apple_joybells.jpg

Junaluska

Why you should be excited

Junaluska is a long-lost apple from the pre-Civil War U.S. south that was rediscovered in 2001.

The story of Junaluska

One of the exciting aspects of growing connoisseur apples is the opportunity to help bring back old varieties that almost disappeared. We are bit players compared to folks like Lee Calhoun, a southern U.S. apple hunter and Nick Botner, an Oregonian who has propagated thousands of obscure varieties.

Not to mention Tom Brown of Clemmons, North Carolina, the fellow who actually rediscovered Junaluska and took the time to tell us about his efforts in some detail.

Brown has spent the better part of two decades searching the U.S. south  for lost and rare apple varieties and reports that he has discovered some 1,000 varieties over that period. On top of that accomplishment, Brown generously shares scionwood with others, playing a huge role in preserving this incredible living heritage for future generations.

Botner, who finally retired from selling scionwood somewhere beyond the age of 90, also spread historic varieties far and wide. From him, we were lucky to get grafting wood in 2013 from about 100 rare old varieties. These include Junaluska – named for Cherokee Chief Junaluskee who owned the first known tree – which is a late-ripening fresh-eating apple. Through hours of research and sleuth work, Brown found this early 1800s variety in North Carolina in 2001 after it had long been lost and presumed extinct.

Junaluska Facts

Its origins

Discovered in North Carolina, USA, sometime before 1840.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The dryish flesh is fine-grained and dense, with a subacid flavour.

Appearance

This is a medium-sized roundish apple with a greenish skin with orange-red blotches. It's mostly covered with a tan-coloured russet.

When they’re available

Very late season (usually in November).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

Like most old-time North American apples, Junaluska was used extensively in cider back in the day. So give it a try.

Keeping ability

Good (3 months when kept refrigerated).