What’s up with this apple?
No, it hasn’t been photoshopped and isn’t the result of some freaky genetically modified experiment. It’s called a chimera apple (pronounced shimera) and it’s a real and rare thing that happens when grafted fruit trees try to revert back to be their original type because of the genetic instability. I know, it’s totally wild.
It’s so incredibly rare that the odds of it actually happening are literally more than a million to one. So we think it’s pretty amazing that the apple you can see above is from Greg and Mel’s garden in little ol’ Kingston around 15 minutes south of Hobart, where we live.
The term chimera describes;
a) any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or
b) anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative or implausible. Like this cat for example – the mind boggles.
We were lucky enough to get invited to Mel and Greg’s home for the apple TASTING. After one month of constant radio and newspaper attention they had decided it was time to crack it open… And we got to be there, for which we are eternally grateful.
Mel and Greg’s home overlooks Kingston beach where they have a small yet very beautiful and productive garden. They’re not sure which apple tree the chimera apple actually came from as their son harvested the apples and didn’t notice it at the time. They do know that it came from one of the two dwarf heritage apple trees they planted on their verge (just outside their fence line) for the community and themselves to enjoy. The exact variety of the apple trees is also unknown as they rescued them from a local parkland where they were being vandalised.
Greg and Mel, enjoying their last moments with the apple before eating it.
Ken Morrish, 2009. Image from diditarena.blogspot.com.
The last known occurrence of a chimera apple was in 2009, UK where Ken Morrish discovered this beauty while he was harvesting from Golden Delicious tree. Apparently he had neighbours cuing up to his gate for weeks on end to take photos and make sure it was real.
Crunch time: After admiring this rarity we finally got down to business.
I’m pretty sure everyone was holding their breath at this point. Sorry for the fuzzy photos, at this stage I was way too excited to concentrate on taking a half decent photo.
I was kind of hoping that there would be some colour differentiation inside the apple as well. I mean, I knew it was super unlikely, but I really wanted it to happen.
We also spent ages tasting each side of the apple with our eyes closed to see whether the sides tasted differently. Greg swears that he could detect a difference, but no matter how much I wanted to – I couldn’t.
*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things garden-esk.