Malus domestica var. Pink apple
RISK OF EROSION: potential
It is a rustic tree, very adaptable, extremely long-lived and, unfortunately, it goes into production very late, if grafted on its own foot. This last particularity has limited its diffusion in vast crops because the market, up to now, has required fruiting, as fast as possible, for obvious commercial reasons. However, a re-evaluation of the “pink apple” is underway by virtue of the fact that it is resistant to scab and the most common biological adversities and therefore does not need particular pesticide treatments, a peculiarity that makes it genuine.
An apple that is not beautiful because it is small and irregular but nutritious, tasty, healthy and genuine. The “Pink Apple”, so called partly because of the color it assumes when it is ripe, partly because of the scent of rose it emanates when it is in bloom, is one of the “ancient” fruits of the Marche hinterland but, in in reality, it is widespread throughout the Apennine arc of central Italy, in the regions of Tuscany, Romagna, Marche and Abruzzo. Ancient origins are attributed to the “Rosa” apple; the “Rosa” apples; in fact, together with other fruits, they have been depicted and accurately identified by the varietal denominations of the time, by the complex of canvases by Bimbi (oil on canvas – 17th / 18th century) and had already been mentioned a century earlier by Tanara (1649) and by Molon (1901). Among the cultivars known at the time of the Medici, there is therefore also certain news of the “Rosa” apple. In our times Baldini and Sansavini (1967) write that the name of “Rosa” is attributed to various cultivars “Rosa gentile”, “di Caldaro”, “Mantovana”, “Marchigiana” (local or Pianella), “Romana”; while Bignami and Rosati (1982) specify that “…. scattered plants are present in Abruzzo, Marche and Romagna; in these regions, in many markets, limited quantities of fruit from different” Roses “are found… ..”. Even in ancient times, therefore, more than what happens in our times, there were certainly names that did not indicate a well-defined cultivar but cultivars – populations with very similar fruits. This situation, ie the coexistence of a group of cultivars with the same name, also existed for the “Rosa” apple, whose multiplicity of “types” was known since past times.
TYPICAL PRODUCTION AREA
In the Marches, the “Rosa” apple is widespread throughout the hilly area of the foothills, with its multiplicity of biotypes, which differ from each other for some agronomic and pomological behavioral aspects (small changes in shape and thickness, in color, taste and shelf life of the fruit).
The memory has not been lost because it has been cultivated in a sparse way, to meet the needs of rural families, being an apple with an excellent sugary taste, of great health qualities due to its high antioxidant power and long shelf life. In fact, it is harvested in autumn and kept until the following spring in “fruit stalls” obtained outdoors in haystacks and barns or even placed in baskets placed on the forks of tree branches. Typical, in scattered specimens, even in vegetable gardens and gardens, it was the traditional family orchard. Recently, following the revaluation, it is also cultivated in specialized plants, in the Marche foothills, but also in other areas of the mid-hill.
The “Pink Apple” is excellent to be eaten fresh, especially after long storage in suitable places, the traditional “fruit houses” (outdoors in haystacks and barns or even placed in baskets positioned on the forks of tree branches). In fact, the pulp, firm and compact, softens over time and the organoleptic qualities improve (flavor, aroma, etc.). On the other hand, the fruits stored in a conditioned environment are devoid of aroma and are subject to heating, internal decay and have mediocre organoleptic characteristics. Ancient population that has always been cultivated on the Sibillini Mountains, has characterized the landscape and rural tradition. In ancient times it was cooked under the embers in the fireplaces of country houses, or in the oven, and had a particularly good taste. It was used as a filling to make various types of sweets and was ideal for preparing tasty mustards that would accompany succulent dishes of fatty meats. This type of gastronomic use is still practiced today, especially at a family level.
The cultivar has ample opportunities for valorisation, due to the newfound interest on the part of consumers linked to the particular organoleptic characteristics and naturalness of the product and, by producers, especially of certain areas, for the possibility of obtaining typical productions achieved with methods of cultivation, respectful of the environment and the consumer.