These apples come from important Spanish varieties that were brought to Chile by the colonists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over time these apple trees have adapted more and more to the territory and brought about a new sub-variety with unique characteristics, as the apples’ very genetic design has changed due to their adaptation to the islands that they now call home. There exist more than 30 different varieties of apples, and although many are wild, others have been cultivated and protected over the centuries in these territories.
Generally these apples are either eaten raw or used to prepare a traditional alcoholic drink called chichi, made from fermented apples, The first fermented juice, which is the most esteemed, is called lagrimilla.
Apple chicha is consumed as an alternative to the grape and muday varieties, which is a typical mapuche liquor made from fermented grains. These antique apples are also used to produce vinegar, hearty cakes and, naturally, desserts. The most famous varieties are manzana camuesca, which is incredibly sour and used only to make chicha, the manzana candor, which has a strong flavor and fibrous texture, the manzana conservera and conservera amarilla, which are perfect for making jams and preserves, manzana de ambrosia, which has an elongated form and is small and sweet, manzana ‘sheep muzzle’, which is small and sour and mainly used to prepare chicha and mazamorra (a typical corn dish), and he final variety is manzana limona, incredibly sour and used only to prepare chicha.
These antique varieties of apples are found today only in the local markets and are used mainly for personal consumption. There are various threats to the existence of these apples: the disappearance of many small fruit groves in family gardens, the old age of the trees, and the advent of monocultures that are occupying the lands in which these plants used to grow in the wild