Corker of a cook­ing apple

Newslink - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JENNY CAMP­BELL

It weighs over half a kilo­gram and it will make six apple pies when it fi­nally gets sliced up.

A Graven­stein apple grown by Jill and Evan Hankey of Lums­den, in North­ern South­land, could be one for the record books.

Weigh­ing in at 640g (or 1lb 10ozs), the huge apple hasn’t fallen far from a her­itage tree with a bit of a story to tell.

Evan said Graven­stein ap­ples seem to have a sur­vival in­stinct and the apple they’ve grown this sea­son, one of a su­per-sized crop, is tes­ta­ment to this - the tree it was on has had three dif­fer­ent homes.

‘‘I was driv­ing up a side road in the coun­try at the back of Waikaka and no­ticed an apple tree with a good crop on it and saw some seedlings grow­ing un­der­neath.’’

‘‘I went back in the win­ter, which is the best time for trans­plant­ing, dug two seedlings up, brought them home and planted them at our prop­erty on Meadow St.’’

The seedlings thrived and grew well there for 10 years, pro­duc­ing good crops each year, but it wasn’t their final home.

They sold their prop­erty and moved to Cover St in Lums­den, and the trees went with them.

‘‘We took cut­tings as well as trans­plant­ing the orig­i­nal trees and amaz­ingly they have sur­vived the two shifts and are do­ing well, pro­duc­ing this very large apple this year along with many oth­ers of sim­i­lar size.

‘‘The trees have been es­tab­lished at Cover St now for 12 years but it has been a great year for ap­ples this year.’’

Graven­stein ap­ples are not avail­able com­mer­cially in New Zealand, but in Aus­tria they are used for the pro­duc­tion of high-qual­ity brandy.

The va­ri­ety is widely grown in the north­ern hemi­sphere, es­pe­cially in Canada and Cal­i­for­nia.

It is also thriv­ing in the Hankey’s back yard.

‘‘Our prop­erty is or­ganic and we see no need for sprays,’’ Jill said.

The Hankeys could be eat­ing apple pie for a while.

The apple has a very small core area to be cut out and would then make six apple pies, or one large fam­ily-sized pie, she es­ti­mated.

‘‘The Graven­stein are great cook­ing ap­ples, go­ing all fluffy with cook­ing, they don’t need added sugar and I use them for apple pies, apple crum­ble and short­cake as well as bot­tling and freez­ing them.’’

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