Egremont Russet apple

[English] plural Egremont Russet apples

The V is an old variety of apple, among the best flavoured of all English eating apples but not widely available. It was recorded by Mr Scott of Merriott in Somerset in 1872 but may be earlier and introduced commercially to the United States in the 1880s, where it ripens in October. It is a small to medium-sized, hard apple, with golden pale brownish-green russeted skin and scented, sweet, yellowish, nutty, almost smoky, dry white flesh. It is particularly good with cheese and in pies and tarts. It has an upright habit, so it is good to grow as a cordon in a small garden. This is a mid-season variety at its best from October to December in South-East England but still around until the end of February. All russets are good keepers and this one improves and sweetens on storage.

In the house where I was born we had a game larder with a slate shelf the lenth of the room and hooks above for hanging the game. Here were stored my mother's home made wines and cordials, with occasional attendant explosions, particularly her ginger beer. At one end was a great cabinet with slatted drawers and sides, allowing the air to travel around the apples which were stored in it. As the autumn (US: fall) months went by more and more apples were put into the drawers, labelled and put away to mellow over the winter. At Christmas we took out the Egremont Russets. By this time they had shrunk away from the skin a little and the flavour was intense and concentrated. But what I remember most is the smell in that room; the mixture of slight fermentation and dull apple, of exploded ginger beer and hams with cloves stuck into them. Well stored apples take me straight to that heavenly house and all its treasures still.