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Bramley Seedling apples, British Columbia, Canada

The Bramley apple (Malus domestica 'Bramley's Seedling') is a cultivar of apple which is often eaten cooked. Raw, most people find its flavour too sour, and it is either loved or hated. The Concise Household Encyclopedia states, "Some people eat this apple raw in order to cleanse the palate, but Bramley's seedling is essentially the fruit for tart, pie, or dumpling." Once cooked, however, it has a lighter flavour. A peculiarity of the variety is that when cooked it becomes golden and fluffy.


Bramley apple trees are large, vigorous, spreading and long-lived. It tolerates some shade. The apples are very large, two or three times the weight of a typical dessert apple like a Granny Smith. They are flat with a vivid green skin which becomes red on the side which receives direct sunlight. The tree is scab and mildew resistant and does best when grown as a standard in somewhat heavy clay soil. Heavy and regular bearer. Triploid. Needs two other varieties of apple for pollination.


The first Bramley tree grew from seeds planted by Mary Ann Brailsford when she was a young girl in her garden in Southwellmarker, Nottinghamshiremarker, UKmarker 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 occurred in Messrs. Merryweathers books. 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 got knocked down during violent storms, however the tree somehow survived and is still bearing fruit 200 years later.It is now the most important cooking apple in England & Wales, with 21.68 kmĀ², 95% of total culinary apple orchards in 2007.The Bramley is almost exclusively a British variety; however it is also grown by a few United States farms, and can be found in Canada.


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 then 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.

Regardless of the dish, Bramley apples are generally cooked in the same basic way. First the fruit is peeled and then sliced, and the pieces covered in lemon juice (or some other acidic juice) to prevent them from turning brown. Sugar is usually added as well. In pies and crumbles the fruit is simply covered with the topping and baked; the moisture in the apples is sufficient to soften them while cooking. To make apple sauce, the apples are sliced and then stewed with sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan.

Bramley Seedling apples are favoured for producing a jelly which is very pale in colour.


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