The Bramley apple is a cultivar of apple which is usually eaten cooked. It is almost exclusively a British variety.
Bramley apple trees are large, vigorous, spreading and long-lived. They tolerate some shade. The apples are very large, two or three times the weight of a typical dessert apple such as a Gala. They are flat with a vivid green skin which becomes red on the side which receives direct sunlight. The tree is resistant to apple scab and mildew and does best when grown as a standard in somewhat heavy clay soil. It needs two other varieties of apple for pollination.The apple has won many awards.
The first Bramley grew from pips planted by Mary Ann Brailsford when she was a young girl in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, UK in 1809. The tree in the garden was later included in the purchase of the cottage by a local butcher, Matthew Bramley in 1846. In 1856, a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Bramley agreed but insisted that the apples should bear his name.
On 31st October 1862 the first recorded sale of a Bramley was noted in Merryweather’s accounts. He sold “three Bramley apples for 2/- to Mr Geo Cooper of Upton Hall”. On 6th December 1876 the Bramley was highly commended at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit Committee exhibition. In 1900 the original tree was knocked over during violent storms; it survived, however, and is still bearing fruit two centuries after it was planted. It is now the most important cooking apple in England and Wales with 95% of the total culinary apple orchards in 2007.
Bramley apples work well in pies, cooked fruit compotes and salads, crumbles, and other dessert dishes. They are also used in a variety of chutney recipes, as well as in cider making. Whole Bramley apples, cored and filled with dried fruit, baked, and when served with custard is an inexpensive and traditional British pudding. Cooked apple sauce is the traditional accompaniment to roast pork. Hot apple sauce goes very well with ice cream.
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