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Gilpin

Why you should be excited

Gilpin is an old U.S. cooking and cider apple best known -- by far -- for its excellent keeping qualities.

The story of Gilpin

This apple keeps so long, people actually warn that it's not fit to eat until it's been in storage for several months.

In these days of controlled atmosphere storage, where coolers are emptied of oxygen so as to stop their ripening process in its tracks, this might not seem like such a big deal. But it was once a very big deal to have an apple variety that could sit in your cool basement for six months and come out equal (or better) in quality compared to when it went in.

Gilpin -- also known in the U.S. south as Carthouse -- is that apple. Not a super-good fresh-eating variety, especially in the early weeks after harvest, this is a good cooker and cider apple, to be sure. And, boy, does it keep well.

Gilpin Facts

Its origins

Likely raised from a seed in Virginia, USA, sometime before 1817.

Flavour, aroma, texture

After time in storage, the flesh becomes crisp and tender, fairly juicy and verging on sweet.

Appearance

A medium-sized, roundish apple with a yellowish background that can be striped with red or entirely red.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in late October).

Quality for fresh eating

Average.

Quality for cooking

Good.

Quality for cider

Good. This is what Gilpin was best known for back in the day.

Keeping ability

Excellent (about 7 months when kept refrigerated).