Garden Book Review: Apple Heritage Expert Tom Burford’s Updated Growing Guide
“North American Apples: A Celebration of Exceptional Varieties” by Tom Burford ($ 19.95, Timber Press): Can you identify 200 different types of apples? Burford does this easily in the latest edition of his famous 2013 guide. In addition, the respected horticulturist and orchard reveals his deep knowledge and appreciation of this’ national treasure.. “
Most of the content in the 312-page paperback that just came out will be new to people who are only familiar with common apples found in grocery stores. Discovering the wide range of flavors, uses and origins of fruits will be of interest to home growers, gardeners and cooks.
The author, a fifth generation apple grower who died in 2020 at the age of 84, explains the history and growth phenomena of apple varieties. It also describes taste, appearance, and other distinguishing characteristics alongside a color photograph of every type, from aromatic American beauty to intense tangy and sweet York.
The extremely practical chapter on planting and caring for trees includes tips on pruning, grafting, thinning, and pest and disease control.
Heirloom varieties receive special treatment from Burford, who has restored historic orchards including Thomas Jefferson’s in Monticello, Virginia. The nurseryman also improved commercial orchards and private estates.
In the new book, Burford clarifies what has always been a mystery to me: which varieties are best for baking, cider, applesauce or apple butter.
To enjoy the fruit all year round, there are instructions on pressing, fermenting and drying apples.
Burford also wrote “Apples: A Catalog of International Varieties” (1991, 1998) and co-wrote “The Fruit Grafters Handbook“ (2001). He partnered with Beth Hanson on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s book, “The Best Apples to Buy and Grow” (2005).
“The Apple Cookbook, 3rd Edition: 125 Freshly Picked Recipes” by Olwen Woodier ($ 14.95, Storey Publishing): With recipes ranging from traditional apple pies and crisps to unexpected surprises like chopped lamb skewers with raita apple-mint, this bestselling classic includes vegan and gluten-free options among its 240 pages.
“Tasting Cider: The CIDERCRAFT Guide to the Distinctive Flavors of North American Hard Cider” by Erin James ($ 19.95, Storey Publishing): This 288-page guide to North America’s oldest beverage celebrates the rich history of hard cider and its modern makers. Flavor profiles and tasting guidelines highlight 100 cider selections, including a single varietal, dessert, hopped and barrel-aged as well as perry, the pear-based cousin of the cider.