Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pleasures of the flesh

So here's an apple you probably won't find on the east coast: the Pink Pearl. Isn't it pretty? Like the Gravenstein, it's a summer variety, which means we're now at the tail end of the season. Sigh.

The breed is popular with apple enthusiasts, but because it bruises easily and doesn't keep well in storage, it never made it to the supermarket shelves.

To make m
atters worse, Pink Pearls are homely on the outside, with dull yellow-brown, faintly blushing skin and an uneven conical shape. I almost skipped over them at the farmers market myself. But they have a secret: inside, they're positively vampy, with shockingly pink, sweet-tart flesh. Even the blooms are bright pink. The fruit is crisp and tastes of raspberries and lemon custard. In fact, I baked some Pink Pearls in a galette with raspberries and they were a natural pairing.

The first Pink Pearl was hybridized in Northern California in 1944 from another red-fleshed variety called "Surprise," which, in turn, probably descended from an ancient breed of red-fleshed Turksh crabapples. "Surprise" apples were beautiful, but sour; a plant breeder named Albert Etter came up with with Pink Pearl as a way to breed more sweetness into them. So I'm giving thanks to him and to the farmers who keep these heirlooms in circulation.

14 comments:

Rachael said...

Wow, those are beautiful.

signatur said...

i would like to buy a tree to plant in my garden. unfortunately i live in europe.

Amy said...

That's a shame, signatur. Greenmantle Nursery in Garberville, CA sells the trees, but I imagine they can't ship internationally. If only apple varieties could be true from seed...

Anonymous said...

hi amy
could you please give me the adress. maybe there is a possibility to get them in europe. i´m sure there live more crazy people in the world than me.
i´m also looking for tomato seeds called evergreen. i found them also only in usa and i have wheather a creditcard nor a friend who lives or visits the states. poor me :)

i like your blog

Mrs. Lear said...

Just found these for the first time at my market - what a surprise they are!

Amy Traverso said...

Mrs. Lear, where do you live? I'm so jealous that you have them at your market!

Jennifer said...

I bought some of these at my local natural foods store this weekend and just bit into one this morning. I think Surprise would've been a good name for these too! I did in fact shriek in surprise.

As to the exterior, I think it's lovely. I thought it was named for That. It's a sortof pearlescent pink and yellow, but it turns out that's due to the hot pink flesh showing through the pale yellow green skin. pretty damned cool!

dave french said...

I discovered Pink Pearls out east for the first time. was at Haymarket store in Greenwich CT...they were bought by NY'ers Balducci..no more Pink Pearls. Gosh darn city folks.

Amy Traverso said...

Oh, that's an exciting development! I wonder if I can persuade anyone in Boston to carry them.

dave french said...

Nearest 'east' store that carries them is Treasure Island stores in Chicago. A manager there is trying to get me a contact at the distributor they buy from.
Still time for a farmers market or two out here in Ct...they will sell out in minutes!

Amy Traverso said...

Please let me know if you get a distributor's name! I'd love to connect them with one of the markets in Boston!

dave french said...

Will do Amy..do you know the history of 'red flesh' apples. It is pretty cool. Some of the rarer ones from Europe are almost bloody red. Supposedly very high in anti oxidents and quite tasty!

dave french said...

Saw post from Europe...red/pink flesh apples originated from Europe and were brought to US in 1831. Europeans should be able to find trees there but not specifically red pearl...and you should not run into agricultural restrictions if it is fellow EU country.

dragonfly said...

We just had these while having breakfast in Occidental California.
This was my first time, in hearing of them or trying them.
I was very surprised. I have now read that their season is short, so if we blink we might miss them. After breakfast I was able to find some from an local grocer to bring a few home to enjoy. Not only are they beautiful, they have a distinctively delightful taste.