I hadn’t heard of Dougherty apples prior to a visit to our local orchard shop but the sales assistant assured me they were an old variety. New to me but old as in heritage apples. I filled a bag with the small firm dull red apples to take home to the hungry hoards.
Back home I dug through the screeds of information otherwise known as google and the world-wide web. Turns out these apples are most likely Red Dougherty’s not Dougherty’s but what’s a bit of missing red when it comes to a title.
The Dougherty is an old Australian apple of which the Red Dougherty is a natural genetic mutation (a sport) found in New Zealand. And by old, I mean 1930’s old. Touted as an heirloom lunchbox size apple, the Red Dougherty has been around for a while. It is also said to have some responsibility in the creation of both the Jazz and the Splendour apples.
- Splendour: Golden Delicious x Red Dougherty
- Jazz: I haven’t been able to corroborate this….. most sources say the Jazz is a Braeburn x Royal Gala
I am not sure if the apples I purchased were a little too long in their box or if the apples aren’t very good keepers but they’re not my favourite apples. The Red Dougherty has plenty of good flavour write ups: spicy, sweet and interesting; and indeed, the flavour is very pleasant. If I were enjoying these apples on flavour alone they’d get a tick. Not a big tick, but a tick. The skin is very firm – not quite as tough (thick?) as a Red Delicious but almost. But that’s ok too – maybe half a tick for the texture of the skin. The flesh texture itself is quite unusual. Dense and almost rubbery – there was no clean snap of flesh when I removed the core. That perhaps was the due to the age of the apple, rather than its usual texture.
The Red Dougherty ripens late season and is predominantly an eating apple. They’re purported to be good keepers under refrigeration….hmmm, good keepers may refer to the apples not going off rather than keeping their texture? So far in my apple explorations I haven’t found what determines a good keeper. I prefer Braeburns as good keepers as they retain a satisfying crunch. I’d like to taste a Red Dougherty fresh off the tree to gauge the texture of a super fresh one before I opt to give them zero ticks for their texture.