Question of the month: do you prefer a sweet apple or a sharp, sour apple?
It all depends on mood and individual taste I know. And then there are apples whose very name puts you off eating them. I don’t quite fancy the Dog’s Snout variety (an old Yorkshire cooker) or the Bloody Ploughman or tucking into a Sheepnose, Ballyfatten, Hangdown, Redstreak, Manks Codlin or Maiden’s Blush. And least said about Slack Ma Girdle (an old variety of cider apple) the better. Then there are those strange apples that are named after people: Cardinal Von Galen, Ben Davis, Charles Ross, although, strangely, Granny Smith sounds fine.
But the things you can make with apples – even the mushy textured ones – are quite remarkable.
In Yorkshire there are various producers working wonders with various forbidden fruit varieties, creating a range of products including wine, cider, vinegar and chutney.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Yorkshire Apple Wine
A 14.2% wine from Luddenden Valley Wines in West Yorkshire. They hand mill and press a blend of apples from their own orchards and other local trees. The pure apple juice is then fermented with a fine wine yeast to produce a crystal clear, smooth and fruity wine. A lovely social wine and great with pork of course.
Sweet Apple Vinaigrette Dressing from Wharfe Valley Farms near Wetherby. A simple dressing with a sweet apple flavour. Made with their low saturated oil this is a great dressing.
Yorkshire Pork and Apple Pie
Do you know what goes really well with apple? Pork, of course. Actually it might be the other way round: pork goes really well with apple. C and G Starkeys butchers in Sherburn-in-Elmet who are a cut above the rest as members of the Q Guild Butchers Association, make a wonderful pork pie that is out of this world, pork apple and cider.
Made by hand in a quiet corner of Yorkshire, a collaboration between two villages, led to the formation of Colemans Cider Company in 2014. They are going from strength to strength, flavours include traditional apple, damson and of course Yorkshire rhubarb. Their apple juice is refreshing and made with 100% Yorkshire apples. You can buy them at various outlets, food festivals and farmers’ markets. Fodder in Harrogate is a favourite of mine for all Yorkshire produce!
And if you get your surplus garden apples to Colemans, they will convert to free cider!!
Yorkshire Apple and Ginger Chutney
Bessie’s Yorkshire Preserves are based in York and specialise in making homemade tasty chutneys, jams and relishes. Elaine was inspired by her Nan, Bessie, who turned produce from her family farm in Pateley Bridge in the heart of Nidderdale, into something yummy! Bessies Punchy Apple and Ginger chutney is just delicious with roast pork and crackling.