Sunday, November 08, 2009
of My Eye
I've been telling Dave Garretson of Beechwood Orchards about Cox Orange Pippins for a couple of years now. This week he found some on a neighbor's orchard and brought them to Headhouse Square.
Although these apples were picked about a month ago and have been in storage, they've hardly lost anything. Indeed, this variety ripens best after picking. Cox Orange Pippins are only moderately crisp (those who insist on absolutely crunchy crispness will be disappointed), but their flavor is second to none, with a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. Many believe, as I do, that it's the world's finest dessert apple, i.e., for eating uncooked. It's no wonder that Cox Orange Pippins are the most popular apple in the U.K., so much so that they're imported from South Africa in the off-season. (Alas, because they are more susceptible to disease, it's likely to lose this distinction soon, as more growers shift to other varieities.)
This variety first appeared in 1825 in England. And if you think the taste is vaguely familiar, you aren't imagining it. Today's Gala apple is a less flavorful but hardier descendant.