Q: What is the rough brown texture on the top of some apples, and is it edible?
A: Known as “russeting,” it is a brownish corky or netlike texture that appears on certain varieties of apples and pears. Russeted patches are not only edible, but they also tend to have a nutty flavor.
In apples, russeting typically occurs in heirloom varieties, such as Gravensteins, Pippins, and Jonathans. You may also find it on Asian pears and certain European varieties, such as Bosc and D’Anjou pears.
Aside from naturally russeted varieties, russeting can be due to weather conditions, such as moisture that develops on the fruit as it grows, with factors such as a late frost and/or spring humidity playing a role.
Shakespeare and his contemporaries called russeted apple varieties “leather-coats,” and they were prized by the Victorians for their look, texture, and taste. We hope you enjoy them too!