Apples of Uncommon Character:
Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little-Known Wonders
Rowan Jacobsen has written at least 9 books - most about the nexus between nature and things I like to eat and drink and also writes extensively on science and nature. In 2004, Jacobsen and his wife bought a rundown 1840s' farm in Calais, Vermont surrounded by 4 acres of meadows. The farm also had trees producing apples he had never seen before and this led him on a journey into the world of apples, journeying down back country roads looking for heirloom trees, visiting experts and enjoying apples. Apples are an amazing fruit. They are one of the few orchard fruits that do not produce true to seed. To get a new apple tree that produces the same fruit as the parent you need to take a scion (a piece of young stem) and graft it onto a root stock. The apples we see at fruit stands, orchard stores and supermarkets are all the result of careful human intervention. In Apples of Uncommon Character: Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little-Known Wonders Jacobsen tells the story of 123 varieties of apples - their flavors, what they were created to do and where they were created to row. He divides apples up into summer apples, dessert apples, bakers and saucers, keepers, cider fruit, and oddballs. Our ancestors have probably eaten apples for a long time but we first domesticated them some 4,000 to 10,000 years ago in Central Asia's Tien Shan mountains. Jacobsen tells the story of how our ancestors selected apples for different purposes and different climates to produce the many varieties we have today. His discussion of the different breeds of apples bred for different purposes will help you more knowledgeably select apples and put them to their best use. Jacobsen - like most of those knowledgeable about apples - bemoans the "supermarket-ization" of apples - turning them into a tasteless, yet attractive commodity and describes dozens of varieties that will have you lusting for. As usual, this is a fascinating, well written book by Rowan Jacobsen. It is attractively illustrated - worthy of positioning as a coffee table book. This is a good book for those interesting in brewing cider or in taking the Beer Judge Certification Program Cider Exam. It is also a good book for those who love apples and are looking for new ways to enjoy them.
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