Classic Apples #2 – Cox’s Orange Pippin

26 Mar

Everyone should know this desert apple. It’s popular and tasty and if you rattle it you can hear the seeds inside. I’ve chosen it because I have a small tree in my garden and this is how it looked at the weekend.

Apparently, Mr and Mrs Cox were responsible for this thing of beauty. Mr Cox was a Bermondsey brewer and a keen gardener who moved from London to the country to retire. The story goes that in 1825, Mrs Cox, his wife, was watching a particularly interesting bee working over some blossom on one of the apple trees and was so impressed that she marked the tree with a piece of ribbon. Her other half, took the apple pips from the apple his wife had marked and sowed them. Most of them died but two survived, one became the first Cox’s Orange Pippin and the other Cox’s Pomona. The tree didn’t become public until the 1840s and in 1857 this new upstart of an apple won first prize in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Grand Fruit Exhibition, much to the dismay of the traditionalists of the time!

A good story and if it isn’t true then I don’t want to hear about it. The Coxs themselves never heard about the full success of their apple, as they died beforehand. Trees being trees don’t like to be rushed. I’m taking this information as 100% evidence that the bee on the blossom part was true. The original tree survived until a few years before the outbreak of World War I, when it succumbed to high winds.

It is very, very nice and is very ‘complex’. A word I don’t like which means it has a range of different flavours that you may pick out as you eat it. Each apple is an edible journey. I can’t remember ever having one of these from the supermarket because there always seems to be someone giving you spares from the trees in their gardens. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fare too well outside England so I’ll just have one on your behalf if you’re not from round these ‘ere paarts!!!!

 

 

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