Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Ashmead

Today I recognize the distinctive russet apple Ashmead's Kernel with three stars. It's the highest honor in my rating system, reserved for apples that are "exceptional...worth a quest" to find.

This post also completes my introduction of this qualitative system of ranking apples based on how good they are for eating of out hand. (Someone else will need to rate baking and cider apples.) In many ways I have saved the best for last.

Ashmead's originated 300 years ago in Gloucester. At peak it is marvelously complex and satisfying, crisp and juicy with rich tastes of lemon and cane sugar and an elusive savory quality.

Ashmead's Kernel
In the great-minds-think-alike category, Ashmead's was also recognized with a First Class Certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1981.

So, does this mean that Ashmead's Kernel is the best apple in the world? That claim would be foolish. But you will not regret tasting one of these, or any of my 3-star picks (or others!), at their peak in season. And if you only think of apples as those red sweet things, you will be amazed.

That is really the whole purpose of this business with stars: not to pick winners and losers in some abstract Apple Olympics, but to identify really good varieties that you ought to try, should you be lucky enough to find them.

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