Sunday, November 6, 2011

Belle de Boskoop

The appearance of this apple, subdued yellow-green mottled by russet, with a splash of translucent red blush, is not promising.

Belle de Boskoop is a large medium-sized apple with a slight amount of ribbing and a sweet cider aroma.

Light lenticels are not obvious except where russeted over.

Her flesh is a bit yielding, light yellow and halfway between fine and coarse-grained. The flavors are generally pleasant, for there is a decent amount of tartness to balance the pure cane-sugar sweetness.

However, despite a hint of pear, something almost savory, and some lively spicy notes, this apple never really comes together for me. (But, here's another opinion.) I wonder if cooking, or fermentation, unlocks this apple.

This Dutch variety (Boskoop is about 20 miles north of Rotterdam) originated around the middle of the 19th Century. Apples of New York did not like it much, though Yepson is a bit kinder.

Belle's flesh oxidizes very quickly.

13 comments:

  1. My samples looks quite different. Mine is faintly complete russet with reddish hues in the background. No yellow background either. Does yours have the 3 pronounced ribs on it? Basically like how northern spy has 5 ribs this has 3...ill take a picture of mine tomorrow. There are different modern sports of boskoop, Im positive mine is pure...I will be in town (boston) this week...maybe we can have lunch? If not I still have to send you some heritage Maine apples and some other oddities at a later date once I visit a friend who has them. He will be moreso inclined to give me fruit once he knows it will be bogged about!

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  2. I tasted BdB for the first time today. In looks, much like your sample. In flavors: sweet, tart, a bit of astringency, a hint of cinnamon or allspice, with flesh consistency similar to your description. I thought it would be grand in pie, if I had more than one on hand. A NAFEX member, Richard Ossolinsky, who keeps an orchard near the shores of Maine, says some years his BdB have definite cinnamon taste. Seems to be dependent upon conditions. The apple I tried was grown north of Spokane, WA, (which tells me I could grow it in my back yard, if room can be found) and this year was odd. Spring arrived about 4 weeks later than ever, but plenty of hot days in August seem to have compensated.

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  3. @Nutting: I felt that this apple had some similar eating qualities to those of Calville Blanche d'Hiver, which is an extraordinary baking apple.

    It's certainly a stretch to judge baking apples by their uncooked tastes and textures, but tempting in this case.

    @Hawk, re ribbing: Not pronounced, and not 3 big lobes or ribs either. But I only had a few samples from which to choose. I'm sure these things vary.

    (Now Calville--there's a ribbed apple.)

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  4. This is not considered an eating apple, but THE cooking apple for much of northern continental europe. The English have their Bramleys, here we prefer Belle de Boskoop for cooking although Bramley has been widely grown here.
    I grow both, Bramley just recently started cropping - till now I favor Belle de Boskoop, but must try out Bramley some more until my final judgement.
    I live in Denmark, here it is the only apple available that classifies primarily as a cooker. It is great for apple sauce and many years ago in lack of good eating apples it would be used by some people as an eating apple around March when it had lost most of its acid/tartness.
    So, I suggest trying it in February/March as a very late eating apple or as a cooker in November/December.
    Best Regards
    Johnny

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    1. Johnny, thanks! There's nothing like practical advice based on experience.

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  5. Forgot to mention - there is a much prettier red sport with russet, which is the one I am growing.
    Johnny

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  6. I grew up with this apple. We made it into Apple juice, cider, and Apple Sauce. It's also my favorite eating Apple after Christmas. My mom used to tast every App,e that she cut up for sauce because there is such a huge variation in taste. A good one never went into the pot. It was split for the family. I now live in Michigan, and have planted 7 tres three years ago of the Red and yellow variety. They are distinctly different apples in taste and texture. Not just looks.

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    1. Which do you like better, the yellow or the red?

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    2. I want to hear more about the difference between the yellow and red! I planted a Red Belle de Boskoop but thought that the color wouldn't matter much.

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  7. Sorry, just wrote a long answer and it dispeared. Hopefully my web site (fernwoodranch.com) will be up soon. But, the difference that I have experienced is that the Red Boskoop has a differet flesh consistency - tastes mor "sandy" to me. But, the difference in taste, even off one tree is huge. Just got a bushel from Eastman Antique Apples here in Mid- Michigan, and did some brix testing on it. 15.4 % in a mix of apples, some apples had already mellowed to the typical December taste, some not so much. There is a third sport (Bogo) that is even redder - have never tasted that one though.

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    1. I'm sorry to miss whatever was lost. Thank you for sharing your experiences with this variety, which I do not claim to know well.

      I look forward to the day your web page is up and running.

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  8. Hi, we just got our first decent harvest off a Boskoop tree. Way too intense flavor for eating, but superb for cooking! I canned apple pie filling with these, and the pies we have made this winter are outstanding. I was expecting mush because the apples are cooked twice, once in the canner and once in the pie. Not so, the apple slices turned out firm, very close to a fresh apple pie in texture, and the flavor is outstanding! We don't have a good place to store over winter, so canning or drying are our only good options. Boskoop is so valued in our orchard, wish we had more than 2 young trees. Oh, and did I mention the apples were very large? Karen

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    1. Congratulations! Reports like this, which must come form the Southern Hemisphere, make me really miss the harvest.

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