Scott County Crab
We failed to recognize the greatness of this excellent variety for several years because we didn’t figure out when to pick it until recently. That can happen, as evidenced when evaluational records made one season by University of Minnesota fruit breeders mentioned that they may have picked #1711 (now known as the famous Honeycrisp apple) three weeks later than it should have been harvested. It kept them from giving a good review of Honeycrisp, which endangered its very life and led someone to order its removal. But the same note intrigued Dave Bedford, leader of the fruit breeding program there, and led him to remove the “discard” tag from the Honeycrisp trees and wait several more years for further evaluation. Click here for the rest of that exciting Honeycrisp story.
We weren’t impressed with Scott County Crab because we were testing it too early. It was far from ripe, but we couldn’t tell that. In the condition we picked it, Scott County Crab was very tart and had no redeeming qualities to make it interesting in any way.
When we finally picked it right, we expected nothing good. Late October is long past when most crab apples around here are harvested. We were surprised to find it still firm and crisp, and even more surprised at its marvelous flavor. We think it tastes very similar to the old Starking Delicious, the flavor of which has not been surpassed by any of the later Red Delicious strains, in our opinion. Starking had a special background flavor that’s just missing in the other Reds.
By the way, we think it’s time to grow Starking Delicious again, just for the taste of it. We’ll write about that elsewhere.