King of the Pippins Apples
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King of the Pippins apples are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 6 to 6.5 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical, elongated, to oval shape with a sometimes flattened, lopsided appearance. The apple's skin is smooth, taut, semi-glossy, and faintly ribbed, showcasing a golden-yellow to yellow-green base flushed with orange-red patches. The amount of red-orange coloring will vary depending on sun exposure, and dark red broken stripes will sometimes appear on the blushed areas. The thick skin is also covered in grey-green lenticels, russet dots, and russet patches in the stem cavity, giving the surface a lightly textured feel. Underneath the skin, the cream-colored to ivory flesh is fine-grained, dense, firm, and aqueous, with a crisp and crunchy consistency. The flesh also encases a moderately sized central fibrous core filled with dark brown, oval seeds. King of the Pippins apples release a floral, sweet, and grassy aroma when sliced. The apples also have high sugar and acidity levels, creating a sweet, sharp, and brisk taste with nutty, vinous, and citrus-like nuances. It is important to note that the variety will sweeten with extended storage, developing notes of vanilla.
King of the Pippins apples are harvested in the fall and can be stored through the winter.
King of the Pippins apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an heirloom variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The mid to late-season variety was discovered in Europe as a chance seedling in the 17th century and was selected for its flavor and versatility. King of the Pippins apples earned their regal moniker in England, deemed a robustly flavored variety during the 19th century. It was also thought to have been grown from seed rather than grafted, earning it the pippin descriptor. Throughout Europe, King of the Pippins apples also acquired several other regional names, including Prince's Pippin and Queen of the Pippins in England, Golden Winter Pearmain throughout Europe, Reine des Reinette in France, Gold Parmane in Germany and Switzerland, and Kroon Renet in the Netherlands. King of the Pippins apples were widely grown in Europe during the 19th century, but due to their unreliable cropping and demanding cultivation requirements, the variety was eventually discarded by growers in favor of simpler, modern cultivars. Despite their fall into obscurity, King of the Pippins apples are favored by apple enthusiasts for their dense flesh and bright flavoring, suited for cider making, fresh preparations, and cooked dishes. The variety also produced a sport called King of the Pippins Russet in the 1950s at Rookery Farm, Bordon, Hampshire, England.
King of the Pippins apples have not been studied for their nutritional properties. Like other apples, the variety is a source of potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, iron to develop the protein hemoglobin for oxygen transport through the bloodstream, and antioxidants to protect the cells against the damage caused by free radicals. The apples also provide vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and other nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin E.
King of the Pippins apples have a sweet and acidic flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The apples can be eaten straight off the tree, but most consumers enjoy the full taste of the variety once it has been stored for 2 to 3 weeks. King of the Pippins apples can be served on cheese boards, sliced and used as a topping on toast, chopped into grain bowls, or tossed into salads. The apples can also be dipped in caramel, chocolate, or Fromage Blanc, minced into creamy dips, or shredded into slaws. In addition to raw dishes, King of the Pippins apples have dense, firm flesh that holds its shape well when cooked. The apples can be baked into pies, tarte tatin, dumplings, cakes, and tarts, sweetened when heated, or fried into fritters, wrapped in pastry and baked whole, or stuffed with spices, nuts, and dried fruits as a decadent dessert. Try sautéing the apples in brown butter and sugar to create a caramelized topping for ice cream. The apples can also be simmered into applesauce, jellies, butter, and chutney. Beyond culinary preparations, King of the Pippins apples are used for their complex flavoring and are pressed into cider blends. King of the Pippins apples pair well with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, nuts including walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts, vanilla, maple syrup, and chocolate. Whole, unwashed King of the Pippins apples will keep for 1 to 4 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark location.
King of the Pippins apples, also known as Golden Winter Pearmains, were an apple variety planted in California to nourish the influx of miners during the Gold Rush. French nurseryman Felix Gillet saw an unmet need to feed the booming miner population and opened a nursery in 1866 in Nevada City, California. The California Gold Rush began in 1848, and by the 1870s, when Gillet established his nursery, over 300,000 people had traveled to California, marking the largest mass migration in American history. Gillet introduced Golden Winter Pearmain apples from Europe into his Barren Hill Nursery sometime in the mid-1880s and planted several trees throughout various towns in California. For the next few decades, Gillet promoted his nursery in advertisements and horticultural journals, developing a reputation for offering quality fruit and nut trees. Gillet passed away in 1908, leading the nursery to eventually change hands and fade from the spotlight. Felix Gillet is remembered through the Felix Gillet Institute, a non-profit organization created by Bob "Amigo" Castisano and two partners. Castisano sought to preserve the work of Gillet, and the organization has been collecting trees and cuttings of varieties that were planted by Gillet throughout towns from the Gold Rush. According to the Gillet Institute, the first Golden Winter Pearmain tree was planted in the town of Forest in Sierra County. A few trees were also found in the 1970s in an old orchard at Acorn Ranch near Yorkville, California.
The history of the King of the Pippin apples is debated among pomologists, and there are several theories of origin. What is agreed upon is that the apples were grown as early as the 17th century in continental Europe under the name Golden Winter Pearmain. During the 17th century, Golden Winter Pearmain apples were thought to have originated in Holland or Normandy, France, and were discovered as a chance seedling. After its discovery, the variety was spread throughout orchards in continental Europe, acquiring several regional names by the late 18th century, making it difficult to accurately trace the variety's movement. In the early 19th century, Golden Winter Pearmain apples crossed the English Channel and were planted in the United Kingdom. A nurseryman in Brompton known as Kirke renamed the variety the Queen of the Pippins in an article published in Pomological Magazine in 1827. He also named the variety King of the Pippins in his nursery catalogs throughout the 19th century. King of the Pippins apples were deemed a British apple by George Lindley in his "Guide to the Orchard and Fruit Garden," published in 1831, further adding more confusion to the variety's origins. Some pomologists argue that the Golden Winter Pearmain may be distinct from King of the Pippins, while others claim they are the same. King of the Pippins apples were a popular variety throughout the 19th century and were also introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s. The variety eventually faded from production as it was replaced with modern apple varieties in the 20th century and became localized to private orchards and home gardens. King of the Pippins apples were given an Award of Garden Merit in 1993 in England through the Royal Horticultural Society to protect the variety from disappearing and recognize its complex, sharp flavoring as a garden apple tree. Today King of the Pippins apples are rare and are found in select orchards, home gardens, and specialty growers in Europe, specifically Holland, Germany, France, and England, and North America. The King of the Pippins apples featured in the photograph above were sourced through Brogdale Farm in Faversham, Kent, England.
Recipes that include King of the Pippins Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Dessert Now, Dinner Later||Homemade Apple Pie Filling|
|Flour on My face||Instant Pot Cinnamon Apples with a Thick Brown Sugar Glaze|
|Mom Secret Ingredients||Easy Cinnamon Roll Apple Rose Tart|
|One Broads Journey||Beet Carrot Apple Ginger Juice|