From the first days of summer we Brits are spoilt when it comes to domestic fruit. The brightest of berries stain our lips and hands until the start of September, then, just as they fade, we’re spoiled once again with a glorious glut of apples and pears. Both fruits are said to have arrived here with the Romans, imported by boat from Asia. Since their pips were scattered onto our shores, we’ve seen our orchards both flourish and fall into disarray.
In the late 20th century Britain lost some two-thirds of her once abundant orchards as tastes moved away from the old towards foreign, imported varieties. Yet the past decades have seen the tides change once again, with farmers and shoppers looking to reclaim our rich, fruity heritage. From the well-known joys of the bramley apple, whose tart flesh melts perfectly into earthy crumbles, to the best known of all the pears; the conference pear, now is the time to rediscover old favourites and make them new again.
A taste of Leckford Estate
Waitrose owns and operates its very own 4000-acre farm in Hampshire. Silvana Franco visits Leckford Eastate, to learn about the fantastic produce they grow, and to cook a delicious recipe with the apples grown there.
William Sitwell's top
apples & pears tips
Waitrose Food editor, William Sitwell reveals his top tips for making the most of Autumn apples and pears
BE PREPAREDIf you’re prepping your apples or pears in advance, toss cut pieces in lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
PEEL ITUnless you’re baking whole fruit, it’s usually best to peel apples and pears before cooking. The skin can go leathery otherwise.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFEThere are many varieties of apples and pears and all have different flavour profiles and cook in different ways. Don’t be afraid to mix varieties, too, to give the most rounded flavour possible.
Apples & pears recipes