Norwegian apples (eple/r) aren’t the prettiest I’ve ever seen, they are small, odd-shaped and have scratches and dints, but yet, they are highly valued when the season comes. Norwegians describe their apples as being ‘high on the tree and sour’.  (A phrase taken from the Fox and the grapes tale with the moral: You despise the things you can’t have.) Norwegian grown apples are usually for cooking because of their compact texture and tart flavour, while the sweeter, more juicy imports are for fresh eating.

Apples are grown in the south, east and western parts of Norway.  There are no native varieties of Norwegian apples.  Braeburn and Elstar are the two most common variesties grown.  Fuji, Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Vista Bella are common imports.  Commercially, apples are grown only in the hottest parts of Norway, however, Norwegians do grow garden apples even as high as Troms.  Apples are produced into apple juice, cider, fruit wine, jams and jellies.

Apples were thought to be of value amongst the Vikings as on the Oseberg ship (850 AD) they discovered 54 preserved apples.  However, it wasn’t until Christianity spread through Norway, with the establishment of monasteries, that apples became more common in Norway.

One obvious benefit of using Norwegian apples is that they last longer and are fresher because there is no overseas transport.  We normally find them in the stores around Halloween and into November.  This is perfect timing as when the cold autumn comes you want a little more heartiness in your food.  In autumn Norwegian food traditionally becomes heavier with more butter baking and salted meats – perfect for a tart little apple. 

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