Apples: News, 2022


Events and our Leicestershire Heritage Apples news are on our Leicester Heritage Apples page. Note that we put updates at the TOP.


Julie Drake and I have now done our first apple tasting of the season. There were a few hiccups; we did the whole thing and then found the camera hadn't worked properly and we had no recording. So rather than abandon it, we did a quick resume of the tasting using Julie's mobile phone and an improvised camera stand I made about a year ago. This is online on youtube; not ideal but better than nothing.

We tried fourteen varieties, and the resulting scores are shown in the picture below. The weather this year has been unusually hot and dry, and this has led to the following:

1. Increased trouble with sawfly; insects love hot weather.

2. Apples on many of the trees are shrunken and although they are attempting to ripen, not all are getting there. Some are going mealy when they reach maximum sugar, and some are remaining starchy with tough skins, which is usually associated with under-ripe apples. Remember that during ripening, the starch present in the new fruit gradually converts into sugars, and the skin gets thinner and more digestible..

3. In many varieties the volatile compounds are not developing normally; when this happens flavours are muted and sometimes very bland.

Notes on Varieties:

4. A few varieties are more or less normal in flavour; we found Discovery, Rosette, Langton Nonesuch Amulet and Laxton's Fortune were very good. Note that LF was about six week early. The others were close to their normal fruiting time.

5. Apples which were bland and subdued included Packington (8 weeks early), Scarlet Surprise (normal fruiting time), Dubbelman (a month early), Wyggeston Pippin (a month early).

6.Eccentric, a seedless apple from Ukraine, had developed a very bitter after-taste; normally it is fresh and fruity.

It is good to see that we have at last had some rain at last, and the outlook for the coming weeks is unsettled, so perhaps the later varieties will be better.

Julie and I hope to do more tasting videos soon.

30 Aug 22

Seems that I spoke too soon; we have had very little rain and this is leading to early ripening and fruit fall on a number of the trees. Packington is bug-affected and ripe now, instead of mid-October. The ripening is far from optimal; flavours are affected and many of the fruits are small and starchy. We are also seeing outbreaks of sawfly and other bugs, magnified by several weeks of hot sunny weather.

20 Aug 22

Apple blossom started three days later than last year, on 15 Apr; again with Webster Pinkmeat and Pink Pearl as the first two. These were closely followed by Burford redflesh two days later.

There were some cool nights in April but very little frost in spite of the early start to the season, so this year, at the time of writing, looks like being a good apple year.

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