Tuesday, 11 January 2011

storing red falstaff apples

Who would think that we have hundreds of apple varieties to choose from? And within those hundreds of varieties a fascinating range of tastes and eating qualities? Certainly not supermarket shoppers - whose choice is limited to no more than a handful of different kinds, all too frequently bland and imported.

But gardeners don't have to be so restricted and can grow abundant crops of wonderfully tasty apples in a limited space.

One of the most successful varieties we grow on cordoned apples is the one pictured: Red Falstaff.

Alan Rowe describes this Golden Delicious x James Grieve cross as 'fruity, well-balanced, crisp and juicy' and says its storing period is October to December. We have found it to be a heavy and reliable cropper with good pest and disease resistance. It is also said to be frost hardy - an important quality in our shifting springs.

This year I am trying out a different method of storage and took this photo of the apples today. I am storing the apples in used polystyrene boxes. These maintain a cool temperature and retain moisture - preventing the apples becoming wizened. The method seems to be working very well. The apples remain as Alan Rowe described and don't show signs of deterioration.

I'm busy list making as we plan for the new garden. Choosing apple varieties for eating, cooking and juice & cider making on the new site is going to be great fun. Red Falstaff's name is already on the team sheet!

With luck we'll be eating our own apples until February or even March this year and will be able to extend the season even further in future years by careful choice of apple varieties.

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