Sunday, 9 January 2011


Charles Ross

I have had a good crop of apples from the garden starting last September with a variety that I think is Charles Ross. We inherited the tree so to try and identify it I checked with Brogdale. They are in Kent and have the national collection of fruit trees and a farm shop. These apples can be used as cookers or eaters. In September they are fairly sharp as eaters but cook well together with blackberries. I start with the windfalls or pick as we need them. The flavour mellows and they are at their best by the end of October as the birds soon discover. I pick the rest just before that point and they keep till about Christmas. The flavour is superb, sweetish with a touch of pear.
Charles Ross is a hybrid of Cox’s Orange Pippin and Peasgood Nonsuch.

I planted the other tree, for me it is a must have, it is a Bramley, in my opinion a superb English apple. I picked these during October and November and they usually keep for months, a welcome taste of summer and autumn in the depths of winter.

The first Bramley tree was grown in Southwell in Nottinghamshire from an apple pip planted by a young girl. The original tree is still bearing fruit two centuries later and even survived being blown down in a storm. When I was a school girl I used to pass the house on the bus on my way to school. There is a stained glass window in Southwell Minster portraying the town's links with this apple.

Bramleys have a characteristic shape being flatter at the poles than most apples. This is useful to know when buying as I suspect that some of the apples passed off as Bramleys are inferior green cooking apples. Raymond Blanc is no fan of these apples describing them as cooking to an acidic green fizz. Sadly many of the supermarket offerings can be like that. Maybe they were picked before they were ripe; they do improve if you keep them in the kitchen for 2 or 3 weeks. But they don’t often have the colour, scent and wonderful flavour of a home grown one.
It holds the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Merit.
In the 1990 s samples were taken from the original tree and clones were propagated at Nottingham University using biotechnology techniques. (This is not the same as genetic engineering.) Apples from these trees were found to be superior to Bramleys from trees produced after generations of grafting. so maybe that explains in part the variations found when buying apples.

Charles Ross and Bramley


baahar said...

I didn't see that shape in apples before :) We have very small ones in the Amasya reagon in Turkey which are a bit similar. They are the sweetest thing.

Yours look delicious too. You are lucky to have trees :) Enjoy !

ingermaaike said...

No idea if they would grow here but they sound delicious! Every year I plant some fruit trees , but there is a very limited availability here. My goal is to have enough fruit to make a good stock of juice, and from it wine :)

Julie G. said...

They look delicious Tessa!

ZudaGay said...

We love apples and are thrilled to have a wonderful orchard not too far away since we do not have our own trees. I am not familiar with either of the varieties, but would love to try them some time.