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The Wonderful Russet Apples
Generally, the russet apple varieties tend to be heirloom varieties that have been around for years. Although they aren’t usually seen in commercial orchards, these are highly prized by apple connoisseurs and are best known among home gardeners.
A few of these varieties are easily available to home gardeners, while others are less common, which is a pity.
The appearance of the fruits can vary widely from one variety to another. However, they will almost always be russeted, which is how they get their name. Yet, in just a very few cases the russeting can occasionally be absent.
The recommended uses for these heirloom varieties can also vary slightly from one variety to another. But, they are often highly recommended for ciders—either hard or sweet. The russet apples are an ideal choice for cider orchards.
In nearly all cases, russet apples are very superior fruits. They’re highly suitable for dessert.
In addition, the russet apples pretty much share one other characteristic. These are good keepers and tend to store very well. A number of varieties are available, including the following.
ST. EDMUNDS RUSSET APPLE
This variety is also known as St. Edmunds pippin and early golden. It originated in Bury St. Edmunds, England in 1870. The spreading, upright, very hardy tree is moderately vigorous. It makes an excellent dwarf tree.
St. Edmunds russet is a very high yielding variety that bears a good crop each year. This tends to produce fruits on the tips of the stems. The tree bears at a very young age.
St. Edmunds russet is highly regarded, especially in England. In fact, it has been considered “one of the six best apples” grown in England. The director of the National Fruit Trials Collection in England described this as “the best early russet.”
This variety is also included in the Royal Horticultural Society’s model fruit garden located in Wisley. The fruits have been characterized as “the most beautiful of all russets.” Ripening from late September to early October, this fruit ripens at least a month before the other russets.
Excellent for cider, this apple makes a great juice. It is also a wonderful dessert apple. The small to medium, conical fruit is flattish-round with an orange to bronze russet.
The crisp, quite juicy, tender yet firm flesh is yellowish-white. The sweet, acid rich flavor is similar to that of a fine pear.
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