Armagh Bramley Apples - Five Reasons Why They Are Special

Although the Bramley apple originally came from England, a special variety of the fruit is grown in Northern Ireland. In March 2012, the importance of the apple was recognised by the European Commission, which granted the fruit Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. This step, like the recognition given to Parma ham, champagne and Comber potatoes, will allow the growers to market their fruit internationally, secure in the knowledge that their apples are the 'real thing'.
Armagh is known as the Orchard County because it gets fewer late frosts than many other areas, a factor crucial to apple production. Additionally, its micro-climate; damp and mild, suits the growing of cooking apples in particular. The tart, sharp taste of an Armagh Bramley is what sets it apart from English-grown apples. The Fruit Growers Association has noted that the unique taste and texture of this apple is the result of their slower growth in the Armagh climate.
Armagh Bramley apples are grown in a more northerly location that other UK Bramleys. Less light means photosynthesis produces a lower tree density. Further, the colder climate results in a more diverse growth pattern in the apples than in other Bramley areas and a longer growing season. The colder temperatures also deter insects and thereby mean fewer applications of insecticide. Artificial irrigation is unnecessary due to the rich soil and higher levels of precipitation. These climatic factors are essential for a Bramley to be termed an Armagh Bramley. The designated area, encompassing the traditional apple-growing parishes of Armagh, and parts of Tyrone and Londonderry, features drumlin (from the Irish, 'little ridge') hills and several small rivers.
In terms of cooking with them, the strong, distinctive flavour and the increased acidity makes them a desirable culinary apple. The benefits of the Armagh Bramley continue when cooked, as they hold their flavour and keep the firmness of texture for which they are noted. Storage -wise, they have a reputation for keeping their quality and therefore can be kept for longer than other Bramleys; storing for a year or more is possible.
In Northern Ireland, local restaurants are keen to promote this special product. Recipes include Apple Pie, Apple Sorbet and Apple Crumble. Yet whilst recipe competitions are held to encourage use of the Armagh Bramley, a large proportion of the approximately 35,000 tonnes of Bramleys produced in Armagh (second only to Kent) goes towards making a popular Irish cider; Portadown and Loughgall in County Armagh are the original cider-making towns in Northern Ireland. Armagh Bramleys are also sliced, diced, canned and pouched, ready to be used in any number of food products.
Although Armagh Bramley growers always knew the importance and distinctiveness of their product, the recognition given by the EU has given the Armagh Bramley an extra seal of approval. The apple is important because of its taste, texture, cooking and storage capabilities, and variety of uses to which it can be put. The future looks bright for the Armagh Bramley apple.
Article Source: 1

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment