This year we had two opportunities to hold apple taste tests. The first was on September 19, and the second on October 7. Each time we asked participants to rate apples individually on a scale of 1 to 5, considering flavor, sweet/tart balance, complexity, aroma, texture, and juiciness. Then participants were asked to pick their top three favorites, assigning them 1, 2, or 3. All apples were grown in our orchard. About a dozen people participated each time.
In September, the top finisher in both categories was Autumn Crisp. On the 1-5 scale, Autumn Crisp also had the highest score at 3.6. It picked up the most votes for #1 apple.
On average score, the apples finished in this order:
Kidd’s Orange Red
Steepslope Redstreak (a wild apple growing in our woods)
There were strongly differing opinions among the participants. In addition to Autumn Crisp, other apples garnering votes for #1 were Liberty, Mother, Kidd’s, Striped Harvey, Macoun, Hubbardston Nonesuch, and Connell Red. Even though Hubbardston and Liberty received #1 votes, they were among the lowest scoring in average rating.
The results the October apple taste test included some of the same apples, but many later ripening varieties. There was a much closer consistency among these participants. The clear winner was the Northern Spy.
Northern Spy garnered a 4.75 in the average rating and was picked most often as #1 favorite apple. Other apples getting an average of 4 or above were Starkey, Macoun, and Chestnut Crab. Autumn Crisp, the previous top finisher, finished nearly last.
King of Pippins
Wassail (another wild apple tree on our property)
Roadside Jonagold (a tree that may or may not be a real Jonagold)
There was much more consistency in the second taste test for top favorites. Only two apples received votes for #1: Northern Spy and Starkey. Macoun received no #1 votes, but did get the second most votes for Win, Place, or Show.