Spitz is also full of wheatgrass notes when still green. Once
it mellows, however, after a month or two, the acidity settles
down and the flavor blossoms. Upon biting into his first Spitz,
my thirteen-year-old son said, “Wow! Lychee soda!”
Court pendu pLat
aLIas: Court pendu rouge, wise apple
orIGIn: known in normandy in the 1500s, but possibly considerably older.
appearanCe: Looks like it got stepped on. doughnut shaped,
with antique orange-red skin, green underneath, and some
fLaVor: mysterious and unfamiliar, with hints of ancient
kitchen spices, along with pineapple and pear.
texture: solid in the hand. one senses that it is made from
more substantial material than modern apples. Crunchy. Virtually juiceless. It doesn’t break apart in pieces; it forces you
to wrestle off every scrap. weird, but weirdly addictive once
you dig into it. Just don’t plan on doing anything else at the
season: pick in october, try in december, keep until spring.
use: a unique fresh eating experience; an inspired, surprising
choice for tarts or baked apples; and probably a deeply traditional apple for mincemeat pies.
reGIon: Virtually extinct in france, the uk, and america.
tHIs Is one of tHe oLdest appLes in Europe and, to my
mind, the most medieval. Pluck one from a small tree, bite into
it, and you are a Cistercian monk, preserving these mysterious
gifts from God within the secrecy of the abbey walls. “Court
Pendu” refers to the apple’s short stem; on the tree, it looks as
though the apples, which grow in pairs, are attached directly to
the branches. Somehow this makes them seem even more medieval, like a living block print. “Plat” refers to their flat shape.
Court Pendu Plat had its heyday in 1600s France and Elizabethan England, where it came to be called Wise Apple for its
habit of blooming very late (after the last frosts had passed),
and it has been staying about half a step ahead of oblivion for
the past few hundred years.
aLIas: knobby russet
orIGIn: sussex, england, 1819.
appearanCe: “It’s alive! . . . It’s alive! . . . It’s alive!”
the russet skin is always covered with raised welts. the
greenish-yellow background is veined pink, like a drunkard’s
fLaVor: surprisingly good. sweet and nutty, with a fino
texture: strangely brittle, almost like a raw potato. Very firm,
but you wouldn’t call it crisp. there is almost no grain to the
flesh, which makes it smooth, almost slippery. the welts are
woody and inedible.
season: october. Like most russets, it’s a good keeper.
use: terrify your children. It’s good fresh and excellent (peeled)
re GIon: although not common anywhere, its primary lair is
eccentric orchards throughout america and the uk.
tHere Is notHInG wrong with this apple. This is how it looks
when everything goes right. It seems as if it stepped straight
out of an H. P. Lovecraft tale and tends to elicit creative descriptions from people. “Looks like a rotting brain!” is not
Court pendu pLat