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The affair of the unknown apple

Hi there, when I was small I used to visit the garden of a relative who grew an apple I've never seen before or since.

The tree was of a sprawling habit (some apples were low enough for a child to pick) and the apples themselves were very large, very pale green, almost white, in shape rather like a bell pepper, sort of square to oblong (if that makes sense) and there was always a good crop of them.  They weren't a dessert variety though!  If you bit into a raw one, it was rock hard and tasted of nothing but sourness.  Bake it and sugar it though, and it was a different matter.  The flesh was fluffy, white, and aromatic, tasting more like a very good pear.

This garden was an ordinary urban one, quite close to Wakefield centre.  In fact the apples, whose skins were quite greasy, would be pockmarked with black and need a good scrub.  

So.  It was a tough old tree bearing good crops of wonderful cooking apples.  I feel it must be a well known variety, but not mainstream, but my friend Mr Google can't seem to come up with any answers, so I thought I'd ask you guys.

Thanks for reading and any information much appreciated :)

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  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Just a random guess image.  Could it have been a quince?

  • ziskaziska Posts: 5

    Hi Kitty and thanks :)

    No, it wasn't a quince; the apples were very large, blocky looking, unlike the more elegant quince, and definitely apples.  I've come across quinces though and know what you mean; they too have that woodiness until cooked, make marvellous jelly. :)

  • ziskaziska Posts: 5

    Thanks Muddle-Up - hey, by a coincidence, reading about the Costard-Mongers (costermongers) of London got me on this train of thought, and Costard was the first one I googled, but it's described as being slightly vertically ribbed and flushed, and also pleasant to eat raw too.  It's also said to be extinct, how sad if so :(

    This apple was pale as a peeled potato, and had about the same texture and taste if tried raw ... I wonder how many my mother baked with my hopeful little tooth marks in them lol?

  • DurrendalDurrendal IndiaPosts: 62
    ziska says:

    Thanks Muddle-Up - hey, by a coincidence, reading about the Costard-Mongers (costermongers) of London got me on this train of thought, and Costard was the first one I googled, but it's described as being slightly vertically ribbed and flushed, and also pleasant to eat raw too.  It's also said to be extinct, how sad if so :(

    This apple was pale as a peeled potato, and had about the same texture and taste if tried raw ... I wonder how many my mother baked with my hopeful little tooth marks in them lol?

    See original post

     Memory is a funny thing, especially if its about nostalgia. Now, I am not saying your apple doesn't exist or you won't find it, but you'll probably need to rein in your expectations a bit. Feels like some of the descriptions might paint it in a better light in some regards.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,538

    It could be 'catshead'? It's a very old variety, boxy shaped and usually pale green or yellow fruit. No idea what it would taste like raw but it's definitely a cooker. My aunt had one in her garden but she had lots of lovely eaters too so can't say I ever got round to trying the catsheads raw

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,970

    www.chrisbowers.co.uk/product/apple-catshead/

    The above site shows this very pale Apple that matches your shape description. Not sure what you put into Mr Google I put in Old cooking Apple varieties as my search. It's a shame you can't get an example if you could wait there are several "Apple days"  around the country in the Autumn where you can take your unknown fruits for ID.

    AB Still learning

  • ziskaziska Posts: 5

    Thanks, but ... honestly, it was just like that.  Truly.  A great big smooth greasy black-pocked rock-hard pale apple, rather flattened at both ends.

    Yeah I came upon the catshead too - funny, the earliest-known Siamese cats are now described as 'apple-headed' lol, but the catshead looks too yellow and too squat and flattened in shape.

    Don't mean to sound ungrateful though, please keep all suggestions coming, again thanks :D

  • There are so few cooking varieties that I think what you had there was a hybrid between something like a cooking apple and a knobbed russet. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,106

    IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF TIME YOU CAN TAKE A LOOK AT THIS WEBSITE

    http://www.bernwodeplants.co.uk/applelist.htm

    THESE PEOPLE ARE KEEN TRACKER DOWNERS AND  PRESERVERS OF ANCIENT VARIETIES OF FRUIT, ESPECIALLY APPLES.

    AN EXCELLENT COMPANY, WHICH HAS PROVIDED ME WITH SOME EXCELLENT TREES.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    May I suggest you describe your apple to an expert at an Apple Day next year.  Apple Days are held all over the country in Autumn.  If you can take several apples and leaves and twigs.

    Or alternatively consult an apple book in your library.  Especially The Apple Book by Rosie Sanders published by the RHS.

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