Saturday, October 13, 2012

Claygate Pearmain **

This small apple, minimally ribbed, blushes to a subdued golden orange over pea-soup green.

My sample is marked by the descriptively named flyspeck and sooty blotch, which have nothing to do with flies or soot and do not affect the flavor of the fruit.

A network of russet adds another layer to this variegated apple's peel, the texture of which runs from matte to rough.

Look closely to see small faint lenticels among all that texture.

My first Claygate is greener and exceptionally hard and firm in hand with a faint sweet yeasty smell.

Inside is dense flesh that is a creamy light yellow. It's midway fine-coarse and crunchy crisp. Really a first-rate texture. There is both cane sugar and honey, lemon and a hint of nutmeg.

Other, yellower samples are not quite so hard, though still very crisp. These are more juicy and lemony, with a whiff of mint mixed in with some sugar, pineapple, and oranges. There is a trace of pineapple in the aftertaste. Perhaps this is more representative of a ripe Claygate Pearmain.

These flavors and texture join for an overall effect that is both flavorful and light, fine and enjoyable. You'll want more than one of these.

The Claygate Pearmain was named for the village of Claygate in Surrey where, according to many sources, it was found in a hedge about 1820.

Note that many of the photos of this variety that I have found online are more highly colored than mine, often with a red blush.


  1. I always wanted to try this apple. How does it compare to Ashmead's Kernal? I wonder which would store better in my basement. Thanks for this blog, Adam.

    1. Garrit, I would say that both are very good russet apples.

      Ashmead is a great apple, nearly in a class by itself. Compared to the Claygate it is richer and more complex, in my opinion, but Claygate is still unusually good.

      I hope you can find one and judge for yourself!

  2. Can hardly wait to try this one; have two grafts succeed and awaiting the trees slow growth to allow samples. In two more years? It is spoken of highly by several people I am in contact with Out West; seems to tackle drier conditions better than many British apples. Will report someday.

  3. Tasted the first home-grown Claygate a week ago: dense, sweet (15 Brix) and tart, so many flavors the taste buddies were busy trying to parse them - didn't succeed this time. Chewy, juicy and amazingly clean finish. Skin was dry and hot pink overall. A bit of heavy russet just next to the stem and brown russeted lenticels, each surrounded by a pale circle until full ripeness, when the circles took on the pink color, too. Small apple with big impact.

    1. Congratulations, Nutting! (And, that was awfully quick!)

    2. The tree is slow growing. It stands on Bud118, so nearly standard, but I must deny myself the pleasure of another sample until 2020, so the tree gains size. Sigh.


Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.