Devon Boasts A Rich Apple Heritage, Offering A Range Of Unique Varieties Perfect For Both Eating And Cider Making. Here’s A Glimpse Into Some Of These Special Heritage Apples.

My grandfather Grew a Wide Range of Devon’s Unusual Heritage Apples For Cider, Cooking and Eating On A Five Acre Orchard On Extremely Heavy Clay. Here Are a Few Devon’s Best Heritage Varieties.

Heritage Fruit are great for Small scale fruit growing. Devon's Unusual Heritage Apples
  • Pig’s Nose: This intriguing dessert apple, originally hailing from the Devon-Cornwall border, gets its name from its distinctive, bulbous shape. While delicious eaten fresh, it also lends itself beautifully to cider production.
  • Spotted Dick: Don’t let the name fool you! This cider apple, named after the Feniton village where it originated, isn’t a dessert. Its skin is speckled with numerous raised bumps called “lenticels,” giving it a spotted appearance, much like the classic British pudding.
  • Yellow Rattler: I haven’t seen this variety on sale or elsewhere for over 50 years so I don’t know if it still exists. My grandfather had a couple of these trees and they produced a bright yellow apple in which the pips rattled when it was very ripe. It was white fleshed and remained yellow skinned when fully ripe, unlike Manaccan Primrose, a Cornish variety often called Rattler, but which starts yellow skinned but goes reddish as it ripens.
  • Hangy Down (Pocket Apple): This quirky cider apple from Axminster has an unusual growth habit. Its branches droop downwards, laden with fruit, creating a distinctive silhouette. The apples themselves are small and sometimes referred to as “Pocket Apples” due to their convenient size.
  • Plum Vitae: Despite its name, this Exeter-born apple is all apple! “Plum Vitae” translates to “life plum,” possibly referencing its long shelf life or a subtle sweetness reminiscent of plums. This variety offers a delightful balance of sweet and sharp flavors, making it a favorite for eating fresh.
  • No Pip: A true marvel of 19th-century breeding, the No Pip apple, originating from Chudleigh, lives up to its name. This sweet culinary apple boasts a remarkable feature – an almost complete absence of seeds! This makes it a joy to eat for those who dislike apple cores.

These are just a few of the fascinating apple varieties Devon has to offer (and other counties have their varieties as well). Each one tells a story of tradition, innovation, and a deep connection to the land. So next time you’re looking for a unique apple experience, consider exploring these Devon gems!

And did you know there are over 7500 apple varieties?

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Tag: Heritage Apples

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