Friday, October 6, 2017

Chenango Strawberry


Spoiler alert: No strawberry flavors in mine. And it might not even be the right apple (but I think it is).

I have two of these charmingly named apples (SheNANGo, or so I imagine), medium sized, oblated, and with the merest ribbing.

The streaky red blush covers yellow green and is a dull crimson at its deepest. Prominent large light lenticels decorate the Strawberry's face. They provide some tactile bumpiness, and the strands of russet are rough to the touch.

There are also dimples and divots from hail, a grassy aroma, and a satiny finish.

Beneath the peal is medium-grained yellow flesh with a crunch that is adequate but not spectacular. Chenango is reasonably juicy, even succulent.

The flavors are on the tart side, though generally balanced, with some acidity that emerges into and after the chew. It's generically a little spicy, and maybe brings some some generic berries. A little cane sugar. No strawberry, and not much else.

In short, not very memorable. My second sample was similar, though not so deeply blushed.

Some sources say the Strawberry is a late summer apple that wants prompt picking. Mine may have been let go too long.

Many photos of this variety online show a conical and tapered apple. I nonetheless think mine are the real deal (there are other points of correspondence with online descriptions), but they might not be.

The venerable Apples of New York says this variety originated in New York or Connecticut before making its way to Chenango County. It was also known simply as Chenango (among other things).

There's a nice color plate in Apples of New York.

Links:

3 comments:

  1. I think you are right to doubt the identity of this particular fruit. Altho I no longer grow them (they are unremarkable/disappointing except for appearance), they were part of my parent's orchard variety mix for many years (and an variety propagated in my father's nursery trade). They are a smooth skinned, conical, mid-August ripening variety. Very tender/bruise easily and show it. Here is a google image picture that shows typical specimens http://www.fourseasonscabinrental.com/chenangostrawberry.jpg - typical good ones anyway - any fruit hanging inside the tree will show very little/no red color. Flavor is insipid, ripening is uneven. Typical 'summer apple' quality. Attractive ones are striking in appearance.

    David

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    Replies
    1. Hi David. I saw that photo (which is from the UK National Fruit Collection) and several other photos and written descriptions. They were all over the map, some corroborating mine, some contradicting them.

      I split the difference by sharing my misgivings, but ultimately the decision of the grower was decisive. Not that farmers don't make mistakes sometimes!

      My theory is that these were picked late and suffer for it in several ways.

      Delete
  2. A agree with Anon. The apple in your photo is not Chenango Strawberry. The color and shape of the pictured apple is not like Chenango Strawberry. CS apples are more conical than rounded, tending to be oblong and bigger at the top, narrower at the bottom. A much better photo and description is at https://www.orangepippin.com/apples/chenango-strawberry The color of a CS runs much more to the pink and green than your photo, and does not have specks. I also agree with Anon. that the are disappointing. I've never noticed a strawberry scent. The apples go from ripe to mush in about a day. If you are lucky enough to sample one when it is ripe and before it turns to mush, you'll find the flavor to be tart and bland. They are ripe when the green part of the skin is still green. Once it begins to turn yellow and the pink deepens to red, it's gone.

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