Helma and Martins Elstar Apples

Following my previous blog about Immy’s apples, I received a number of responses from various people to come and pick apples from the trees. How incredibly nice that a blog by my hand has brought this about.

Of course I accept, because as I wrote before I like picking apples; being busy outdoors and yet experiencing a soothing feeling.

We have an appointment in Nootdorp. With Helma and Martin.

They have delicious Elstar apples in the tree in the front garden but unfortunately they cannot eat themselves due to an allergy. Now they can provide the birds and the bugs with apples, but they said, this is a super good cause! Apples for the apple pie and apple juice at BitterSweetz. Helma and Martin have been visiting BitterSweetz since the first moment, so they know who they are giving it to. Everything was settled on a Sunday afternoon in the lunchroom. We would just check the diaries and then there is a picking date. I asked Eric if he wants to come and he really wants that. Cozy picking together and also extra handy because Eric is quite tall. And you all know what number I tap on the ruler. Which means that I can reach the bottom apples in the tree and the Ines that have fallen to the ground.

Immy’s apples have had a very good time with us in our lunchroom. And how we enjoyed it. We have given around 30 apples to the residents of Eric’s work to make apple sauce. These sweet old dementia sufferers also had a fun activity and a delicious portion of apple sauce. A Win win situation. The last ones are still there to be used for cake and / or apple juice. As soon as they run out we will use yesterday’s Elstars.

We met early in the morning on my day off so that we have time. The weather forecast checked; rain. So dressed with rainboots and a raincoat, Eric and I venture in the car towards the apple tree. We are looking forward to it and even with my dizziness we have good energy. We park the car and walk the last part to their house.

Once arrived Helma is already waiting for us with a cup of tea. From the couch you have a view of the beautiful apple trees in the front garden. The red-blown Elstars are already calling us. With 3 large bags and two ladders we head towards the tree and pause for a moment to look at the beauty and the wonderful smell and color. We are lucky with the beautiful nature. Helma and Eric climb on the ladder for the apples high in the tree, I pick the low hanging and provide Helma and Eric with bags. This is perfect teamwork.


We are ready in no time, we have left the little ones who did not want to come loose to see if they are still going to grow. We took the others with rain, mud and sometimes the leaves still attached on them, to their new destination!

What are Elstars:

The Elstar is an apple with a red blush on a yellow-green background. There are, however, many color mutants from bright red to dark red. The taste has a characteristic aroma. The flesh is creamy-white and juicy. Elstar can go into the apple pie, but retains a lot of moisture. This can be compensated by means of dried fruits. This apple is also suitable for apple sauce or apple juice

The variety originated around 1955 from a cross between Golden Delicious and Ingrid Marie by Arie Schaap under the direction of breeder Tijs Visser. Between 1957 and 1965 the test trees stood on the land of farmer Tijssen in Elst. The selections from the first fruits were made in 1959 and 1960. Between 1960 and 1962, trees grew from the selected fruits, which bore fruit in 1963 and 1964. Between 1965 and 1970 the selections focused on the final result.

The apple was initially only designated with the number IVT 5544-240, but two years after Schaap’s death, a commercial name was devised for it. They sought it in a contraction of the name of his place of residence Elst and his first name. Via ‘Elstarie’ it eventually became ‘Elstar’. In 1975 the apple variety officially got its name from the introduction and the start of the breeders’ rights protection of the variety. In 2006, 45 percent (4321 ha) of the apple area present in the Netherlands (9562 ha) consisted of Elstar. Elstar is one of the highest-rated apple varieties in the Netherlands. The fruit juice and the sauce are also sold a lot.

Elstar can be picked from the second week from September to the end of September and can be stored well until the end of August. Nowadays Elstar apples also come on the market much later.