit, only trees)
The earliest trees i saw listed are:
WHITE PEARMAIN - England 1200 A.D. - Oldest known English Apple.
CALVILLE BLANC - France 1598 - gourmet culinary apple of France...
SUMMER RAMBO - France 1535 (Rambour Franc) - Large red fruit, bright
striped. Breaking, crisp, exceptionally...
LADY (Christmas Apple, Api) - France 1600 - Traditionally used in
Christmas decorations and...
COURT PENDU PLAT - Europe 1613 (probably Roman) - The name is derived
from Corps Pendu, referring to the shortness...
API ETOILE (Star Lady) - Switzerland 1600's - Very unusual oblate
(flattened) shape looking like a rounded...
ROXBURY RUSSET - Massachusetts prior to 1649 - Excellent old American
cider apple, a keeper and good for eating...
RHODE ISLAND GREENING - Rhode Island 1650 - Favorite American cooking
apple known in earliest colonial...
CALVILLE ROUGE D'AUTOMNE - France 1670 - Large, with characteristic
ribbed Calville shape.
There's more info on line for all of them...
And, yes, i read the Florilegium file, apples-msg. The link above is
to growers who have replaced the Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery, which
is no longer. The URL for SAAN is now a placeholder only and has
nothing about fruit trees on it.
So, what varieties are available today (without growing one's own)
that are period or close to period? Are Pippins as close as we can
get? (crab apples are an awful lot of work for a feast)
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita
More information about the Sca-cooks