Best tasting apples


Envy is juicer by a bit. I’ve found Golden Russet more interesting taste-wise. I am a fan of heirloom apples now after having been able to try a few varieties for the past two years.


Heirlooms or ‘Heritage’ apples are now my favorites too except for Jonagold and Pristine, and Mott Pink. The rest of my apples are very old. So glad you like them, that’s why they are still around. And not only that you can ask Scott or Bob, Clark, about the older varieties. Sometimes they take longer to grab hold, blossom and hold fruit, but it is worth the wait. I feel that way especially about Calville Blanc and Ananas.


I believe we’ve established that the most commonly grown Golden Russet in this country is also called English Golden Russet, even though it is an American apple. Seed Savers Exchange F and N Inventory states that English Golden Russet is the less common name.

The only GR I’ve seen offered by nurseries that provide stock for commercial growers has been the same dry, very sweet and coarse apple that they sell as Golden Russet.


Same at my location. They are mostly sweet and mild. The one I have came from Stark.


Those envy’s are incredible to my palate. My favorite!!


Thought I’d written about the initial impression of Claygate Pearmain, but don’t find it here.

The sole sample was a complete surprise: picked 9 September, we ate it 11 November. Rather small, and hot pink nearly all over; russet only by stem and each lenticel. Dry feel. no wax. Quite chewy and juicy; Brix at 15 with so much acid it did not come across as sweet; all kinds of flavors I found hard to isolate and name; absolutely clean finish. Done chewing and it’s done: like a palate cleanser! Never encountered the like in an apple before.

My tree is still tiny, I may not let it grow even one fruit next year to devote its strength to gaining branches and spurs. Expect it will be worth the self-discipline!


I’ve now made my modest apple order from grin this year. Hopefully these choices will be as good as I think they will be. Which ones did you order? Commercial apples in my area is not possible at this time but I continue to research apple varieties so that someday I can make this dream come true. Thought someone might want to know what my choices were. The ARS grin descriptions are below and the description is at the bottom how I located the apples in Geneva’s catalog. The USDA has a fantastic program which I’m very thankful for.

PI 589520 Rhode Island Greening Malus domestica 2 Scion GEN
Fruit: size medium to large, W67-78 x L54-66 mm; shape flat, rectangular convex, ribbed at the calyx basin and on the body; skin yellowish green with occasional orange flush, russet at the calyx end, pale dots, greasy; flesh firm, fine, greenish yellow; flavor acid; harvest season very late, triploid, needs pollinator. Large, spreading, vigorous, productive, long-lived tree, biennial cropping. Excellent for cooking and drying. Third most important in New York. Add. LIT.CIT. 1992-93 H. Apple. Tsolum River Fruit Trees Catalogue. p. 27; Bultitude, J. 1983. Apples.

Source History
•Accession was collected. Unknown
Locality: Probably in the vicinity of Newport, RI, near the place now known as Green’s End.

•Accession was donated. 13-Feb-1987. British Columbia Canada

1.Thompson, Dan, Agriculture Canada
Before 1650, known 1858; introduced into the Old Plymouth Colony from Newport in 1765.

PI 589609 Linda Sweet Malus hybr. 2 Scion GEN
A large crabapple with skin much russeted. Fruit: 1 1/2" diameter, oblong, conic. Flesh: mild, subacid, sweet. Apparently a later winter crab. The influence of the Sweet Russet pollen is evident from the sweet flesh and russet skin. Tree: hardy, inclined to overbear, winter hardy. Additional LIT.CIT.: 1991. Edible Apples in Priarie Canada, Pub. 21. p. 41.

Source History
•Accession was donated. 30-Mar-1987. South Dakota United States

1.Peterson, Ronald, South Dakota State University

•Accession was developed. South Dakota United States

1.Hansen, Niels Ebbesen, South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station
A seedling of Malinda Apple, top-grafted on Sweet Russet Crabapple. Intro: 1922

PI 589668 Howgate Wonder Malus domestica 2 Scion GEN

Fruit: size large, W95 x L79 mm; shape intermediate, truncate, conic, convex, ribbed at the calyx basin and slightly on the body; skin golden yellow with pale red blush and streaks; flesh fairly crisp, cream; flavor subacid, sweet; harvest season late. One of the largest cooking apples in cultivation today. Tree: moderately vigorous, upright-spreading, produces spurs freely, strong, cropping heavily.

Source History
•Accession was collected. United Kingdom
Locality: England, Howgate Lane, Bembridge, Isle of Wight.

•Accession was donated. 31-Mar-1987. England United Kingdom

1.Campbell, R.I., Long Ashton Research Station

•Accession was developed. United Kingdom


  1. Stuart Low Company

Blenheim Orange x Newton Wonder. Raised 1915-1916, intro: 1932

PI 589676 King of the Pippins Malus domestica 2 Scion GEN
Fruit: size medium, W56 x L56 mm; shape intermediate to tall, conic, convex not ribbed; skin greenish yellow blushed red with some brown russet; flesh firm, crisp, white tinged yellow; flavor sweet, rich vinous; harvest season second-early. Small for commercial use, but a useful garden variety. One of the best late dessert apples. Tree: moderately vigorous, upright, produces spurs very freely, crops heavily.

Source History
•Accession was donated. 31-Mar-1987. England United Kingdom

1.Campbell, R.I., Long Ashton Research Station

In existence 1884; recorded 1862 but probably much older. Intro: by Kirke of Brompton.
PI 589892 Golden Russet Malus domestica 2 Scion GEN
Fruit: size medium, W70 x L57 mm; shape intermediate to flat, truncate-conic, convex; skin yellowish russet with occasional bright red tinge, thick; flesh firm crisp, pale yellow; flavor sweet, aromatic, very sugary juice, used for cider, dried apples, fresh eating and cooking. Season late to very late. Excellent keeper. Dec-April. Vigorous, medium to large tree, requires cross-pollination. Scab resistant, suffers little from pests.

Source History
•Accession was collected. Unknown
Locality: Thought to be English or Burlington County, New Jersey.

•Accession was donated. 15-Feb-1988. Washington United States


  1. Washington State University

Known since mid 1700’s. Seedling of English Russet. Described by Downing in 1845.
PI 589895 Macoun Malus domestica 2 Scion
Fruit: size medium, W65 x L49 mm; shape flat, rectangular; dark purplish red blush over green background. Firm aromatic white flesh. Drops readily-bruises easily. Medium size, vigorous hardy, spur-type, productive tree. Upright habit, needs training and thinning, biennial. Very resistant to fire blight. Blooms late. Ripens several weeks after McIntosh. One of the highest quality eating apples known. Storage 110 days at 31 degrees F.

Source History
•Accession was donated. 15-Feb-1988. Washington United States


  1. Washington State University

•Accession was developed. New York United States

1.Wellington, Richard,
McIntosh x Jersey Black Seed produced 1909; first fruit described 1918; introduced for trial 1923.

When I search grin scionwood I typically use a custom search like this!&filter=0&

For whatever reason my location has a tendency to overripe apples very early which i’m assuming is from the sun. My pears did the same thing until they matured and then they begun ripening on time because the other trees grew up around them and began shading them slightly which really matters. I apparently missed some comments above and do apologize for not responding to those. Thanks to everyone who discussed apples on this thread or others who influenced which apples I chose from the catalog. I’m most excited about Golden Russet and hope its sweet and delicious similar to wickson!


Club apples continue to pop up in our discussion e.g. cosmic crisp. Buying club apples is apparently gaining momentum Get Ready for Cosmic Crisp Apples . I always thought club apples would go out and people would grow more of their own fruits.


It seems most people are becoming more and more removed from their own food. The whole “farm to table” thing is a big deal in large city restaurants. That concept is close enough to “growing your own” for most people I think.

Club apples will become the norm I fear.

I requested the following from GRIN for 2019:
Golden Russet
Hudson’s Golden Gem
South Dakota Bison
Court Pendu Rose
Sweet Sixteen
Okolo pear

I already have 2 G.R.s and 1 H.G.G., but neither has fruited yet. I have some doubts about whether they were accurately tagged, so I wanted to get some scions that I know for a fact are true to name (assuming GRIN doesn’t make ID mistakes)

@clarkinks I grafted Linda Sweet last spring. I’m anxious to taste one


@NuttingBumpus —> I got to try a single Claygate from a graft this year, and I really liked it. I’ll probably bench graft one this year even though I really don’t want to plant any more trees (too many to keep up on already).

We are in different growing zones (I’m in Ohio), but I picked mine a solid month after yours. I suspected at the time that was a little late, and it affected it’s crispness but also might have made it sweeter.

Here’s what I wrote about it:

Also, I bought a 10 lb bag of Goldrush apples from the local orchard/market a week ago. I was suprised they measure only 15-16 brix because they are fantastic. They must have mellowed a bit and taste sweeter. This particular market makes their own cider blend which is delicious and very popular around here. What’s interesting is that they will also make a batch of cider out of only Goldrush apples. The blended cider is honestly better, but it’s impressive that the Goldrush cider, which is made from only one variety of apple, is almost as good.


The amount of sun in dry conditions, and 30 degree temperature swings day to night for about 6 months, both contribute to high sugar and flavor in certain cultivars, I think. Some apples will ripen much earlier in these conditions than others. Claygate seems to be unaffected in its ripening time, while Edelborsdorfer is bumped up at least four weeks.
These conditions also can be detrimental: Wynoochee Early and William’s Pride both gas away, or never develop, flavor by the time they are ripe. Both are earlier season fruit, so that may also factor into the equation.

Then there’s Bardsey: all over the map. Winter in '18 died kicking and screaming well into what usually passes for spring, so Bardsey bloomed quite late in the line-up, after Hunt Russet and Claygate. Then summer, with 26 days of 90-105 degrees, pushed Bardsey to be ripe Sept. 10. One mild summer it wasn’t ripe until 29 Sept.


I know there’s a “Geneva Tremlett’s” that was a misidentified Tremlett’s Bitter that Geneva sent out for a period of time before realizing it was misidentified. It was appealing enough to US Cider producers that it’s become known as Geneva’s Tremlett’s. I believe there are other instances of Geneva sending out scions that don’t match up to the varieties they identify them with.


All my apples were about three weeks early this year because of the high 90 degree days all in a row. I’m in SW Ohio and we had the same temperature issues as you did in NE Ohio.


I think it is perhaps a phase. I do not care much for the Club apples I have had the last couple of years. They are okay but pretty much taste the same- just sweet.


I agree @MikeC I have had most of the club apples from the store and though they are good tasting apples I much prefer gold delicious for sweetness or Wickson. Prairie spy produce much better apples in Kansas than most apples. Honeycrisp taste good here but store bought honeycrisp are much better when grown right but most are not. Fuji and Pink Lady can be pretty good from the store but again typically they are not that good.


If you can get Honeycrisp…or most any other apple…fresh from the farm when picked fully ripened…you will be impressed vs the store bought apples. Coming out of long term storage, they all taste mediocre.


Actually many apples that come out of long term storage are excellent, especially if it is controlled, low oxygen storage. Some apple varieties only need refrigeration to hold their quality, such as Fuji and Goldrush.

However, apples are often picked to enhance their shelf life (in stores) which means picking them pretty green.


I agree with you. There are a lot of apples that taste great when they are stored like that. Some varieties do well when they are put into the low oxygen atmosphere.
There is a semi local fruit orchard ( about a three hour drive) that sells to a couple of smaller grocery stores I go to. They have a nice selection of different varieties of bagged apples to these stores year round. If it were not for some type of storage made available to them these small groceries would only have the typical varieties to sell. The main three or so- Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, and Granny Smith. Of yes, now Gala.
I know the bigger commercial orchards pick some of these apples earlier than they normally would/should. I just can’t force myself to buy green Golden Delicious apples though.


Yes, I avoided Honeycrisp for years - one-dimensional flavor, if at all - so didn’t recognize it when it fruited in my yard on a mislabeled tree. There was that much difference.


I have a very young orchard, so have only tasted two varieties so far. A Honeycrisp that was about half the size it should have been, and really had no flavor at all. Our drought this summer worked it over hard, probably since it is growing near a 50 foot tall oak tree. I’ve yet to get a good honeycrisp from the store either, as every time they are sale priced they aren’t even close to ripe.

My Zestar produced two apples, and they were simply amazing. They had that brown sugar kick to them, and were far and away better than any apple I’ve had before.

After grafting and planting this next spring I’ll have 85 trees of 62 different varieties. Probably 50 of those varieties have been mentioned in this thread somewhere, so I’m encouraged that I’ve chosen varieties wisely. Most will have been planted this past spring and next spring, so have some waiting to do, but should have 7 fruiting varieties this next year. Can’t wait to taste them.