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Old Pearmain Apples
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The Old Pearmain is a small or medium-sized apple, with a distinctive long, conical shape. The smooth skin is an attractive greenish-yellow color, streaked and blushed with deep red, particularly on the side growing exposed to sun. Large, tan russet dots cover the entire surface. Inside, the flesh is yellow, juicy, and sweet, with a rich, full flavor.
Old Pearmain apples are available in the late fall through winter.
Old Pearmain apples are an old variety of English apple (Malus domestica). Although there is an English variety of apple called a Pearmain, it is not believed to be the medieval apple once known by the same name. The parentage of Old Pearmains, sometimes simply called Pearmains, is unknown.
Apples are part of a diet that contribute to a healthy heart and digestive system, and maintain a healthy weight. One apple contains about 17 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, in both soluble and insoluble forms. Apples are also a good source of Vitamin C, and contain other antioxidants such as quercetin and catechin.
Old Pearmains are considered as primarily a dessert apple, best for fresh eating out of hand. Cut them up into salads with cabbage, beets, cranberries, or citrus, or pair with cheddar or ricotta cheese, pecans or walnuts, or peanut butter for a snack. Old Pearmains will keep up to three months in proper cool, dry storage.
Several varieties of apples contain the word “pearmain” in their name. As the name suggests, these apples look like pears, though with a twist. Instead of tapering toward the stem end as pears are, Pearmains are shaped in the opposite way—wider at the stem and tapering to the other end.
The first recorded variety of apple in England was referred to as a Pearmain, from around the year 1200. However, researchers do not believe any of the modern Pearmains, including the Old Pearmain, is the same apple. The modern Old Pearmain was first listed by Alexander Forbes, a garden from a nursery in Kendal, England, in 1820.