Some Great Heirloom Apples

Some Great Heirloom Apples
When planning the home orchard, include some heirloom apple varieties. These are well worth growing. Here are some recommended varieties.

Ashmead’s Kernel

This heirloom dessert variety from England was apparently a chance seedling. It has been around for nearly three centuries. It is named for Dr. Ashmead, a physician of Gloucester, who discovered the tree around 1720. It only became widely available in the U.S. after World War II.

This somewhat vigorous tree has a spreading to upright growth habit. It has some resistance to scab. Easy to grow, it doesn’t always bear regularly. Hardy to zone four, this blooms mid-season. It is a winter apple.

The fruits ripen in late October. Storing very well, these last for three to four months or longer. They’re excellent, high quality fruits. These are considered one of the finest of all the dessert apples.

This is one of the best flavored tart apples. They’re either small to medium. The shape varies from flattish round to somewhat conical or lopsided. You’d never expect such a rather plain looking fruit to taste so great. This has brown russeting over red, orange, bronze, or green.

The yellowish flesh is firm, crisp, and very juicy. This has a nutty, very sweet subacid, tart, aromatic intense nutty flavor. The fruits have brown russetting over reddish-bronze, or orange.

This variety is one of the best for eating fresh. The flavor actually improves after it is stored for several months. This also makes a great tasting cider, especially hard cider. It is used for vintage cider as well as cider blends.

They ripen in late October. Storing very well, they last for three to four months or longer. They’re excellent high quality fruits. These are said to be one of the finest of all the dessert apples.

Ribston Pippin

This is also called Glory of York, Travers, Rockhills Russet, Beautiful Pippin, and Formosa Pippin. It is an heirloom English variety. It was one of the favorites for dessert until the Cox’s Orange Pippin, which supplanted it and was one of its offspring, was introduced. It was very popular during the Victorian era. This dates before the 1700’s, and originated in Yorkshire. The trees are triploids, and have a spreading growth habit.

Recommended by A.J. Downing, this is one of the most highly regarded varieties in England. In the Colonial era it was grown in New England and Canada. It was slightly less popular in the South.

It is a winter apple that typically ripens in mid-September and October. These can be stored into February. This vigorous tree has a spreading growth habit. It tends to have fruits on small spurs.

This medium to large, somewhat round fruit is aromatic. It is yellow-green to orange with red and russeting. It has a pure, rich, sweet subacid intense aromatic flavor without being heavy. The cream to yellow flesh is crisp, firm, and juicy with a fine grain.

It is great for cider and is an excellent dessert apple. Storage actually improves the flavor.

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