BardSkye
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Apple Variety that is Very Sour & Green?

This might be a rather silly question, but it's been annoying me for years.

My great-uncle had an apple orchard in northern Vermont in the 1960's, around the Burlington area. Half was planted with Mackintosh, the other half was a variety I can't remember. The fruit was green and sour enough to make your mouth pucker, about the same size as the Macs, and ripened about the same time as the Macs, but not quite as juicy. They were quite likely destined for cooking rather than eating, as most people don't like them that sour

For some reason, the name Wintergreens comes to mind. Could that be right?

I really wish I could find out what the variety is, as I like super-sour apples (with salt). Any time I ask about sour apples, people suggest Granny Smiths, which to me are fairly sweet.

I've tried asking various apple growing communities, but never got any answers. Any of the relatives who might have known are long gone now.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

Sounds like Granny Smith to me. They are tart and good for cooking.
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BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

Thank you for the reply.

Yes, Granny Smiths are tart, but they're not really sour (to me, at least). The variety I'm looking for were so sour, they actually, physically, made your mouth pucker up.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

How ripe they are affects how sour. You might have tasted very ripe Granny Smiths. I have tasted some sour ones. I can't think of what else it could be.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

Glen Seedling perhaps. Similar to Granny Smith.
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JONA
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Re: Apple variety question

There is a variety called Winter Green,
It's a Kentucky apple from 1897.

However....there is a sauce made from Apple and 'Wintergreens' ( that's various herbs and mint ) that can also carry that name. So the name you remember may be more related to what that Apple was used for.
John

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Re: Apple variety question

Many thanks Birdlover and JONA.

I wish I'd paid more attention as a child, but there you have it. Children don't, as a rule. It's just a particularly vivid memory, that taste. The following week we went to Brome Fair and I spent my allowance on a huge contender for the "biggest apple" prize I thought was the same variety, which turned out to be more like the Granny Smiths. I was very disappointed.

Oh, well, it's there in my memory at least.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

It's probably an old heirloom variety. I buy heirloom apples at the local health food store when they are in season. Most of the varieties they have are red skinned. They are fun. There is one that is very dark red. I think it's called Arkansas Black. Sadly, some of the old heirloom apple varieties are extinct. Here in Washington we have some nice heirloom apple orchards in Okanogan. The health food store gets the heirloom apples from the Okanogan farm. They showcase about a dozen heirloom varieties in baskets. It is a beautiful display. They are so much better than the mass produced big box flavorless apples.
When I was a kid, we had an apple tree in the back yard. Gravenstein apples. They were mostly green with a tart-sweet flavor. Probably not the one you are looking for.
There is an heirloom apple variety called Winter Green - two words - but it has red skin when ripe. It is hard to find or may even be extinct.
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JONA
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Re: Apple variety question

BirdLover wrote:It's probably an old heirloom variety. I buy heirloom apples at the local health food store when they are in season. Most of the varieties they have are red skinned. They are fun. There is one that is very dark red. I think it's called Arkansas Black. Sadly, some of the old heirloom apple varieties are extinct. Here in Washington we have some nice heirloom apple orchards in Okanogan. The health food store gets the heirloom apples from the Okanogan farm. They showcase about a dozen heirloom varieties in baskets. It is a beautiful display. They are so much better than the mass produced big box flavorless apples.
When I was a kid, we had an apple tree in the back yard. Gravenstein apples. They were mostly green with a tart-sweet flavor. Probably not the one you are looking for.
There is an heirloom apple variety called Winter Green - two words - but it has red skin when ripe. It is hard to find or may even be extinct.
Interesting about those apples Birdlover.
Winter Green is still recorded I think but probably like so many of those very old vars it's found in just a few old gardens and is often not even known to the owner.
Often over this side of the pond we find really old varieties that have survived in this way.
Gravenstein has an interesting history, it arose in the Tyrol or Schleswig-Holstein in the 1600's. Came to England in the 1820's then to Massachusetts and on to California. Strangely it became a major export to England from Canada of all places.
It's still grown in California and Canada and is Norways most popular Apple.
This may be because unlike the UK where we grow many true culinary apples, the rest of Europe use dual purpose Apples for cooking.
John

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Re: Apple variety question

Thank you for the interesting history. I have lots of childhood memories attached to that gravenstein apple tree. I do so enjoy reading posts from other countries. I am part English myself. My great grandparents were Putnams - the direct line from Puttenham England.
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JONA
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Re: Apple variety question

Puttenham is a village that's only about 15 miles from me Birdlover
Look up the map....I'm at a village called Kirdford.
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Re: Apple variety question

Okay, I will!
My Mom did some extensive research all the way back to King Charles I.
My uncle wrote a small book about the Putnam lineage. :D
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BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

It's quite possible the trees were heirloom, as they were very old in comparison to the Macs. Impossible to check now, though, as I understand the orchard was razed for development when my great-uncle died.

I'll have to check our local farmers' markets for heirloom varieties. Not many in Calgary, I would think, as apple trees are definitely not native or even kept more than a few tens of years before being destroyed to build the next housing development. (Ever noticed how new housing developments are named after what they've just destroyed to build it? Silver Springs, Applewood, etc.)

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Re: Apple variety question

Yes, I do notice those things. It is happening It goes against my grain. I want to stop it but I feel so helpless.

I guess that I am lucky to have access to heirloom apples. When the Okanogan farm started up with the apples, I bought some of each variety. It was fun trying them out. The heirlooms were so much better tasting than the apples from the big box stores. Seriously, it was as if I was tasting apples for the first time in my life. There is one apple variety that is huge. Those apples were packed in boxes like peaches. I will take a picture of the Okanogan heirloom apples and post it here sometime, if that store ever has another display.
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BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

Washington's a fairly big apple exporter: do you have tons of restrictions as to planting fruit trees in your area? I know the Okanogan on my side of the border is very testy about it, presumably because they want to protect their commercial operations.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

I don't know. There probably are restrictions. I think that some of the Okanogan orchards that grow the organic heirlooms were old established orchards that were revived. I don't know very much. Just little bits of information that I gather along the way because I am very drawn to the old ways of agriculture.
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JONA
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Re: Apple variety question

Speaking of heirloom varieties. Do you have help from any official body in seeking out and planting up orchards of these old varieties in the States?
Over here for quite a few years now, there has been government and community funding in setting up local community orchards for the general public to enjoy these old vars before they become extinct.
Many schools have set their own little plots to show the kids what the old flavours where really like.
It's also helps save the varieties that are local to the area so that the genes are not lost for future generations. Great idea!
John

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Re: Apple variety question

nothing official i think. where it's done here it's done by inspired enthusiasts like lee calhoun, who's got an orchard of some 300-odd heirloom southern varieties. I'm sure there are at least a couple others like him around the country. not many, though, and all getting older.

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Re: Apple variety question

"Over here . . . there has been government and community funding in setting up local community orchards for the general public to enjoy these old vars before they become extinct. Many schools have set their own little plots to show the kids what the old flavours where really like."

That is a great idea, but I don't know of anything like what you describe. There are just some people who appreciate and want the old ways of farming. It is a small percentage. I am one of those people. There are so many people who seem like they don't care. But what is really going on is that they are uninformed and too busy for politics.
I live in a volcanic river valley that has excellent dirt for farming. The farms are slowly being taking over by developers. Apartment complexes and housing developments are taking over this nice farm land. There are still some farms left. But eventually the developers make them a monetary offer that they can't refuse. It doesn't make sense to waste farm land like this. But that is what's happening. And the forested hillsides are being stripped of trees in favor of housing development as well.
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JONA
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Re: Apple variety question

BirdLover wrote:"Over here . . . there has been government and community funding in setting up local community orchards for the general public to enjoy these old vars before they become extinct. Many schools have set their own little plots to show the kids what the old flavours where really like."

That is a great idea, but I don't know of anything like what you describe. There are just some people who appreciate and want the old ways of farming. It is a small percentage. I am one of those people. There are so many people who seem like they don't care. But what is really going on is that they are uninformed and too busy for politics.
I live in a volcanic river valley that has excellent dirt for farming. The farms are slowly being taking over by developers. Apartment complexes and housing developments are taking over this nice farm land. There are still some farms left. But eventually the developers make them a monetary offer that they can't refuse. It doesn't make sense to waste farm land like this. But that is what's happening. And the forested hillsides are being stripped of trees in favor of housing development as well.
Afraid that that's something that seems to be the so called modern approach
Birdlover.
Over here we get developments put on prime farming land while areas where the soil is much poorer gets ignored, mainly because of the lack of understanding of the planners involved.
John

BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

I'm afraid that seems to be the way up here in the north as well. And even the most dedicated who refuse any price end up having their land annexed.

However, since I don't have any answers to the world's problems, I'll just say thank you to both of you for the conversation.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Apple variety question

Could it possibly be a Rhode Island Greening apple?
The description says it's rather tart and if eaten raw it needs to be salted to cut the tart flavor.
https://www.orangepippin.com/apples/rhod ... d-greening

BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

I think you may have nailed it. The description and pictures certainly fit best, as does the comment that it is mostly used for commercial baking (which would explain why I can never find one). Many thanks. I'll see if I can find an orchard that will sell me some of their fruit to find out for sure.

Cheers

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Re: Apple variety question

Here are some pictures of some Okanogan heirloom apples that are currently on display at the local health food store near where I live in Washington. Recall that there was some discussion earlier in this post about these wonderful apples.
The varieties that are currently available are:
Arkansas Black Heirloom from the 1800's.
Newton Pippen from the 17th century.
Winesap from the 1800's.
Macoon Heirloom Apple from the 1920's.
Sweet Louise (very pretty apple)
The Stayman Heirloom Apple from 1875.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Apple variety question

I'm going to pick up some Staymans tomorrow. They are expensive. Last year the Okanogan apples were $2.99 per pound. This year they jumped up yo $3.49.
Sweet Louise is a very pretty apple. I might try some of those as well.
I gave out a few Arkansas Bkacks for Christmas gifts last year. The people that I gave them to didn't really appreciate them as special. They were no different than ordinary apples to them. I had to point out to them that they were special heirloom apples. I said to them "just look at the color. They are such a deep red. These are not typical apples." They did not seem to understand my enthusiasm. It was rather disappointing. I will never do that again.

The sign on the Stayman apples in one of the pictures says:
"The Stayman apple is descended from a winesap. It was discovered in Kansas 1875. The flesh is yellowish, firm, tender, juicy, and pleasantly sub-acid. This is a high quality apple which is excellent for cooking or juicing as well as fresh eating."
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BardSkye
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Re: Apple variety question

I'm very jealous of you right now, Birdlover. Though I have to admit, I'm no expert on apples; they're not my favourite fruit.

I would like to try some of the heirlooms (and will see what I can find on my side of the border), because I suspect part of my disinterest in apples is that the big stores' produce doesn't have much distinction between the varietal tastes. An apple is an apple is an apple, with nothing much to tell them apart. And even in the "farmer's markets," most of the fruit comes from the big commercial outfits, simply because we don't have much in the way of fruit trees.

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Re: Apple variety question

BirdLover, I'm sorry your Arkansas Blacks were not appreciated. I got 2 off my little tree last year and they were wonderful, especially compared to those bland icky apples you get at the store. And they are so pretty, almost too pretty to eat.

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Re: Apple variety question

I just need to be careful about what kinds of gifts I give to people.
I was raised on processed food. When I discovered organic vegetables & fruits, a whole new world opened up for me. I've been excited ever since. It was as if I had finally discovered real food. I have to accept that not everyone is excited as I am.
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Apple variety question

I was raised just the opposite, we grew most of our own food and processed food was an extreme rarity. My grandma even made home made pudding and ice cream. Unfortunately it has spoiled a lot of foods for me. There is no comparison to home grown peaches or strawberries. I've never bought a tomato from a grocery store, I've eaten them before and cannot stand to waste that kind of money on poor tomato substitutes.

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