George Cave Apples
Inventory, lb : 0
George Cave apples are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 6 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a round, oblong, to conical shape. The apple's skin is semi-thick and tough, contributing a chewy consistency, and the surface is smooth, waxy, and glossy. The skin also has a yellow-green base, covered in patches of muted red blush and striping. Underneath the surface, the white to ivory, green-tinged flesh is fine-grained, moderately juicy, and crisp. It is important to note that the crisp, tender texture is short-lived, and the flesh softens, becoming mealy and dry within a few days after picking. The flesh also encases a small central core filled with tiny dark brown, oval seeds. George Cave apples are faintly aromatic with a sweet, fruity scent and have a mild, sweet-tart flavor with fruity, green apple nuances.
George Cave apples are available in the late summer through early fall.
George Cave apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an early-season variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The English apples were released to commercial markets in the mid-20th century and were valued for their sweet and sharp, refreshing flavor, unusual for early apples. George Cave apples were a reliable garden variety in English orchards throughout the late 20th century and were planted to provide a source of flavorful fruit in the late summer to early fall before other more popular varieties were ready for harvest. The apples were consumed as a fresh-eating dessert cultivar and were often eaten straight from the tree to experience the apple’s best quality and flavor. Over time, George Cave apples faded from commercial popularity due to their short shelf life and were replaced with other newer early-season introductions such as the discovery apple. Despite its obscurity in the modern-day, the variety has remained a favorite cultivar in heritage orchards throughout England.
George Cave apples are a source of antioxidants, found in vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, vitamin E to protect the cells against free radical damage, and vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning. The apples also provide calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and lower amounts of zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium.
George Cave apples have a neutral, sweet-tart flavor well suited for fresh preparations. The apples can be consumed straight, out of hand, and peeled before eating or served with their skin on, depending on preference. George Cave apples can also be chopped into slaws, salads, and fruit bowls, layered into grilled cheeses and sandwiches, or sliced and dipped into nut butter, chocolate, and caramel. The apple’s soft flesh allows it to be used as a topping over ice cream, parfait, cereal, and other breakfast dishes such as pancakes and waffles, or they can be sliced and served on charcuterie boards as a healthy appetizer. Beyond fresh preparations, George Cave apples are sometimes blended into smoothies, pressed into juices, or combined with other apple varieties to make cider blends. The apples are not commonly used in cooked preparations, but a few chefs in England use them to make maman blanc tarts. George Cave apples pair well with vanilla, herbs such as parsley, mint, and rosemary, spices including cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger, and nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Whole, unwashed George Cave apples have a very short shelf life and will only keep for a couple of days after harvest. The apples are crisp when first picked, but their flesh quality compromises quickly and softens, becoming mealy and dry. George Cave apples should be immediately consumed for the best quality and flavor.
Seventeen George Cave apple trees are growing in chef Raymond Blanc’s private orchard in Oxfordshire, England. The orchard is situated on the property of Blanc’s hotel and restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a 15th-century manor that was designed into a luxury property in 1984. The manor has become a gastronomical destination for haute cuisine, and the restaurant has received two Michelin stars for over 35 years. When designing the property, Blanc dreamed of using home-grown ingredients and planted herb gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards, and the manor even has a mushroom valley. The orchard contains over 2,500 trees, including rare British apple varieties such as George Cave, and produces around 30 tons of fruit annually. Blanc became so passionate about the unique apple varieties in his orchard that he also wrote a book known as The Lost Orchard, detailing his research and planting experience.
George Cave apples were discovered as a chance seedling growing in Dovercourt, Essex, in 1923. The variety’s parentage is unknown, but experts speculate that the parent apples may have been the beauty of bath and worcester pearmain. Much of the history of George Cave apples is unknown, but from a record in a newspaper in 1994, written by former entomologist Jack Briggs, the variety was discovered by a chemist known as George Cave. The story recounts that the chemist suddenly left Dovercourt, and his daughter rescued the apple variety and sent it to the National Fruit Trials for research and study. The apples were later given to Seabrook & Sons, a local nursery in Boreham, Essex, where the variety was propagated and named after the chemist. George Cave apples were released for commercial cultivation in 1945 and became a somewhat popular cultivar throughout the late 20th century. Today George Cave apples are a rare variety primarily found in private orchards and home gardens throughout England.