29 August 2008

beautiful bramleys

I’ve just been looking online to see the best way of storing the Bramley apples that Rosemary gave me from her tree. It’s been very interesting. Traditionally people have wrapped apples in newspaper or tissue paper but some sites have said it is not necessary with Bramleys. Another, horticultural, site – possibly for commercial growers – says that if a Bramley is dipped in warm water before storing it increases its storage capacity as the natural wax from the skin melts to form a contiguous surface which inhibits infection. Fascinating ! Another site suggests putting them into a plastic bag with one hole which allows a certain amount of humidity which is necessary to keep the fruit fresh, but not so much as to encourage moulds.

There is also a Bramley Apple website hosted by English Apples & Pears Limited, located in England’s orchard county of Kent. On the home page they say that Bramley’s are grown only in Britain. Rosemary would like to beg otherwise. She doesn’t actually LIKE apples, well not raw anyway, and decided she wanted to grow a Bramley to prove that it could be done, as everyone had told her it wasn’t possible to grow a Bramley in the South of France. (If you don’t like apples that much, Rosemary, why would you even have had the conversation with someone ?!) Anyway, I have seen the dear little tree – which fruits better with a Cox’s Pippin as a pollinator – I have got frozen, cooked windfalls in the freezer with some blackberries and then six perfect Bramley’s weighing 1.12 kilos appeared on my doorstep the other day.

You may have noticed that I said that the Bramley fruits better with a Cox’s Orange Pippin as a pollinator ... yes, I then got a bag (1.45 kilos) of small, but delicious, Cox’s.

The French don’t seem to me to have the same interest in apples as we do in the UK. There are usually four or five varieties : Granny Smith; a French Russet or Pomme Gris, which I use in cooking; Braeburn; the Pink Lady variety from New Zealand (what about the food miles !!) – which I remember costing considerably more than other apples in the UK but doesn’t seem that more expensive here, no doubt because it is grown in this country; and the Golden Delicious – which frankly I can’t imagine why anyone buys ! There is a very large growing area around Brittany, Normandy and the Loire Valley, but perhaps the French prefer their apples as cider, Calvados or pommeau !

So English Apples & Pear Limited, perhaps you really meant that Bramley’s are only grown commercially in Britain ? The rest of the website has a rather dire video, about making a traditional Bramley apple pie, under ‘podcast’ – I watched it till the end but I don’t know why anyone would; some rather yummy recipes and an interesting history of the Bramley apple – its bicentenary is next year. What I’d like to know is : where did the pips come from that the little girl planted in her garden ? !!

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably make juice with the rest of the Cox’s – I believe that it freezes well – and I’ll just leave the the Bramleys in the bag they were given to me in, in the coolest place I can find, which (for the next few weeks at least) is exactly where they are on the floor in the kitchen.

If you’ve got a moment, perhaps you would take the time to vote in the poll and / or leave a comment. Thanks for looking !


Lucy Corrander said...

I wish I had more access to Bramleys . . .

. . . and the Coxes we get nowadays never seem to be Orange Pippins - which are the ones worth eating.

You ask, in your poll, about ways of preserving.

I cook apples with sugar and put them in preserving jars.

I used to use kilner jars. They aren't manufactured any more. So I moved to a French version with a metal lever. They looked beautiful - but the seal was so secure I couldn't open them to get the apple back out again! I even managed to chip and break some in my efforts to get inside!

Perhaps, living in France . . . you might be able to tell me the secret of getting into these kinds of preserving jars?

Nowadays, I use a German make of jar which is a kind of diamond shape (which is good for storing) and which has a metal plate across which you have to replace every year . . . so that will only be any good as long as I can the metal plates . . . . !

Lucy Corrander

P.S. I found you through Blotanical

bare-faced gardener said...

Hi Lucy – it’s just occurred to me that I didn't check out whether it was an Orange Pippin and actually looking at the skin I'm not convinced they are – oh dear, already there are inaccuracies in my posts, yikes !

Actually, I didn’t mean preserving, I really meant storing the fresh fruit for a time. I don’t have storage space for apples in jars — what about the sloe gin I’m going to be making and the plum jam ...

I didn't know that kilner jars were no longer made and I know what you mean about the seal on the 'le parfait' jars – I’ve done the same thing and it’s worse if the seal has been wet and then dried again. You could try turning the jar upside down for a few hours (depends how well prepared vs. eager you are to get at the contents !) and then put a knife tip in as you pull the little tab.

As for the German make — I’m sure they’re a brilliant design ;-)
You could ask in the kitchen shop in Antelope Walk if they’d be able to get replacement discs for you ;-))

Thanks for spending the time to drop by – I’d already put the link to Pictures on my favourite blogs. Got to get back to Blotanical to do the same.

Lucy Corrander said...

It was sticking the knife in that chipped the glass!

And I found the only way to open them was to turn them upside down in water for ages . . . but that defeated part of the purpose. They weren't just to preserve the apple but to help provide quick but nice meals.

How do you know Antelope Walk?

That's a bit tantalising!

Your introduction to yourself says you moved from France - but not where from.

I know that shop . . . and at the risk of discovering you own it or something else embarassing . . . I don't go there unless I have to.

It's the kind of place where the assistants look down their noses if you say you are not prepared to pay seventy pounds for a gas kettle . . .

If you know the area . . . until a couple of years ago, there was a wonderful shop called 'The Home and Garden Centre' in Weymouth, not far away. The 'garden' bit was a bit thin . . . some seeds and some secateurs . . . but the kitchen equipment was good quality and the people who worked there were very friendly.

But it closed . . . so I'll have to follow those metal seals wherever I can find them.

You mention plum jam. I make damson jam from fruit I find in the wild. The trees were cut back by the council last year because they were overhanging a path so there wasn't much fruit but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this season.

Sloes . . . I don't make sloe gin and always wish there was some other use for them, they are so plentiful.



bare-faced gardener said...

I don’t own the kitchen shop, it’s somewhere I know and I think I’m going to be tantalising for a little while longer by not answering your questions.
I‘ve posted/deleted/reposted my pic and at the moment I’ve put me in Provence, which basically covers the whole of the South of France, so I’m being a little shy at the moment, although I’ve just come off one site that had a tracker and it tracked me to our nearest large town. Luckily, there were links back to me !
I don’t think I know the shop you mean in Weymouth.

I’ve got nearly 3 kgs of greengages and some golden plum windfalls in the freezer and some stewed in the fridge. (Haven’t I written that somewhere ? !) & there must be something else to do with sloes other than pickle them in alcohol. Probably a jelly ?

I think I’m going to have to go now – I’ve been blogging/blotanic-ing for 7.5 hours almost non-stop. I did eat lunch but didn’t have a siesta today.

I like Esther too and will add her (if I haven’t already) to my blog roll.
Will be in touch soon, meanwhile take care.

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