This early fall crabapple (Malinda x open-pollinated) was introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1946. For a growing number of people in central Maine, mid-late September is Chestnut apple time. Every year we put out a bushel a day at Fedco’s booth at the Common Ground Fair and watch them disappear. Neophytes often look at the fruit with disdain, put off by the small, golf-ball size or the unusual color. Most, however, take one bite, and became instant converts. Chestnut has won the apple tasting at the Fair more than once.
The fruit has yellow and bronze-red skin with some russeting and crisp, juicy, fine-grained, sweet yellow flesh. We think of it as the apple version of “Sun Gold” tomatoes. We usually eat chestnut simply out of hand, although it needs no sugar to make a sweet and subtle sauce. Regina, one of our past apprentices, used them in the apple pickle recipe and thought they made the best batch ever – a strong recommendation since we make apple pickles a lot at Super Chilly Farm. Chestnut is not a great keeper, but it can be stored for a month or so.