Tasting new apples is one of the high pleasures of propagating heirloom fruits. Earlier this season our Walker Pippin tree put out a bunch of fine apples that yielded several apple cobblers. And our Early Red Bird tree gave us enough fruit to underscore why folks keep asking for this rare old variety.
This week we were up to our elbows in new apple drops: Hawkeye Red, New Gold, and Red Bob–mild varieties all that make a fine snack while you’re pulling weeds in the nursery. And then this afternoon we put on a tasting, pitting three oddballs against one another: Holland, Red Horse, and Dobbins.
Holland is certainly the prettiest of the three. The tan/red star burst around the stem looks like the work of Realist/Impressionist. The white flesh is smooth and good tasting. The apple is easy to peel (skin tough) and the core is very slender.
Red Horse is a classic drying sort. Tart-sweet, chewy flesh, moist but not juicy.
Dobbins, which comes to us out of KY if memory serves me, is a very good flavored apple, sweet/tart, with hints of anise. It’s light texture suggests that it would make a fine apple sauce.
Not one of these apples rises to the level of a Northern Spy or a Red Royal Limbertwig in dessert quality. But each has its own strengths. And the best apple pies come usually from a mix of what is ripening in the orchard right now. So the odds have it this week. But the end, at our table, is always delicious.