The Bloody Ploughman was first recorded in 1883. It originates from the Carse of Gowrie, Scotland. It is a medium to large apple, flat-round in shape, with ribs. It has dark red skin, when ripe the crisp, juicy flesh can be stained pink. It has a sweet, light flavor and grows on a vigorous tree. It is one of the best Scottish midseason eaters picked in September/ October.
The story goes that a ploughman was caught stealing apples from the Megginch Estate and shot dead by a gamekeeper. When his body was returned to his wife she found some of the stolen apples in his pockets and threw them onto the rubbish heap. One of the seedlings that arose from the heap bore apples of a deep, blood red. This tree was rescued and gave rise to the variety that was named after the unfortunate ploughman.
The banks of the River Tay have a long but partially lost history of orchards and apples. However, today many cultivars are threatened by the market preference for the five or six varieties available in the supermarkets. Sadly, many of the traditional orchards were grubbed up in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and replaced by monocultures of mainly imported apples that were preferred by large retailers.
When ripe this apple can be eaten straight from the tree. Its red flesh means that when juiced the Bloody Ploughman creates unique, pink juice. It can also be used to make cider.
This also means that the apple makes beautiful pink pies, jams, cakes and crumbles.
It is also excellent dried when it can be a valuable source of vitamins all winter and used for soups.