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Rome apples are medium to large in size and can be conical, round, to oblong in shape. The smooth, glossy, and thick skin has a yellow base and is almost completely covered in light red striping and deep red blush. There are also many white lenticels or pores covering the surface. The flesh is cream-colored to a pale white and is firm, crisp, and dense with many small dark brown to black seeds encased in the central fibrous core. Rome apples are crunchy and offer a mild, sweet, and tangy flavor with a slightly floral aroma.
Rome apples are available in the fall through early winter.
Rome apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are members of the Rosaceae, or rose family. Rome apples were originally known as Gillette’s Seedling, but today it is marketed under a variety of names including Rome, Red Rome, and Rome Beauty, named after the town in Ohio where it was first cultivated. Discovered as a chance seedling, Rome apples are considered to be one of the best cooking apples available in the market and have the ability to retain their shape and flavor once cooked.
Rome apples are rich in soluble fiber and contain potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and boron.
Rome apples are best suited for cooked applications such as baking, frying, and roasting. Their dense flesh holds up well when baked making them perfect for use in pies, cakes, bread, and cookies. Their flavor is also enhanced when cooked, becoming sweeter and exceptionally rich. Rome apples are a choice apple when making baked apples, as they will retain their round shape even when hollowed, stuffed and baked. Try in both savory and sweet cooked preparations. Chop and add Rome apples to stuffing and quiche or roast alongside meat and root vegetables. They can also be diced and added to pancake batter or used as a filling for tarts. Rome apples can be slow cooked and pureed to make sauces and soups or fried as slices and served as a side dish. Rome apples pair well with pork chops, Italian sausage, poultry, pecans, currants, raisins, cinnamon, and maple syrup. They will keep for a couple of months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Rome apples were often regarded as the “Queen of the Baking Apples” in the 20th century because of its shape holding abilities in pies and tarts. They were also a part of the “Big Six” which were the top varieties including winesap, golden, and newtons in the Washington apple industry. While the Rome apple has not increased in popularity in the fresh eating market, it has remained steadfast as a baking apple due to its late season, long shelf life, and low chilling requirements.
The Rome apple was named after Rome Township, Ohio where the apple was first planted by chance in 1817 on the Gillett family property. Joel Gillett had purchased several trees to start an orchard, and he found one of the seedlings purchased was very small and unlike the other trees. Rumor has it, he gave this tree to his son, fourteen-year-old Alanson who took the tree and planted it by a river on their property. Once the tree reached an age where it was producing fruit, the Gillett family and neighbors noticed the fruit was exceptionally good and began to take grafts of the tree. Horatio Nelson Gillett, a cousin, was one of the first to graft the tree and took it to a nursery to market it to other growers in the area. The apple quickly became a popularly grown variety in Rome Township, Ohio and the surrounding areas. Today, Rome apples are grown in apple growing regions throughout the United States and can be found at specialty markets and local grocers.
Recipes that include Rome Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
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Union Square Greenmarket
Samascott orchardsNear New York, United States
5 Sunset Ave Kinderhook, NY 12106
About 266 days ago, 1/03/20
Ballard Farmer's Market
Rest AwhileWashington, United States
53 Washington 153 Pateros WA 98846
About 313 days ago, 11/17/19
Sharer's comments : Crisp, tangy, and a touch floral - the perfect snack!
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Cirone FarmsNear Santa Monica, California, United States
See Canyon, CA
About 325 days ago, 11/06/19
Sharer's comments : Apples