Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hubbardston Nonesuch (or Nonsuch) *

Don't you love that name! A real crotchety English apple name. A name for a Hobbit. It says, This apple has been around for a while and if ye don't like them apples then who asked ye?

Modern apples have names invented by marketing departments, like Gingergold and Zestar and Honeycrisp. Old apples have names that sound like a Morris dance tune or a craft beer. Hey ho, lad, get me some a that Auld Whistlin' Pete's Pegleg Stout Pearmain.

Hubbardston Nonesuch is an old apple named for the Massachusetts town (are those apples on the Town Seal?) where it was found in the early 19th century. I got this one at Gould Hill. It's on the large side, firm, classically shaped with some ribbing. The blush predominates and runs from orange-red to red over yellow-green. It is attractively freckled with light lenticels, and there is a little bit of russet.

The flesh is a creamy yellow-white, medium-grained and tender crisp. The flavor is almost nutty. It's mild and well balanced, with just a little acidity and hints of something complex and heftier, like chestnuts or peanuts or roasted grain.

For all of its size and firmness, H. Nonesuch has a lightness borne of its mildness, delicacy, and texture. The Nashoba Winery, which grows this apple, says other names are "American Blush, American Nonpareil, Farmer's Profit, Hubbardston's Pippin, Old Town Pippin, Orleans, Van Fleet, and John May." Whew! Also known simply as Hubbardston (or as Nonesuch).

6 comments:

  1. Oh yum, that sounds like a really tasty apple!

    And yes, definitely a Hobbit name, Hubbardston Nonesuch of The Marish.

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  2. How does an apple taste like *almost* something?

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  3. "Almost" a reply: I experience taste as a continuous range, so it is possible for one flavor to be very close to another without actually being the other. I've never thought of flavor in other terms, but I can see how one could do so.

    In the case of nuttiness (as a flavor, not a lifestyle): One taste that I think of as almost nutty is malty or maltiness. Malt is proximate to, but distinct from, nutty.

    There are other regions of taste that are similarly contiguous with nuttiness, but that do not correspond to something as readily identifiable as malt. It was one of these flavors that I found in Nonesuch: though not nutty, close, and lacking any better reference.

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  4. Aldehydes — Aldehydes are a varied group of flavor compounds that are similar to both acids and alcohols and therefore react easily with both. Aldehydes can be floral, fruity, grassy, nutty, toasted, coffee-like, or chocolaty. One of the most commonly used aldehydes is vanillin, the flavor of vanilla. Some, like ethyl cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon, or methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen), are so pungent they tend to dominate other flavors in a plant.
    Esters — Esters are a combination of two molecules — an alcohol and an acid. Acids give vegetables and fruits tartness, and they are part of the fatty acid structure of vegetable oils. Alcohols are mostly by-products of cell metabolism in plants. Fruits in particular contain enzymes that cause acids and alcohols to combine to form aromatic esters. Apple flavor is a combination of seven esters. But banana contains just a few strong-smelling esters. (That is why apples are better! More diversity to keep us from boredem!)

    From : "The Science of good food"
    Text copyright 2008: David Joachim and Andrew Schloss

    Published by Robert Rose Inc. 2008

    This book goes along with their flavor wheel concept. Check this website if you are interested in this.

    http://www.tablematters.com/index.php/plate/gf/gfflavo


    If you want a more specific explanation of how aldehydes, esters, and alcohol detirmine flavors in apples and other fruits, and the specific combination of compounds that define certain varities, read this Pdf
    http://www.google.com/m/url?client=ms-android-verizon&ei=N-zWTai8LYKYlAf1rcZ1&q=http://www.fantastic-flavour.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/apple.254173207.pdf&ved=0CCQQFjAE&usg=AFQjCNF9jhEdpEJl0WFplZKofpCKiiXgYw

    Pages two and three go Into detail about how.this all works.

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  5. Apple flavors can be categorized many ways, but the basics molecules that determine taste are acids, alcohols,aldehydes and esters. Below is some insight into how this works.



    Acids — Carboxylic acids have a pungent sour smell that is evident in many cheeses. This group includes common organic acids like acetic acid (the acidic flavor of vinegar) and less well known but equally recognizable compounds like propionic acid, which has a sour rancid smell, and is the dominant odor in Emmental cheese. The pungency of fatty acids disappears when they react with alcohols and become sweet fruity esters. For example, butyric acid (which accounts for the rancid smell of butter) when combined with an alcohol becomes the fruity aroma in pineapples and strawberries (ethyl butyrate), in apples and pineapples (methyl butyrate), in apricots (pentyl butyrate), or in cherries (geranyl butyrate).

    Alcohols — Alcohols can form floral, fruity, or fermented flavors depending on their molecular weight and what other molecules they react with. Alcohols with lower molecular weight are soluble in water and are volatile and flavorful. Ethyl maltol, the flavor of caramelized sugar and cooked fruit, is an example. As their molecular weight increases, alcohols become oily and more subtle. Decanol, the flavor of orange blossoms, and menthol are large alcohols. Alcohol molecules generate different flavors when they react with other molecules. For example, benzyl alcohol is the aroma of jasmine and hyacinth, but when it reacts with an aldehyde it becomes benzaldehyde, which is almond flavor.


    Aldehydes — Aldehydes are a varied group of flavor compounds that are similar to both acids and alcohols and therefore react easily with both. Aldehydes can be floral, fruity, grassy, nutty, toasted, coffee-like, or chocolaty. One of the most commonly used aldehydes is vanillin, the flavor of vanilla. Some, like ethyl cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon, or methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen), are so pungent they tend to dominate other flavors in a plant.
    Esters — Esters are a combination of two molecules — an alcohol and an acid. Acids give vegetables and fruits tartness, and they are part of the fatty acid structure of vegetable oils. Alcohols are mostly by-products of cell metabolism in plants. Fruits in particular contain enzymes that cause acids and alcohols to combine to form aromatic esters. Apple flavor is a combination of seven esters. But banana contains just a few strong-smelling esters that give it a less complex but stronger aromatic profile.

    The full article comes from the book "THE Science of good food"
    Text copyright 2008: David Joachim and Andrew Schloss
    Published by Robert Rose Inc. 2008

    http://www.tablematters.com/index.php/plate/gf/gfflavo

    Above link has full article plus their "Taste Wheel".

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  6. I'd say the aldehydes dominated the boxfull of Hubbardston Nonesuch I ate this fall. They came all the way from Scott Farm, VT. Odd grassy, nearly fennel, medicinal taste. Unique in my experience of over 60 cultivars tasted. Many small apples had no viable seeds within, an interesting side note.

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