Best tasting apples


If you list the state in which you live, it will be helpful for us to give your pertinent advice.

The same apple variety, planted in adifferent location/climate may yield quite a different result.


I’m in central Wisconsin. The majority of varieties I selected are popular with the orchards listed in the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, so I should be ok as far as climate goes. And I’ve used mostly B118 rootstock to deal with my sandy soil.


Good to hear. We planted a Zestar last year, but it’ll probably be a couple more years before we get any fruit from it. We tried some at local orchard and said we need to get one of these trees. To me it tasted like a subtler version of Honeycrisp.

Which ones are they if you don’t mind me asking?


They would be Honeycrisp, State Fair, Zestar, Granny Smith, Kindercrisp, Wolf River, and Winesap. These were all purchased in either 3 or 5 gallon pots from big box stores, and this will be year 3 in the ground.


Thanks. I’m surprised you could find a State Fair, Zestar or Kindercrisp at a BB store. I considered a Granny Smith, but don’t know if they’d ripen properly here. But, we also have a Goldrush which ripens about the same time, so…

We also planted a Honeycrisp, and a Winesap, back in spring of '16. The HC was a bareroot, and hasn’t done a lot since planting.

The Winesap, though, was a Lowe’s potted tree (5 gal) planted the same year. It was already about 5ft tall then, and after three growing seasons, is my biggest apple tree, over 12ft tall! It should fruit for us next year, it’s certainly big enough.

We also ought to get some apples off our two Grimes Golden’s, Macoun, Roxbury Russet, and maybe from our Pristine and King David.


Well, his Big Box stores are a lot closer to where Honeycrisp and State Fair, etc., originate…so not surprising they carry a few different varieties than they do in Kentucky.
Liberty Farms in Tennessee apparently carries quite a few heirlooms and “disease resistant” cultivars.
But, by time they hit retail outlets they are like $39 or something for a nice 3 or 5 gallon tree.
I’m not sure about Granny Smith that far north, but maybe.


It’s on the margin here. Most years they will tree ripen just before I have to pick them in early November. The first deep freeze is usually by mid-November. The plunge came early this year and they didn’t quite make it. They are still a little green after 2 months of storage… not good raw but good for cooking. Rhode Island Greening is a better substitute for GS in the north. It has practically the same flavor profile but ripens a few weeks earlier.


Yeah, we also had a late spring in NY. Down here the nearly constant cloudy weather and excessive rain ended up damaging most late varieties. Too bad- they are my winter apples.


still prefer a good northeast grown cortland or macintosh as best for fresh eating and y. transparent or gravenstien for cider , sauce and pies. I’m biased i guess because I’ve only ever tried about a doz. other cultivars that grow this far north and honey crisp i found was at the bottom of the list. overly sweet with no good apple flavor. feel the same for red and yellow delicious. if i want pear flavored id buy pears.


Yes, I bought the Granny Smith tree before doing any research on apples at all. I assumed if they sold the tree here, it must be suitable here. We’ll see.


Yeah, but what apples do you eat raw in February?


Barn, greetings from madison-ish…i grew up in point so somewhere in your neighborhood…

You can always topwork the grannies and add some heirlooms or other varieties. Mine havent fruited but i hear good enough things that i have chestnut crab, roxbury russet, black oxford, and a number of other less-common things you wont find in big-box stores


Mistakes have been made. Also narrative descriptions penned by Roger Way decades ago do not always match the characterization and evaluation data. For example, in the narrative, Rambour Franc is described as “harvest season second-early to mid,” but under characterization its harvest season is listed as 7: late, 10 days later than Delicious.


Northern Spy and Idared are my best storage apples this year. Somehow they developed good flavor. I’m not sure if they perform well in bad conditions or if the weather was a little better around the ripen time. It’s hard to judge and recommend specific varieties when inconsistent weather patterns have such a big impact on results. My favorite varieties often change from year-to-year, probably influenced heavily by weather.


whatever is shipped in from other places. i freeze a lot of above mentioned cultivars and make sauce . when they run out, i buy the store bought. unfortunately i haven’t got a tree to survive the fireblight here for more than 2 yrs.


I think Ida Red is an under-appreciated variety. So reliable, easy to prune and such good keeping qualities.


I fully agree with your taste in apples. I like mine with lots of flavor and a good bit of tartness. The Mac varieties are my go to apples and favorites when in season. I still don’t fully understand the hype with Honeycrisp. I keep buying them every so often to see if I can taste what others claim to, but I’m always left a bit disappointed. They are a good apple if you like them super crisp and sweet, but the flavor is lacking and usually just taste pear-like. Maybe they taste better from Minnesota. The crispness is even a bit off-putting to me. They are so crisp sometimes, that they feel like biting into a water chestnut. It gives the apple an airiness that makes it feel less substantial and less satisfying (possibly less juicy?). I don’t know, maybe I’m just too picky haha.


I got several varieties from north georgia orchards in late Nov. Not to beat a dead horse, but gold rush, if mostly yellow, were out of this world. Green ones not so much. Unfortunately growers there like to pick them green. I was able to find a half bushel of sort of yellow ones and they were awesome. Crimson crisp were also very very good. The best goldrush blew CC out of the water but CC were very consistently good from apple to apple whereas GR were highly variable depending on color. CC were better than a green GR. Arkansas black were terrible. I cant get into AB, kind of sweet, kind of tart, thick skin, not much flavor. Maybe these are good in CA, but not in GA. Stayman were pretty good. Pink lady were ok if not a little past their prime. I had high hope for Yates but they were just ok. A little soft, some of them sweet, some had some harsh off flavors suggesting lack of ripeness.


i feel the same way. a apple should taste, well , like a apple. not a pear. i like pears but not a fan of the sweet apple varieties. too many types of fruit breeders concentrate on brix instead of complexity of flavor. maybe thats why i prefer the older cultivars. i still consider concord the best tasting grape for eating. many would disagree.


i tried a fully ripe one i picked, right from the tree from a nearby u pick orchard. better than store bought, but after tasting one, i still came home with 4 bushels of macs and corts!