Knobby Russet Apples
Inventory, lb : 0
The Knobby Russet apple is medium sized and has a very distinct appearance. Knobby, or sometimes Knobbly, Russet apples are irregularly shaped with bumps and knobs; it is asymmetrical and may have a very un-apple-like appearance. Some have said the Knobby Russet looks more like a potato than an apple. The skin is yellow-green and mottled, with rough russet spots. The surface of the Knobby Russet is covered in lenticels, or pores, that also signal an apple’s level of sweetness. The lenticels themselves are also a dark russet. The light cream colored flesh of the Knobby Russet is fine-textured and dense; it is not particularly juicy. It has a rich, sweet flavor with hints of spice and citrus.
Knobby Russet apples are available in the mid-fall and through the late winter months.
Knobby Russet apples are a unique and somewhat odd-looking variety of Malus domestica. They are a rare English variety also known as the Knobbed or Winter Russet apples. The apple’s outward appearance is said to be a stark contrast to its flavorful taste and texture. Knobby Russet apples were never commercially cultivated due to a combination of the apple’s unattractive appearance and the fact that the trees are difficult to grow.
Knobby Russet apples are nutrient rich, and contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps the digestive system work properly and protects against heart disease. They contain vitamin C, especially near the skin, as well as small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and vitamin A.
In England, Knobby Russet apples were traditionally used fresh or pressed to make apple cider. The apple's complex flavor pairs well with strong cheeses and herbs like tarragon and rosemary. Knobby Russet apples do not brown as quickly as other apple varieties, so are ideal for fresh applications like salads or crudité. The heirloom apples offer a complex flavor to any application, whether sweet or savory. Knobby Russet apples store well and will keep for several months in the refrigerator or other cool, dry place.
In the United Kingdom, efforts have been made to rediscover and protect some of the heirloom varieties native to Britain. Knobby Russet trees were planted as a part of the Brighton Permaculture Trust's National Collection in 2010, taking their place among some 30 different varieties. The collection serves as a ‘living library’ for researchers, horticulturalists, and historians, whose focus is to conserve the genetic resources of both heirloom and rare apple varieties. The Trust hosts the annual Apple Day Brighton in September.
Knobby Russet apples were first discovered in Sussex, England in 1819. They were given to the London Horticultural Society in 1820 by a man named of Haslar Capron from Sussex. One of the few trees in existence today grows in Stanmer Park as part of the Brighton Permaculture collection. A few trees are also reportedly being cultivated in the New England area of the United States.