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D'Arcy Spice Apples
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D’Arcy Spice apples are oblong, irregularly shaped fruits with a flattened, slightly ribbed appearance. The skin is waxy and tough with a yellow-green base and is covered in patches of brown russet with a red-brown blush. Underneath the surface, the flesh is dense, moderately juicy, crisp, fine-grained, and ivory to cream-colored, encasing a central core filled with small, black-brown seeds. D’Arcy Spice apples have a chewy, crunchy texture with a complex flavor that changes with prolonged storage. When harvested, the apples have a sharp, unpalatable taste, but when left to develop in storage, the flavor becomes sweet and tangy with spice-forward notes of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and raisins.
D’Arcy Spice apples are harvested in the late fall through winter.
D’Arcy Spice apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an heirloom, late-season variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. When the variety was first marketed in the United Kingdom, it was known as the Baddow Pippin apple, only to be renamed D’Arcy Spice after the apple's place of discovery at the Tolleshunt D’Arcy Hall in Essex, England. D’Arcy Spice apples are a russet variety that is favored for its unusual, spice-like flavor that develops when the apple is kept in storage. This long-term storage period to develop the apple’s flavor has prevented the variety from becoming a commercially cultivated apple, but the fruits have become highly valued among apple enthusiasts throughout England. D’Arcy Spice apples are considered to be a dessert cultivar that is consumed fresh for its warm, spice-like flavor.
D’Arcy Spice apples are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help increase collagen production within the body and boost the immune system. The apples also contain potassium, which can help regulate fluid levels in the body and provide some fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin E.
D’Arcy Spice apples are best suited for fresh eating as their spice-forward flavor is showcased when consumed, straight, out-of-hand. In order to be eaten fresh, it is important to note that the apples should be stored for at least one to two months in order for the flesh to develop a palatable flavor. D’Arcy Spice apples can be sliced and served with cheeses, dips, and nuts, chopped and tossed into green and fruit salads, or pressed into juices and ciders. D’Arcy Spice apples can also be baked into bread, muffins, pies, crisps, and cakes, or they can be cooked into compotes, jams, and preserves. D’Arcy Spice apples pair well with potatoes, Brussel sprouts, oranges, cranberries, herbs such as parsley, mint, and basil, and meats such as beef, pork, and poultry. The apples will keep 1-4 months when stored whole and unwashed in a cool, dry, and dark place.
In England, D’Arcy Spice apples are traditionally harvested on Guy Fawkes Day, which is a holiday that commemorates the day where a plot was stopped to blow up the House of Parliament in London in 1605. Held annually on November 5th, the holiday is named after one of the 1605 conspirators, Guy Fawkes. In the modern-day, cities across England host bonfires and light fireworks as part of the commemoration. Farms also take advantage of celebrating with bonfires by cleaning and gathering excess garden waste and lighting the piles on fire. Many farmers gather D’Arcy Spice apples during the day and hang the fruits in bags on the trees, while at night, the plant debris is burned to get ready for the winter season. Guy Fawkes Day is also often celebrated with Halloween, and it is common for English families to host outdoor costume parties around bonfires.
D’Arcy Spice apples are an old russet variety that was first noticed in the gardens of Tolleshunt D’Arcy Hall in the county of Essex, England, in 1785. After the variety’s discovery, the apples were commercially introduced in 1848 under the name Baddow Pippin and were cultivated by grower John Harris. The apples were later renamed to D’Arcy Spice and became a popular late-season variety in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today D’Arcy Spice apples are a rare variety that is primarily grown through specialty growers and in home gardens in the United Kingdom. The apples are also still grown along the pathway to the entrance of Tolleshunt D’Arcy Hall.