Friday, October 25, 2013

Russet Beauty *

This striking sample is small and oblate with minimal ribbing. The bumpy, textured coppery brown russet covers all, though it is thin enough in spots that the underlying green peers through.

Judging from a tiny area at the lips of the (closed) calyx, this is a vivid saturated viridian.

This one smells gently yeasty and has a very slight give when squeezed.

Inside the Beauty there is medium-fine-grained flesh, light yellow and moderately crisp. The apple presents strong flavors of pear and cane sugar, a hint of vanilla, and a little lemon that chimes in near the end of the chew.

Russet Beauty could be crunchier but is really not bad: the flavors are very good and the sweet-tart balance is spot on.

There is some mystery about this variety, and maybe some of the stories (A chance seedling, noble parents, lots of "said to be"s and "thought to be"s) are true.

It seems to be that rarity, a modern russet, dating from the 1960s. The typical description of this apple mentions a short shelf life. (Also a larger apple, but I am satisfied with my identification of this one.)

Click on the photo for a closer look.

The Beauty is mentioned (p. 2) in Owen Martin's appreciation of russet apples, published a 2010 newsletter from the farm at the University of California Santa Cruz.

That's an appropriate place to end, because that farm grew my apple.


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