Apples are, arguably, the most English of seasonal fruits. They have been ripening on trees for weeks now but September signals the true start of the apple season.
More than 2,000 varieties have been grown here over the years, many with names that pinpoint their origin such as Keswick Codlin, Kentish Fillbasket and Beauty of Bath. Others bear hints for the palate in their names such as the Pitmaster’s Pineapple, D’Arcy Spice and Blenheim Orange.
Sadly there has been a drastic decline in both the diversity of varieties grown and the number of orchards in the country in recent years. Kent, for instance, has lost 85 per cent of its orchards in the past 50 years.
Farm shops and farmers’ markets offer an excellent choice of locally-grown apples and eyes peeled for English apples in British supermarkets. If you have space in your garden, the Apple Source Book (Hodder & Stoughton, 2007) tells you everything you need to know to plant an apple tree.