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Kent apples are a medium-sized variety, with an orange-red flush and red stripes overlaid on a greenish-yellow background; some fruits also have prominent russetting. They are round or conical in shape. The cream-colored flesh can tend toward coarse and the skin can be tough. The Kent apple’s flavor depends on the amount of sun available during the growing season, as well as how long it has been in storage. Years without much sun may produce Kent apples that are more metallic tasting, while sunny growing seasons produce a much better flavor—rich, aromatic, and balanced between sweet and acid. Kent apples also tend to sweeten over time, and are at their most sweet and aromatic after sitting in storage well into the winter.
Kent apples are available in the late fall through winter.
The Kent apple, as its name suggests, is an English variety of Malus domestica, from the modern era. It is a cross between the popular Cox’s Orange Pippin and the American apple Jonathan. Kent apples are also known as Malling apples or Malling Kent apples.
Apples are made up primarily of carbohydrates and water, which some important nutrients. They are particularly high in fiber—one medium apple contains about 17 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber, both in soluble and insoluble forms. Apples also contain Vitamin C and smaller amounts of potassium.
As with many modern varieties of apples, the Kent is at its best as a dessert apple for fresh eating. Try as a snack paired with cheddar or cottage cheese, or combined with caramel or maple syrup for a treat. They also pair well with other fruits such as citrus, apricots, and plums. Kents are good keepers, and can be stored in the refrigerator or other cool, dry storage space for up to four months.
Many old varieties of apples have acquired several names over the years. More modern varieties tend to have one name, since their development and production is more tightly controlled. Kent is somewhat unusual in that is a modern variety developed at a research station, but it has multiple names. It is commonly known both as Kent and as Malling.
H.M. Tydeman first bred the Kent apple at the East Malling Research Station in Kent, England in 1949. It was given its name in 1974. The hardy Kent makes a good garden tree as well, and can tolerate fairly cold, exposed climates. Today, Kent apples are also grown commercially to a small extent in England.