Sunday, 21 October 2012

An Apple a Day

A selection of Scottish apple varieties
Fantasy Bob is pleased to advise the three members of his worldwide readership that today is Apple Day. 

Apparently this is an annual celebration, held on October 21 and was initiated by an organisation called Common Ground in 1990 and uses the apple as a symbol of physical, cultural and genetic diversity that is under threat in so many ways.

There are over 7500 varieties of apple, although you would not think so from the shelves of the supermarkets.  Things may be improving - not so long ago there was despair at the thought that there would be nothing but Golden Delicious to bring to the teacher every day, but a wider range of varieties is now available.  And a good thing too.

Here is FB's Apple XI - a side drawn from apple varieties - FB has lifted the descriptions from the website Orange Pippin.  While there are no cricketers called Granny Smith, far less Pink Lady, cricketers have obviously had some influence in the orchard.  FB imagines that the descriptions of each fruit qualities match those of the cricketers.

Bailey Sweet apple - Distinctly sweet and of very good quality, but not a very good keeper. Skin tender, clear bright yellow largely covered with deep red. Flesh tinged with yellow, firm, moderately juicy, decidedly sweet.  Trevor Bailey played 61 Tests for England between 1949 and 1959.

Cox's Orange Pippin apple - This is the benchmark for flavor in apples - from a good tree in a good year it can achieve exceptional flavor.  Tasmanian Jamie Cox may be one of the best players never to have made it to the Australian national team.  He has played in more  Pura Cup-Sheffield Shield games than anyone else and only Darren Lehmann has scored more than his 10,821 runs in the competition.

Brown's Apple  -  A traditional English cider variety, produces sharp juice.  There are many cricketing Browns - FB remembers Warwickshire and England seamer David Brown who played 26 Tests in the late 1960s.

Crawley Beauty apple - Primarily a culinary variety, cooks to a puree with a delicate apple flavour - but can be eaten fresh after storing. Good disease resistance and tolerates a wide range of soil types.  John Crawley played 37 Tests for England between 1994 and 2003

Davey apple - Highly coloured, bright red, distinctly flavoured, of Baldwin texture and keeping qualities. Good, brisk taste, hint of strawberry flavor, crisp and juicy.  Middlesex's Josh Davey is a member of Scotland's  squad currently touring South Africa.

Ellison's Orange apple  - One of the best offspring of Cox's Orange Pippin, with a distinct aniseed flavor.  Kent's all rounder Richard Ellison played 11 Tests for England in the mid 80s.

Foster's Seedling apple - A surprisingly good-looking Victorian cooking apple, which cooks to a very sharp puree.  Essex paceman Neil Foster played 29 times for England between 1983 and 1993.

Franklin apple - Well-coloured fruit. Tender, crisp flesh, mild flavor. Resembles shape of Delicious, but far superior in eating quality.  James Franklin has so far played 27 Tests for New Zealand and was in the T20 World Cup squad.

Hampshire apple - Fruits are large and uniformly round to oblate with 100% red blush with little striping. Skin is thin and tough, flesh creamy white, slow to discolour. Subacid, yet mildly sweet, sprightly, good aromatics. Has excellent storage life.  Jack Hampshire played only 8 Tests but he ran up 577 First Class matches for Yorkshire and Derbyshire before becoming a top flight umpire.  He retired in 2005.

Jonathan apple - A classic American variety, and widely regarded as one of the best flavoured with a good sweet/sharp balance. A precocious and productive tree in US apple-growing regions.  Jonathan Trott has played 34 Tests for England so far.

Milton apple - Medium sized, pale yellow covered fruit with deep cherry red flush. Fine grained white flesh. Juicy with sweet hint of raspberry flavors.  Arthur Milton was a double international in the 1950s, playing 6 Tests for England and was capped once at football.He played for Gloucestershire and Arsenal.

And this team requires a coach:

Newell's Late Orange apple - Flat-round, sometimes irregular shape. Good size, solid yellow-green fruit entirely covered with minute green or black dots. Firm, crisp, juicy, rich white flesh.  Mick Newell is coach of Nottinghamshire.

Cox's Orange Pippin


  1. Mention should perhaps be made of the Mackintosh Red, a wonderfully juicy variety when eaten at its best. Cricinfo comes up with several Mackintoshes, from all over the world, but none are good keepers as far as I can make out.

    1. Ah, the problems of selectors - but FB needs to correct your spelling - the McIntosh apple was discovered in the early 19th century by John McIntosh in Ontario. McIntosh himself was born New York state in 1777, the son of a Scottish immigrant. This makes his apple eligible to play for Scotland.

  2. Many thanks for the correction, which I realised was necessary after posting.

  3. i seem to recall eating an Alderman apple-I'm sure Terry A could have dismissed Gooch, even with one of those in his hand..

    1. Correct on both counts. The Alderman is described as an English (possibly Scottish) culinary apple, thought to have originated in the 1920s so it's maybe more likely you had it in a pie - which Terry Alderman never bowled.