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The most well-known and delicious of the russet apples. The russet refers to where the skin becomes slightly rough and ochre coloured when the apple is fully ripe. The shape is also distinctive being slightly flattened and doughnut like while being of medium size. The flesh is cream to pale yellow coloured, firm and crisp but is quite dry in texture because, for an eating apple, it is relatively high in tannins. In spite of this the apple is sweet and has a rich, some say nutty, flavour. The tree itself is compact and is very free spurring making it crop heavily. Unlike many apples, the Egremont Russet will do well in wet conditions and is hardy enough to cope in the far North of the UK as well as being resistant to most apple ailments. The apples store well too.
The Egremont Russet is very free spurring which makes it ideal for training into cordons or espaliers against a wall or fence. Not only is this particularly attractive, but it works well in small gardens and means you will have the space for another type of apple which is helpful because Egremont Russet apples are only partially self-fertile. This means that although the tree will fruit on its own, it will fruit that much better if there is another pollinator of the same Group nearby. An apple like Peasgood Nonsuch would make a good companion and is a versatile apple that you can eat or cook. The Egremont Russet is not known for its blossom in particular but all apple trees have a charm or their own in spring and if you surround it with some of our spring flowering bulbs it will make a beautiful part of your garden and is one of the reason why this tree is so popular. Another way to incorporate into the garden is to grow climbers through its boughs: a not too vigorous rose like Felicite Perpetue would look wonderful and will cope with northerly conditions, or shroud it in a honeysuckle like Graham Thomas to attract even more bees into your garden.
Although no one is quite sure who bred the Egremont Russet the name would suggest that perhaps it was raised on the estates belonging to Lord Egremont of Petworth, Sussex - home now to the most fantastic collection of Turner paintings. In the early 1800s Petworth was well known for the its fruit breeding, but it took a Somerset man - J Scott of Merriott - to record the apple officially in 1872. Its keeping qualities and the revival of interest in old and traditional varieties of apple mean that Egremont Russet has been grown commercially on a small scale in the UK.