Best tasting apples


I still love my Jonagold and still have 2 big ones left that I saved from the nasty squirrels!


I thought of you when I ate Jonagold. Now I know why you like it.


Add me to the list as a Jonagold fan. Sweet with a good acid balance.


In my orchard, Jonagolds often get corking or bitter pit and tend to be huge. This year they are sound but once again huge. They taste and look a lot like Honeycrisp, although not as explosively crunchy. I agree that they can be an exceptionally good sweet and are surprisingly useful for culinary use. I wish mine weren’t so damn big.

Good as they are, right now they don’t hold a candle to Spitz. Along with any early ripening Goldrush they are my favorite right now.


Also makes the best baked apples!


I picked one Gold Rush last week. It was very good balanced of sweet and acid although I could not squeeze juice out of it to measure its brix. That one was not fully ripe judging from the color of the seeds. So I left the rest be.

Took these pics these morning. Having 5 left. My first year of GR fruiting.


Spitz is not a super juicy apple either but I just managed to get a reading on one I’m eating now- 22! And from a tree on a wet sight. My Jonagolds are only at 13.


The best apple I’ve had so far was a Jonagold from a graft on my Gravenstein tree. I left it on the tree for a long time, and it got watercore, and got gigantic. The watercore added a lot of sugar to the taste. I’m leaving them on the tree this year too!


looks delicious


Thanks, Murky. I am glad that it tastes as good as it looks.


We’ve been trying out some apples from Scott Farm in VT that have been turning up at a local grocery store. (Our own trees have a ways to go yet before they start bearing.)

Among the apples we’ve tried have been a few that seem to turn up frequently in best-tasting-apple discussions, including Cox, Esopus Spitzenberg, Karmijn de Sonnaville, and Orleans Reinette.

The Orleans Reinette was really terrific. In my wife’s words, it tasted like champagne, and the texture was right on, too.

Unfortunately, however, the others we’ve tried so far have been pretty disappointing. The Cox and the Spitzenberg both seemed like they were past their prime: flavor kind of washed out, texture softening and getting a bit mealy. In both cases, you could maybe taste the ghost of a great apple, but you’d have to be grading on a curve to say that what you were actually eating was even a good one. And the KdS was just bad: weird tasting and not in a good way. And again, kind of washed out and going mealy.

This experience made me curious about the things that can make a potentially great apple come out not so great. All the apples were from the same orchard, which seems to have a very good reputation. Maybe the Cox was just getting out of its season, but from what I’ve read, ES and KdS are both supposed to keep pretty well. Could it have been the unusually warm fall we’ve had here in New England? (Though KdS is supposed to like warmer weather, according to Orange Pippin.) Or the damp and not very sunny spring? Or possibly inadequate thinning of the fruit? All of the apples were very small, and the descriptions on Orange Pippin suggest that KdS should be fairly big and that ES and Cox can be larger.

Anyhow, the Orleans Reinette was pretty terrific, and that’s the one that we’ve got growing, so I’m happy about that.

PS: One apple that did live up (or down) to its reputation was the Black Gillyflower my dad picked up. The apple that eats like a potato…


If a grower waits too long to pick or picks too soon their product won’t reflect the potential of the apple. Commercial growers often do a fine job on varieties that hold their texture on the tree very well, but picking is expensive, and if a variety ripens gradually and loses high quality shortly after ripening they will likely harvest the majority of the crop either too soon or too late. Over ripe spitz look just like the ones at the perfect harvest time.

I don’t find reports about apples picked at markets very illuminating. Pick your own orchards allow more accurate assessment.


Thanks, Alan, that’s a very helpful insight. Just to be clear, I didn’t intend to be cutting down Spitz or KdS, just trying to understand what might have gone wrong with these particular specimens, for the sake of my own education. Still in apple kindergarten here!

So, I’ll take this as a lesson in the importance of picking at the right time (which I understand is much more of a challenge for commercial growers, and one of the big reasons to grow your own).


Its often hard to diagnose why a commercial (or your own) apple isn’t up to par. It does sound like they were under-thinned, but it can be picking timing, weather, tree location, soil, or other reasons. For store-bought apples its most often picked too early and over-fertilized, but with a small specialty orchard they should be better about that stuff.


I do wonder if the unusually warm weather we had this fall threw off the grower’s calculations about when things would be ripening. Based on Alan’s comments, it sounds like they were likely left too long, though. We have a few more left in the batch that we bought, so I’ll be interested to see how those do.


I am sure weather played a role in ripening timing and fruit quality.

Last year summer drought pushed apple ripening time up almost two weeks. It was the experience I had with my own apple trees and at the PYO that I went to.


Here spring (fruit bloom) started over 2 weeks earlier last year than this one and the season started wet and cool. It affected different varieties differently as weather conditions always do.


Scott Farm, VT has a reputation that I can support, but things happen - not even they can foresee all eventualities. Karmijn de Sonnaville can be really big and the flavor I have typified as “grabbing you by the tonsils and not letting go!” What KdS I’ve tasted were grown right next to the Columbia River, and apparently need that humidity boost. I won’t even try growing it here.
Maybe next year I can go back to that orchard and get more E. Spitzenberg, hanging on to 'em until at least Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas. The two I’ve tried in differing years were both fresh from the tree. The look was textbook; taste both times left me wondering what Thos. Jefferson found in 'em.

Empire in this neighborhood and year is amazing. Again. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, given its parentage: McIntosh x Red D. But, facts are facts.

My Bardsey was ripe nearly three weeks early due to the amazingly bright summer. Rambour Franc was right on schedule: last half of August, as were Blessing in September and Hunt Russet in October. It could be argued they caught up after the incredibly cold and damp spring due to the heat units, but Bardsey definitely accelerated ripening. This is the third season I’ve had fruit on Bardsey.

I bought a box of Wynoochee Early, supposedly late in ripening at a desert farm. Those folks got it wrong. The flavor had gassed away in the heat and the fruit couldn’t keep to Halloween, let alone Christmas.


Does anyone in the U.S. have the Amulet apple of Ukraine?

Nigel Deacon in the U.K. has it, and says it is delicious. Ukranian scientists are finding it is scab resistant and holds promise as a coming apple.

Anyone have it? Can you comment on taste and texture? Scions available anywhere?


I haven’t had an Egremont Russet in years but bought some recently in England. I had almost forgotten what an amazing apple it is. They are hard to find in California.