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Hawthornden apples are flat in shape and a little less than 3 inches in diameter on average. The skin is an attractive light greenish-yellow with a pink-red flush where the fruit has been exposed to the sun. Inside, the creamy flesh is coarse with a firm yet tender texture that melts when cooked. The flavor is balanced between acidic and sweet, and tastes more rich when cooked or baked.
Hawthornden apples are available in the fall.
The Hawthornden apple (Malus domestica) is a Scottish cooking apple that has survived from Victorian times. Its parentage is unknown. Sometimes this variety is known as the White Hawthornden or Maiden’s Blush.
Apples contain several beneficial nutrients and few calories—one medium apple has around 95 calories. The fiber in apples, both in soluble and insoluble form, maintains a healthy digestive system and blood sugar levels. The Vitamin C in apples, along with other antioxidants such as quercetin and catechin, promote a healthy immune system. Overall, including apples in the diet can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Hawthornden apples are primarily cooking apples, although they can be eaten as a dessert variety. The flesh cooks down into a creamy and delicious puree, so are great for an unusual and rich applesauce. Hawthornden also makes wonderful baked apples, paired with brown sugar and cinnamon. Uncooked, the flavor is milder and less complex. Hawthornden are not good keepers and will not last past the fall in storage.
The name of this apple alludes to Hawthornden, Scotland, where the 16th century poet William Drummond was born, and where the Hawthornden apple was first grown.
As its name suggests, the Hawthornden comes from a place of the same name, near Edinburgh in Scotland. The first record of this variety is from 1780. By the 1800s, it was being grown commercially in Kent, England and in London. However, as with many old varieties, it started to become less popular over time because it was not suited to the changing market. In this case, Hawthornden was prone to bruising and so could not be shipped easily. The hardy and spreading trees grow in colder apple climates such as Scotland.