Saturday, August 31, 2013

Earliblaze *

Today's apple (and photo) comes courtesy of a generous Ohio reader who mailed me six slightly oblate small-to-medium Earliblaze apples.

These have light ribbing, deep stem wells, and closed calyxes.

The streaky red blush over yellow green is bright and attractive with some deep crimson strokes. The peel is glossy and the blush showcases small but distinct light lenticels.

There's some bruising and flyspeck. These no-spray apples smell sweet with yeasty overtones

Inside, medium-coarse buttery yellow flesh is tolerably crisp and juicy.

The apple presents a mild set of flavors that reminded me instantly of Tolman Sweet: white table grapes and a floral note, in this case roses.

Small distinct lenticels
This first impression is quickly displaced by more-conventional flavors: a sort of thin vinousness asserts itself along with a modest acidity. However this is a well-balanced variety, pleasing and sweet.

On the better samples the opening flavors linger a bit longer. The peel is chewy.

Those initial delicate flavors elevate Earliblaze above many early varieties. It's a fine effect, at once bright and mellow. Too bad Starks no longer sells it.

The grower of this fruit is Mark Rock of Ohio, who likes to bake with these apples as well as eat them out of hand. He gives high marks to pies made with slightly unripe Earliblazes as well as to those made with fully ripe fruit.

Mark's Earliblaze tree, before second thinning.
The National (UK) Fruit Collection says that Earliblaze was discovered in Illinois in 1949. Stark Bros commercialized it in 1958, and stopped selling it in 2011.

However, Mark's generosity extends to growers: he will provide budwood on request. (Direct inquiries to him via me, if you like.)

Mark speculates that the name "Earliblaze" may be inspired by the vibrant way that a swath of unblushed willow-green peel can contrast with the blush.

Thanks to him for the fruit and the first and third photos (only the second one is mine), used with permission. Click on any photo for a better view.

1 comment:

  1. One unique (well I think it's unique) attribute of the Earliblaze apple is pies made from it and served piping hot have a special flavor.
    We have one Stark dwarf Earliblaze tree and look forward to having hot pies from it.

    Cold pies from the Earliblaze apples taste great of course, but don't retain that special flavor when eaten hot.


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