Wednesday, October 27, 2010

esopus spitzenberg........(malus domestica)

one of the great american apple varieties, thomas jefferson's favorite...... he planted over 18 esopus trees at monticello many years ago..... noted for its spicy flavor, and for its susceptibility to any and all diseases afflicting apples.... this highly respected american antique apple is named after the settlement of ESOPUS, ulster county, new york, where it was found towards the end of the 18th century..... it was widely planted in the US in the 19th century and utilized for both dessert and culinary applications, but subsequently fell out of fashion although it remains a popular heirloom variety for gardeners and trees are available from many US nurseries...... the apples have an excellent flavor complexity, which improves with storage, making this a great keeper...... while american apple enthusiasts often seek out european (and especially english) antique varieties, there is unfortunately little if any interest in AMERICAN HEIRLOOM varieties..... it is apparent that american and european tastes in apples are quite different, with europeans apparently preferring slightly more complex flavors...... however, if there was ever an AMERICAN ANTIQUE variety that should appeal to european tastes, it must be the ESOPUS SPITZENBERG..........! the flavor is truly aromatic and matches the complexity of the aromatic english apples...... the flesh is very buttery dense yellow, and there is a rich sharpness which is often characteristic of high quality heirloom and antique dessert apples..... eating an ESOPUS is a thoroughly enjoyable experience...... in terms of supermarket varieties, the closest match is probably the JAZZ, which also has similar dense flesh and rich sharp flavors...... having been able to enjoy the ESOPUS SPITZENBERG many times over, whether in one of our ANTIQUE APPLE SYMPOSIUMS through THE NEW ENGLAND FARM 2 FORK PROJECT or by finding a single tree at an antique apple orchard this apple is still by far my favorite AMERICAN ANTIQUE APPLE.......... hands down