• clairhenderson

For the Love of Russets

British Russet apples are gorgeous, but along with many British apples, they have lost some popularity against the sweeter glosser globally-grown cultivars such as Gala. We know that the tarter flavour of some British apples like Cox can be less palatable for kids and adults alike. However, with the beautiful mild sweetness and crisp crunch of the Russet, I'm not sure the flavour could be responsible for the decline in interest. Perhaps it's price - British apples are often a premium price if you don't happen to have them in your back garden. But I fear that their decline may be more to do with the very thing that gives them their name - russeting.

Many apple varieties are prone to 'russeting' - that slight roughening and browning of the skin in patches. And although it can be seen as undesirable - and even considered an abnormality in the more shiny varieties - the English Russet is all about the russeting, and the traditional aromatic flavours that this autumnal jacket brings. The russeting happens as the weather cools, causing micro-cracking in outer layer. This causes the skin to take on a nuttier flavour and the oxidation of the fruit makes it sweeter. Russets have a real following amongst folk that know their apples - and although less common in the shops - they are well worth hunting out. A French Russet - The Egremont Russet - is traditionally sought after as the apple used for the legendary Tarte Tatin.

They are such an old variety that they are even mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV as a delicacy. Amazing in salads, particularly pairing well with strong flavours like stilton, but also as a lovely stand alone eater - this apple can't be beaten. Beautiful.

To get more British produce to your door, along with information on how to use it, join our vegcentric weekly box scheme, delivering now across SS0, SS1, SS2 & SS9. Helping you to up your veggie intake and cut down on packaging and food miles. www.pearandpotato.com

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