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Alexander

Why you should be excited

Alexander is a big, beautiful heritage apple known for its Ukrainian origins and its parenting of Wolf River.

The story of Alexander

Here’s an old apple variety that has won over fans in Europe and North America, over a period of more than two centuries. Yet most people agree it’s actually surpassed in quality by other apples, including Wolf River, reputedly one of its offspring.

A large apple with pretty red striping, Alexander looks awesome and serves well both for fresh eating and for cooking. Just don’t expect a hard-fleshed modern apple; instead, this is a softer-fleshed variety, a characteristic that once was the norm but now is pooh-poohed by many. Which raises the question: is a great apple no longer a great apple if tastes change over time?

Folks who stand with the 'hard as a rock or forget it' school of fresh apple-eating may suggest that Alexander is best-suited these days to be used as a cooker, a role where it can excel, indeed, although it doesn’t hold its shape when cooked. Some North Americans will be horrified at the prospect of an apple turned to mush, whereas those from Britain will be cheering. After all, that's how a cooking apple should behave, they'll tell you.

But for those who don't object to an apple that turns into applesauce as it cooks and aren't averse to eating a tender-fleshed apple, Alexander remains a good choice both for fresh eating and for baking.

Alexander Facts

Its origins

Discovered in the Ukraine, 18th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Soft, juicy white flesh. Quite sweet, balanced with acidity.

Appearance

Large in size, roundish with red or carmine stripes covering most of its green background.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in late September or early October).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking

Good.

Quality for cider

Not widely used in cider.

Keeping ability

So-so (about 1 month when kept refrigerated).