Doctor Harvey is a traditional English cooking apple, great for baking and for desserts such as apple pie. It is harvested in late October, and it keeps well, retaining its sharpness if kept in a fridge or cold store, and gradually getting sweeter if kept outside the fridge but in a cool place.

Doctor Harvey is a cooking apple which I took to very much in my younger days. In the late Fifties we had a small orchard in an isolated village in the depth of rural Suffolk. At that time a wheelright, well in his eighties, lived close to us. He had an ancient workshop full of magnificent old tools. He never had electricity or running water in his house. Just his own pond on the side of his garden.

Next to this pond was a very old cooking apple tree, Doctor Harvey. During the winter months he would bake these apples. This was his dessert and it would keep for a week, without the use of a fridge, which he never had the use of. I saw a lot of him during the winter months as the land work was restricted to the short daylight hours. In the evening, by the light of an oil lamp, we would enjoy eating this apple together during the cold winter months right up to the end of March. He was a bachelor all his life and was very dedicated to keeping this old tree in good condition as long as he lived.

He passed on to me what he knew about the history of this apple. According to him this variety was already well known for many years in Suffolk and its origin was in Cambridgeshire. In that county, Doctor Harvey was a master of Trinity Hall. Gabriel Harvey owned an estate in around 1630, and it was there that the tree had been bearing fruit for many years. It is therefore one of the oldest known English cooking/baking apples.

Doctor Harvey is a regular bearer of good sized fruit, totally green in colour. Best harvested in late October. It has a very good shelf life and as all apples do it will become sweeter as the days go by. Nowadays with the aid of a fridge or a cold store, it will retain its original flavour much longer when stored at 3 degrees Celsius. A most wonderful baking/cooking apple. Delicious apple pies as I remember it well. Definitely worth planting particularly on rootstock MM106.

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Doctor Harvey cooking apple
Doctor Harvey cooking apple