[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples

Lilinah 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

My LibraryThing

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