Origin and History
Occasionally called Carter’s Seedling or The George, there is a poignant story attached to the popular name for this late culinary variety, which is believed to be a seedling of Blenheim Orange. It was raised by Samuel Greatorex, a magistrate’s clerk of Avenue Rd, Knighton, Leicester, who planted the pip in 1857, naming the variety ‘Annie Elizabeth’ in 1866 to commemorate his illegitimate baby daughter who had died aged 13 months.
It was introduced by Harrisons of Leicester in 1868, receiving a First Class Certificate from the RHS and the fruit was widely grown until the 1930s.
The trees were once popular in gentlemen’s ornamental orchards because of their striking deep-pink and maroon blossom.
The original tree is still living and a watercolour painting was commissioned by the then owner of the property in the early 20th century. (Artist unknown).
The fruit is large and sweet, oblong in outline, with faint ribs. The surface has numerous indentations and feels ‘hammered’. The skin is pale green, flushed and sometimes striped on the sunny side with bright crimson. The skin is smooth and turns greasy during storage. The flesh is white and sharp-tasting.
The trees fruit when quite young and do well in exposed sites as they hold onto their apples, even in windy weather. They are tall and spreading, vigorous in growth and good croppers with reasonable disease resistance.
Annie Elizabeth is partly self-fertile but will do better with pollination partners, such as Barnack Beauty, Dumelow’s Seedling and Lane’s Prince Albert.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
Anne Elizabeth should be picked in October and stores well, keeping until April. The fruit retains its shape when cooked and needs little sugar. It cooks to a fluff and is considered a good all-round cooking apple with a fine flavour. It can be used as an eating apple if you enjoy a sharp flavour.