Saturday, August 17, 2019

Ducal Honors for Gatekeeper

Striped ribbed apple

Chances are good these are a named variety, but Josh, from Western Washington, calls them Gatekeeper. That will do since we do not know what they are.

They have a good texture for such an early apple, and painterly streaks of red. Sadly, for eating out of hand these do not work for me.

I can imagine them as good for cooking, though, and in fact these might be Duchess of Oldenberg, a somewhat later August apple good for pies and applesauce.

Josh recommends Gatekeeper for sauce. He sent a bunch, ranging from small to large, most a little too yellow to be called spring green.

Some are prominently ribbed and some have that striking blush that resolves into saturated red smears.

All are round, a little blocky. The faint lenticel dots are not obvious. One small apple is more or less yellow.

The Chew

Gatekeeper's flesh is a medium-fine-grained light yellow, somewhat crisp though with some give. The bite comes off in a nice chunk. It's curiously chewy, cottony (but good). The peel is chewy, too, and a bit bitter.

The flavor is well balanced but not well flavored. It is citric, with a grapefruit-peel note.

There is an early moment that is not so harsh. It's fleeting, faintly floral. The early flavors are better still in the small yellow apple, which is softer, with a hint of lychee.

In the end, this one just does not come together for me.

Josh, who has eaten a lot of these, reports that there can be a "rare" Honeydew note.

Here's one of the photos he sent me, too.

Blushed and striped apples hanging on a branch


Maybe they are Duchess after all, or a relation.

Duchess of Oldenburg
Update: Based on many small details, Josh thinks they likely are Duchess of O.

"Gatekeeper" from the location of his tree, near a gate.


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