Sweeter fruits of fall

Sweeter fruits of fall

Early October brought a spate of recently harvested apples that are named after other fruit. Not as a marketing ploy, because I’m fairly certain farmers in the 19th century weren’t overly concerned with how a product name was performing in the market, but because something about the taste or flavor of these genuinely suggested other fruits. It’s one of the things about heirloom varieties that continues to astonish me– how something straight off a tree can taste very much of itself and yet suggest so many other flavors.

Pitmaston Pineapple

organic, from Jerzy Boyz Farm at the U District Farmers Market

I finally scored a few Pitmaston Pineapples (pictured above) in early October, after two weeks of arriving just a bit too late to get this variety; but it was worth the wait. They’re on the smaller side, juicy, with a honeyed tropical sweetness that I feel justifies the name. It’s a seedling of the Golden Pippin, raised near Worcester in the UK in the mid-1800s. This is probably in my top 5 favorite apples, but keep it quiet… I’m hoping to get a few more before the season is over.

Winter Banana

organic, from Jerzy Boyz Farm at the U District Farmers Market

First off, a really enormous apple, with an almost painterly skin that is devastatingly pretty. Now if you look at it too winterbananawarmly or too long, it turns mealy— but fresh from the market, it’s a tender, mild treat, which didn’t taste especially banana-y to me, but smelled, faintly, of its namesake. Either way, it’s sweet and simply, and my latest heirloom recommendation to lovers of the more commercial Honeycrisp and Opal varieties. This delightfully named apple is an early American variety, first cultivated in Indiana around the 1870s.

 

 

Cherry Cox

from Seattle’s Central Co-Op

This Cox variation is a “sport” of Cox’s Orange Pippin, which means that a regular Cox tree produced a limb that cherrycoxbore a naturally occurring mutation of the fruit. Not only is the Cherry Cox rather redder than many of the classic Cox, but dare I say– and perhaps this is just some suggestive brain science at work– that I did not taste very much citrus at work, but I taste a sweeter, cherry-like note, and a slightly more tender flesh. The Cherry Cox hails from Denmark. Does it really taste like cherries? I suggest you try it for yourself.

Side note: There are plenty of named-for-fruit apples that I have yet to try: the Lemon Pippin, Chenango Strawberry (and a few other strawberry-named tributes), Apricot Apple, and the Irish Peach, to start with. See them around the Northwest? Tell me, please!