April 20 - 26, 2014: Issue 159

Autumn is Apple Season

If you love history, mystery and happy endings, you'll enjoy learning about autumn apples. One of the earliest cultivated fruits, the apple has come a long way from its crabapple ancestors. Careful cultivation has transformed those original small, sour apples into large, sweet fruits. Grown in many parts of the globe, modern apples come in more than 7,500 varieties, representing a number of different shapes, colors and flavors. 

Humans first started cultivating in the Iron Age or before. Selective crosses of established apple strains created new varieties, and some of the most popular apples sold in Australia today, like Gala and Fuji, are the result of carefully planned crosses. Our favourites are the apples we grew up on though, and not tasted since, simply because it is rare for them to be grown now for reasons that shall remain....a mystery.

We did find an orchard in Victoria that shall supply you with what are now termed ‘heirloom’ or 'heritage' fruits and vegetables – but since you need a touch of frost to make apples taste as they should, perhaps asking your greengrocer to stock these longed for and disappearing varieties may bring back the taste of childhood.

What apples am I waffling on about?,These:

The Bounty arrived at Adventure Bay on August 21, 1788, and during the days that followed, caused to be planted the first fruit trees in Tasmania. These included: Three young apple trees, nine vines, six plantation trees, a number of orange and lemon seed, cherry, plum, peach, and apricot stones, pumpkins, also two sorts of Indian corn, as well as apple and pear kernels. In addition, potatoes, onions, and cabbage roots were planted at what is now known as Quiet Corner, or Bruny Island. The first apple trees and potatoes were planted by the botanist, David Nelson, who died at Koepang, in the Timor, in 1789 as a result of the privations he had undergone following the mutiny.
The Bounty had been commissioned in 1787 by the British Admiralty, and placed under the charge of Lieutenant William Bligh, who was instructed to proceed to Tahiti, and to convey breadfruit trees to the West Indies, as it was thought they would prove of value to the planters as a source  of food. It was after leaving Tahiti that the mutiny occurred on April 28, 1789. On that day 26 of the crew, led by Fletcher Christian, the senior master's mate, revolted, and forced the commander and 18 others into the ship s launch, which had been stocked with 32lbs.of pork, a 28-gallon cask of water,150lbs. of biscuit, six quarts of rum, and six bottles of wine, with canvas, twine, and a number of empty casks. Bligh was permitted to take his sextant and book of nautical tables, and the launch was then cast adrift. In this open boat, 23ft. long, 6ft. 9 in. an the beam, and 2ft. 9in.in depth, after touching at the island of Tofoa in the Friendly group, from which they were compelled to depart owing to the hostility of the natives (one of the seamen being killed,): Bligh and his party journeyed nearly 3600 miles in that open boat to Koepang, in the Timor, a feat of seamanship that has probably never been equalled. 
BLIGH OF THE BOUNTY. (1939, May 11). Huon and Derwent Times (Tas. : 1933 - 1942), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136025964

Tasmania Pioneered Apple Export Trade
(By J. M. Ward, Superintendent of Horticulture, Victoria, In the Swedish Australian and Swedish-New Zealand Trade Journal.)
According to record, apples were first planted in the Commonwealth at Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788, and at Bruni Island, Tasmania, in 1792. There are some very old apple trees at Adventure Bay, Bruni Island, today, but it cannot be said whether any of these are the descendants of the original plantings by Lieutenant Bligh. It is doubtful if any trees were planted, as it is thought that Lieutenant Bligh sowed only seeds, and did not bring trees with him. Apple trees were probably brought to Tasmania and New South Wales in the early years of the nineteenth century.
About 1838 or 1839 Lady Franklin, wife of Sir John Franklin, then Governor in Tasmania, imported some apple trees from England, and had them planted alongside a creek at York Town, on the west bank of the Tamar River. Most of the trees are still living, and although they have been neglected for many years, they are still, all things considered, yielding good crops of fruit. Later on other varieties of apples were imported into Tasmania from England, and Tasmanian trees were distributed to other States. As John Pascoe Fawkner propagated apple trees in Launceston prior to the advent of Sir John Franklin in Tasmania, importations earlier than those brought by Lady Franklin must have taken place.
In 1884 Edward Henty sailed from Launceston, and nearly five weeks later landed at Portland, Victoria. He took with him a number of fruit trees which he obtained from John Pascoe Fawkner's nursery at Windmill Hill, Launceston. In 1837, Fawkner took with him from Tasmania to Melbourne 2500fruit trees, which were planted on the south side of the Yarra. Later on Fawkner settled at Pascoe Vale, and advertised fruit trees, so that he must be considered as Victoria's first nursery man, and he was probably the first to propagate and sell fruit trees in Tasmania.  
Thus Tasmania may claim that the island State is the pioneer of the apple industry in Australia. To the Huon Valley, in Southern Tasmania, must be given tho credit of establishing and maintaining the oldest commercial orchards in Australia. From what can be gathered, the first apple trees of the Huon were planted in 1843 by the late Thomas Judd. Farther down the river, at Geeveston, the late William Geeves planted some apple trees in 1857.
The varieties planted by the early pioneers included Windsor Pippin, Ribston Pippin, Scarlet Pearmain, Blenheim Orange, French Crab, Stone Pippin, Mobb's Codling, Alfriston, Dumelow's Seedling, Sturmer and other English varieties. In later years plantings were extended to other parts, including the Tamar and Mersey Valleys.
The last Australian State to become a produced of apples was West Australia. It is only during the past 20 or 25 years, particularly in the past 15 years, that apples have been grown there on a commercial, scale. Although Victoria can claim to have made the first experiments in export the honor of establishing a trade is due to Tasmania. In this respect credit is due to the late Mr. W. D. Peacock, together with Mr. L. M. Shoobridge, M.L.C., and his brother. Mr. W. H. Shoobridge, as well as a number of growers in the Huon district, who made shipments to England in 1887. Since that time commercial shipments have taken place, until today they have reached over 4,000,000 cases. 
Tasmania Pioneered Apple Export Trade. (1940, March 28).Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68292887

'Ribston Pippin' is a triploid cultivar of apples, also known as 'Essex Pippin', 'Beautiful Pippin', 'Formosa', 'Glory of York', 'Ribstone', 'Rockhill's Russet' and 'Travers'. This apple was grown in 1708 from one of three apple pips sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, Yorkshire; the original trunk did not die until 1835. It then sent up a new shoot and, on the same root, lived until 1928. The 'Ribston Pippin' is one of the possible parents of 'Cox's Orange Pippin'.
The apple skin is a yellow, flushed orange, streaked red with russet at the base and apex. The yellow flesh is firm, fine-grained, and sweet with a pear taste. Irregularly shaped and sometimes lopsided, the apple is usually round to conical in shape and flattened at the base with distinct ribbing. Weather conditions during ripening cause a marbling or water coring of the flesh, and in very hot weather, the fruit will ripen prematurely. These are seriously delicious apples and many a tummy ache was cultivated when younger gorging on them. You can tell your southern friends to get a tree here:  
Heritage Fruit Trees - Australia
At Heritage Fruit Trees, we are passionate about old fruit trees. We graft old, heritage apples, pears, quinces and other fruit trees and berries. We are based in Beaufort 30 minutes outside of Ballarat and sell our fruit trees throughout Australia. See:http://www.heritagefruittrees.com.au/

Since we’re going a bit romantic this Issue, reminiscing and settling into the slightly melancholy lilts of mid Autumn, when the end of Summer can no longer be denied, how about an olde worlde apple recipe to suit your tastes:. There are two versions here, the traditional Russian original and one for all of us who need something a little faster, that is also a tradional method and desert for English peoples.

Apple Charlotte – The Traditional  (SHARLOTKA)
5 large apples (about 2 pounds / 1 kg), preferably a tart variety, such as Granny Smith, Bramley or Pippin
about a teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or a pinch of vanillin powder
1 cup flour
butter, to butter the pan
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
powdered sugar, to coat

Preheat the oven to 180C.Peel and core the apples. Quarter them then slice (not to thick and not to thin) each quarter crosswise.  Butter the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan (you can use a regular pan, but springform pan  is preferred for easier unmolding). Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apples on top. You do not have to arrange them accurately. Just toss them in there and level with your  hands. If using cinnamon, sprinkle it on the apples. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow. The more you beat, the more the cake will rise and the softer it will be. Add the vanilla extract or vanillin powder and flour. Beat until well blended. Pour the batter all over the apples, to distribute evenly.  Do not mix.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 50 minutes-1 hour, or until the top is golden. Let cool slightly, then un-tin. Sift some powdered sugar on top. Serve warm with ice cream, or at room temperature with a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!

Apple Charlotte – the Fast
1kg/2¼ lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 lemon, zest and juice only
2-3 tbsp light brown soft sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
8-10 slices good quality brown bread, crusts removed
50g/2oz butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the apples, lemon zest and juice, sugar and cinnamon into a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the apples break down and become soft. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and beat the apples vigorously until all the liquid has evaporated and the apples have formed a smooth purée.
Brush the slices of bread on both sides with the melted butter. Lightly butter a 15cm/6in-diameter round cake tin and line the base and sides with three-quarters of the bread, overlapping the slices so that there are no gaps and making sure the bread comes slightly higher than the rim of the tin. Spoon the apple purée into the tin and cover with the remaining slices of bread, overlapping the slices so that there are no gaps. Fold down the bread lining the sides of the tin and press down onto the bread lid to seal. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Serve with oodles of whipped cream and ice cream!

Proof of the claim that Tasmania is the pioneer of the apple industry of the Commonwealth lies in the fact that John Pascoe Fawkner was the first to propagate and sell fruit trees. In 1837 he took a bundle of 2500 fruit trees from his Windmill nursery, on the Tamar, to Melbourne, and planted them on the banks of the Yarra. Later he advertised that he had apple trees for sale. Trees planted by Lady Franklin at York Town, West Tamar, about the year 1838 are still growing and yielding apples. In 1843 the late Thomas Judd planted some apple trees at Franklin, and after that the late Silas Parsons planted an orchard at Grove; the late Thos. Barnett, another orchard at Franklin; and in 1851 the late Wm. Geeves planted apple trees at Geeveston, the stocks haying been imported from England. 
TASMANIA PIONEER APPLE INDUSTRY. (1934, November 15). Huon and Derwent Times (Tas. : 1933 - 1942), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137248557

Apples - Wild ancestors
The original wild ancestor of Malus domestica was Malus sieversii, found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China. Cultivation of the species, most likely beginning on the forested flanks of the Tian Shan mountains, progressed over a long period of time and permitted secondary introgression of genes from other species into the open-pollinated seeds. Significant exchange with Malus sylvestris, the crabapple, resulted in current populations of apples to be more related to crabapples than to the more morphologically similar progenitor Malus sieversii. In strains without recent admixture the contribution of the latter predominates.
The center of diversity of the genus Malus is in eastern Turkey. The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated, and its fruits have been improved through selection over thousands of years. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in Asia in 328 BCE; those he brought back to Macedonia might have been the progenitors of dwarfing root stocks. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia. 
Until the 20th century, farmers stored apples in frostproof cellars during the winter for their own use or for sale. Improved transportation of fresh apples by train and road replaced the necessity for storage. In the 21st century, long-term storage again came into popularity, as "controlled atmosphere" facilities were used to keep apples fresh year-round. Controlled atmosphere facilities use high humidity and low oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to maintain fruit freshness.
Germanic paganism
In Norse mythology, the goddess Iðunn is portrayed in the Prose Edda (written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson) as providing apples to the gods that give them eternal youthfulness. English scholar H. R. Ellis Davidson links apples to religious practices in Germanic paganism, from which Norse paganism developed. She points out that buckets of apples were found in the Oseberg ship burial site in Norway, and that fruit and nuts (Iðunn having been described as being transformed into a nut in Skáldskaparmál) have been found in the early graves of the Germanic peoples in England and elsewhere on the continent of Europe, which may have had a symbolic meaning, and that nuts are still a recognized symbol of fertility in southwest England. 
Davidson notes a connection between apples and the Vanir, a tribe of gods associated with fertility in Norse mythology, citing an instance of eleven "golden apples" being given to woo the beautiful Gerðr by Skírnir, who was acting as messenger for the major Vanir god Freyr in stanzas 19 and 20 of Skírnismál. Davidson also notes a further connection between fertility and apples in Norse mythology in chapter 2 of the Völsunga saga when the major goddess Frigg sends King Rerir an apple after he prays to Odin for a child, Frigg's messenger (in the guise of a crow) drops the apple in his lap as he sits atop a mound. Rerir's wife's consumption of the apple results in a six-year pregnancy and the Caesarean section birth of their son—the hero Völsung. 
Greek mythology
Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, other than berries, including nuts, as late as the 17th century. For instance, in Greek mythology, the Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labours, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center. The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In retaliation, she tossed a golden apple inscribed Καλλίστη (Kalliste, sometimes transliterated Kallisti, 'For the most beautiful one'), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the Trojan War.
The apple was thus considered, in ancient Greece, to be sacred to Aphrodite, and to throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one's love; and similarly, to catch it was to symbolically show one's acceptance of that love. An epigram claiming authorship by Plato states:
I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.
Plato, Epigram VII
Atalanta, also of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but Hippomenes (also known asMelanion, a name possibly derived from melon the Greek word for both "apple" and fruit in general), who defeated her by cunning, not speed. Hippomenes knew that he could not win in a fair race, so he used three golden apples (gifts of Aphrodite, the goddess of love) to distract Atalanta. It took all three apples and all of his speed, but Hippomenes was finally successful, winning the race and Atalanta's hand.
Illustration: Apple tree. A flowering and fruiting branch in B ofcourse. Size, 1 bloom without crown in longitudinal section enlarged, 2 stamens, likewise, 3 pollen, ditto, 4 fruit in longitudinal section, likewise, 5 the same cross section same as above,, 6 and 7 seed with seed coat in longitudinal section, of different sides of ditto,, 8, the same cross section, likewise, 9 the same without seed coat, ditto, Date:1897, Source; List of Koehler Images, Author: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen

Apple. (2014, March 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Apple&oldid=600458065
Autumn is Apple Season by A J Guesdon, 2014.