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Red Astrachan

Why you should be excited

Red Astrachan is a Russian apple with the distinction of being one of the earliest bloomers of all varieties.

The story of Red Astrachan

Back before the internet (yes, there was such a time), information about apple varieties didn’t travel quickly or comprehensively. As a result, one variety, especially if it’s really old, could become known by different names in different places. Heck, how would people in one part of the world know that an old variety existed elsewhere and had a longstanding name?

This is how I imagine the Russian apple Red Astrachan came to be known in certain parts of the world as Abe Lincoln, in others as Waterloo and in yet others as Vermilion d’Ete.

In each case, we were talking about the same apple: the super early-blooming, early-ripening, short-keeping and pleasant-flavoured Red Astrachan.

Red Astrachan Facts

Its origins

Unknown origins in Russia, 17th century or even earlier.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Crisp and sharp, juicy, flavourful. Nice for an early variety.

Appearance

Medium-sized with yellow skin liberally splashed with crimson.

When they’re available

Early season (usually in August).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking:

Good. Also good in cider.

Keeping ability

Minimal (just a few days when kept refrigerated).