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Black Twig and King David Apples

There are many fine heirloom apple varieties that are suitable for home orchards. Here are profiles of several.


Black Twig

This is a fairly vigorous tree with a round shape. It is resistant to cedar-apple rust and fire blight. This dates from the early 19th century, and originated in Tennessee. It was widely grown in the South where it was once a favorite until the mid-1930’s. The origins of this variety are unclear.

Ripening in late October, these medium to large, round fruits are mildly aromatic. They store very well. They’re yellow to green with stripes of deep red.

The yellow to green, juicy flesh is aromatic. It is hard, crisp, and firm with a fine to coarse texture. This has a sweet-tart flavor, which improves with storage, much like that of Winesap. The skin can be tough. The fruits are similar to Winesap, but they tend to be larger and brighter red.

This makes an excellent cider. It is especially good for both hard and sweet cider as the fruits are high in tannin. It is also recommended for baking and pies. They hold their shape well when cooked.


King David

This reliable, vigorous, hardy tree begins bearing when very young. It regularly produces heavy crops, and often needs thinning. These fruits store very well.

This was discovered during the 1890’s in a fence row in Arkansas. It is believed to be a natural cross of Jonathan with either the Arkansas Black or the Winesap. It was introduced commercially by Stark in 1902.

This tree blooms late. It is resistant to cedar apple rust and scab. It is recommended for zones five through eight.

This small to medium sized, round, aromatic fruit can vary in color. It can be nearly solid red or red with green or yellow. It has a uniform round shape. The flesh is yellow, firm, intense, juicy and crisp. It has a tart, subacid, spicy, sweet flavor.

This is a late season variety, ripening in late October into early November. It is highly recommended for cooking, pies, and sauce. The fruit slices hold their shape well when baked or fried. It can be used alone for cider. It makes a great vintage cider.

The fruits can hang on the trees into winter. Pick once the color is fully developed.


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