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Notaris apples are oblong to rounded fruits and generally have an irregular, elongated, and lopsided shape. The skin is smooth, waxy, and yellow-green, covered in pale green lenticels and orange-red striping on the surfaces most exposed to the sun. Underneath the skin, the flesh is crisp, aqueous, firm, and pale yellow to cream-colored, encasing a central core filled with small, black-brown seeds. Notaris apples have a crunchy, juicy consistency with a balanced, sweet and sour flavor.
Notaris apples are available in the fall through winter.
Notaris apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an old Dutch variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. Also known as the Notary apple and Notarisappel, Notaris apples were named after their breeder’s primary profession, a notary in the Netherlands, and were developed to be an improved cultivar for commercial growing. With their release, Notaris apples became one of the most popular varieties in the Netherlands in the early 20th century, but due to its susceptibility to disease, the cultivar was quickly overshadowed by other new cultivars. Today Notaris apples are considered a specialty variety that is remembered fondly by the Dutch as an old cultivar with quality flavor. The apple is primarily grown in home gardens and is valued by Dutch apple enthusiasts, but it is not commercially produced and is difficult to find outside of local markets.
Notaris apples are an excellent source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion and are a good source of potassium, which is a mineral that can help reduce blood pressure and balance fluid levels in the body. The apples also contain some iron and vitamin C.
Notaris apples are best suited for both raw and cooked applications, such as baking and roasting. The apples are showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand, or they can be sliced and incorporated into oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and parfaits, sliced and layered on appetizer plates, or chopped and tossed into salads. Notaris apples can also be pressed into juice, pureed, cooked into compotes and sauces, or dried for extended use. In addition to raw applications, Notaris apples are suitable for baking and can be cooked into muffins, tarts, bread, and cobblers. Notaris apples pair well with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, maple syrup, caramel, mint, oranges, grapes, cranberries, and meats such as beef, pork, and poultry. The fresh apples will keep 1-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Johannes Hermannus Theodorus Wilhelmus van den Ham, a Dutch notary and the creator of Notaris apples, dedicated much of his life to developing new fruit varieties. Working closely with Dr. Jean Baptiste van Mons, Van den Ham created the Luntersche Tuinbouwvereniging, also known as the Lunteren Horticultural Association, in 1873 to improve the way of life in Lunteren, which was predominately an agricultural town. Van den Ham created many improved apple varieties and formed an organization that was centered around collaboration and belonging. Members of the society focused on growing and selecting improved seedlings, which led the organization to win many awards at horticultural exhibitions across Europe.
Notaris apples were created in 1890 by Johannes Hermannus Theodorus Wilhelmus van den Ham in Lunteren, the Netherlands, and were believed to have been created from the princess noble or alant variety. The apples were first released in 1899 by the Lunteren Horticultural Society at the National Exhibition of Seedling Fruits and quickly became one of the most popular varieties in the Netherlands. Today Notaris apples are challenging to find commercially produced and are reserved to specialty growers through local markets. The variety is also found through online seed catalogs for home garden use in Europe.