Seeking the Westfield Seek-No-Further apple

Russell Powell New England apple varieties, Recipes 5 Comments

Westfield Seek-No-Further apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Westfield Seek-No-Further apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

WHEN WAS THE LAST confirmed sighting of a Westfield Seek-No-Further? Has anyone seen a good Shamrock lately?

Westfield Seek-No-Further is an heirloom dessert apple, dating back to Westfield, Massachusetts, in the 1700s. It was a popular New England variety in the 1800s.

Shamrock apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Shamrock apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Shamrock is a green apple that originated in British Columbia less than 20 years ago. It is a tart apple, and works well with other varieties in pies and sauce.

Both varieties continue to be grown on New England soils. But neither apple is common, and we do not know all of the orchards that grow them. If you grow either Westfield Seek-No-Further or Shamrock, please let us know.

The photos, incidentally, are among more than 100 pictured on the New England Apple Association website. Most of the images are original photographs by Bar Lois Weeks. See New England Apple Finder. We’re still adding more and updating some of the descriptions. Perhaps you can help.

Tell us what you know about apples. We’d love to hear from you about this fascinating fruit: your favorite or hard-to-find varieties; recipes, new and handed down; horticulture; photographs and artwork. You can post your comments below or email them to info@newenglandapples.org.

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WE MET JUDY MATHER at the Sterling Fair September 12, and although she does not use a computer she was kind enough to hand-write a letter and send it with a pair of recipes as a follow-up to our conversation about apple crisp and New England apples.

She writes, “I’m still looking for the words to “Sippin’ cider through a straw.” (we found them online at Sippin’ Cider, reprinted below.)

Mather’s apple crisp recipe is a family favorite passed down from Edith Crosby, her grandmother. Note the unusual egg in the topping.

Judy Mather’s Apple Crisp

Apples — pare (optional), core and slice thin McIntosh, Cortland, and Golden Delicious (or a mix ).

Place sliced apples in a 9” pie plate or casserole dish.

Spread over apples ½ c sugar and ½ t cinnamon.

Topping — 1 c sugar, 1 c flour, 1 t baking powder, pinch of salt. Stir in 1 whole egg. Mix together and spread on top of apples.

Bake at 350° until top is a light “nut” brown and crunchy and apples are done — approximately 20-30 minutes.

Mather, who lives in Sterling, sent this as well:

“This is a favorite apple recipe, also from my grandmother, Edith Crosby. I entered it in a cookbook back in the 1980s. It’s a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner, to top hamburgers, etc. I also add it to ham salad.”

Old Fashioned Apple Chutney

24 Golden Delicious apples

4 green peppers

6 onions

4 T salt

1 c raisins

4 T white mustard seed

½ t cinnamon

½ t ground cloves

5 c vinegar

6 c brown sugar

Boil vinegar and sugar until clear. Chop apples, pepper and onions into small chunks and add to sugar/vinegar mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Process in canning jars.

* * *

Sippin’ Cider

The prettiest girl I ever saw

Was sippin’ cider through a straw

I told that gal I didn’t see how

She sipped that cider through a straw

Then cheek to cheek and jaw to jaw

We sipped that cider through a straw

And now and then that straw would slip

And I’d sip some cider from her lip

And now I’ve got a mother-in-law

From sippin’ cider through a straw

The moral of this little tale

Is to sip your soda through a pail!

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