By and large many of the russet apple varieties have fallen out of favor. The Golden Russet is a delightful heirloom variety. This is well worth growing in the home orchard.
The Golden Russet is known by various other names, including sheep nose, bullock’s pippin, and American golden russet. An all purpose fruit, this is very hardy—to zone four. This variety is resistant to apple scab. It is a medium to large, vigorous tree with a spreading growth habit. It bears heavy crops and blooms early to mid-season. This very productive tree has upright shoots.
Its origins aren’t known for certain. It was around during the Colonial-era. Some believe it might have been an old English variety. Others say it might have originated somewhere in the Northeast during colonial times.
What is known for certain is that the trees were sold in Virginia in the mid-1700’s. It was very popular during the 1800’s and 1900’s as a commercial variety, especially in New England.
It was the most famous of the early russet varieties in America. It predates 1845, and was described by pomologist A.J. Downing, who recommended it highly. He described it as “one of the most delicious and tender apples.”
This is a winter apple that usually ripens fairly late, often from mid to late October. It bears excellent quality, medium to large, round russeted fruits with a uniform shape. These can be yellow, golden, or greenish-gray with copper russeting.
Very juicy, these have very firm, crisp, dense, fine grained, yellow flesh. They have a rich, spicy, sweet, subacid, excellent rich flavor. This is so tender it almost melts in the mouth and has an unusual buttery texture. This is by far the best cider variety of the all purpose varieties. It can be used for vintage cider without blending. It is suitable for both hard and sweet cider.
These are best picked after the first frost. They’re often borne on the tips of the branches. They store very well, and last until spring. It has been considered by some to be the best variety for cider—especially for blended ciders. They’re excellent quality for eating fresh. These are also great for salad and cooking, including applesauce and pie. They’re also recommended for drying.