Favorite apple to eat?


just looking at what @applenut posted picture above, i could almost swear i could eat all of those apples in one sitting. Could be that little fruits have a psychological effect on people, much like m&m’s have a way of telling you that you can’t just eat one–that you’d end up eating more than you would have if m&m’s come in a chocolate bar, instead of little pieces. So one ends up eating more, weight for weight.
but taste-wise, crabbies seem to have a refreshing effect way more than the larger apples, am not sure why…
my theory is that the smaller volume-to-skin ratio of smaller apples have a direct correlation to the ‘refreshing effect’, since the peel is where most of the nutrients and antioxidants are. And probably the reason why crabbies are more nutritious than other apples, lb for lb, as stated by @JohnS

whereas the pulp is mostly just sugar and water-- or empty calories.
but not to discredit honeycrisp; if you have a productive tree, you’ve got to keep it! They sometimes cost 3$/lb at costco where am at.
sadly though, crab apples are rarely available here, and usually only at asian or other specialty stores


Can’t see the apple too great in this 2009 picture of my middle daughter tucking in at our annual cider get together in Maine, but I was pretty sure it was a Wickson. Though now looking at it, it looks rather yellow… Whenever we are lucky enough to get Wicksons for cider, all the kids like to eat a bunch, probably partially due to their cuteness.


That’s the color I saw them in NH. Not sure why they color up so much better here in Calif, maybe the heat has something to do with it. It can be 104F in October when we’re picking them, nights cool off to the 60’s.


I’ve only tasted a few of them from trees in my nursery but they seem much like the late version so it’s a nice crisp, very sweet apple. It may have a different growth habit then later Fuji, but I’m not sure if that is just because it is on M26. Obviously it’s a bit soon for a review.


I was considering Pixie Crunch for that reason. Not sure of it has as much flavor as HC but a smaller fruit has its benefits.

But my last apple slot is going to a Sansa.


My Wicksons look like the picture in size and color, but they don’t have all of the scratches on them. The flavor is more like Appleseeds’ sweet and not very tart.
John S


John I would be happy to bring a Smokehouse down to Canby this fall. I don’t know that it is a particularly unique variety but so far it has a disease resistant form and seems pretty productive. It might keep too. It is refreshing and pretty crisp. Discovery is too early for an Oct. taste - it ripens in August and I hope my first single apple is a good one. The ripening window is probably brief. BTW I think I might have been swayed by you to graft an Erwin Bauer.

I love the Warren Manhart book which I got at a previous scion fest. He goes into great detail on the varieties which I appreciate, especially cultivation quirks.



Carole-Are you going to the Bud grafting/fruit tasting, etc on aug 1? I would love to plan and try apples or fruit to share.
John S


the sun/ambient temps probably bleaches out the pigments, or stimulate into increasing the amounts of pigments, depending on variety. Apples grown under plenty leaf cover look different from those out in the open. Either this, or your wicksons is a completely different strain.


I guess I’ll take a different approach to response to the OP. Looking at the varieties the OP listed that they have they are skewed to sweet and crisp, in fact exceedingly crisp. It seems to be an American thing that we have nurtured a preference for very crisp apples. This greatly reduces the number of apples that are suitable.

Happily the venerable Alan seems to have lead the charge of mentioning more complex apples, notably Ashmeads Kernel, which was the first mention of a classic aromatic in this thread.

If you want something that is rather unique, try Mother, It has its good and exceptional years. But when I tis right, it is really a superb apple, and one not widely grown. Interestingly our snobbish fellows across the pond have a fondness for Mother and it was widely planted after the war, where it was known as American Mother.

To me, one of the greater joys is planting a multi-graft tree or small cordons of related apples so you can enjoy the subtlety. You would then be surprised how nuanced your taste buds can become. There are worse things in life than being an epicure.

I like Alan’s Golden Delicious idea. Expand that to include Grimes Golden, which has a depth to it or a little more complexity than the standard Delicious, and then maybe Ambrosia which takes thinks in a different direction, one of a single dimension: sweetness, with a drop in complexity. For other takes on sweetness try Mutsu and Shizuka. But if you like the original Golden Delicious then I dare say most would say Blushing Golden is an improvement over the standard Golden Delicious, not really adding anything new, just supercharging what it there. Maybe add Elstar, bringing in some of the complexity of Cox to the line, but now note the density of the apple decreases, it is firm and solid, but lacks the breaking crispness of Golden Delicious, yet still crunchy. Or you could try adding Freyberg and allow an even stronger Cox presence while keeping the sweetness of Delicious. And if you are going to add Freyberg then you must add Rubinette. They have the same parents and yet are polar opposites. With Rubinette taking on more of the complexity of Cox, where as Freyburg takes on more of the Golden Delicious characteristics. . And of course there is GoldRush if you can ripen it in your area. I would say to add HoneyGold if only so you can see breeding to add cold resistance can destroy the good eating quality of an apple - LOL. Suncrisp would be an excellent addition, complex and wonderful. Of course you have to add JonaGold to see what the Jonathan flavor does to the Delicious line and then SpiGold to see how that great Spy flavor changes thing. And if you want to get more removed you could try NovaSpy, an excellent easy to grow apple marrying Northern Spy and Golden Delicious in a disease resistant package without a loss of quality. Oh and toss in Razor Russet.

Now the above is just a small sampling of the prodigy of Golden Delicious, you can do the same thing for other families.

I would highly recommend a like approach to the aromatic Cox line, thoughts here, Ribston Pippin, Queen Cox, Kidds Orange Red, Gala, the afore mentioned Freyburg, SunCrisp and Rubinette. Add in Ellison’s Orange(aniseed anyone), Fiesta, Holstein, Karmijin de Sonnaville, Tydeman’s Late Orange, Sunset one the venerable Laxton’s Superb and Herefordshire Russet among others.

Speaking of russets why not? Mix and match, Ashmeads, Roxbury Russet, Golden Russet, Razor russet, Herefordshire Russet etc. Maybe a classic English Russet tree, Ashmeads Kernel, Egremont Russet, St Edmonds Pippin, Herefordshire Russet, Ribston Pippin etc.

Or run the great vinous line of the Mcintosh family. Snow apple, Mcintosh. Liberty, Macoun, Cortland, Empire, Spartan, Fireside among others.

Anyway, my point is by exploring families you will expand your palate. You will pick up nuance and differences between textures and possibly open new frontiers of apples. The English tend to like chewier rather than crisp apples with aromatic qualities and eschew the vinous or sweet apples many Americans favor.

Kindest regards,

The fluffy one


Fluffy. This is what I like about this forum. I have never thought about your approach to different apples. Great post, Bill


That was a very good post, but from what I gather, you and I would enjoy eating from different trees…maybe.

Do you really think so bunny? I think crisp breaking flesh is almost ( though perhaps not entirely) a pretty much universally held notion of a fine apple. The current breeding done both here and abroad I think is testimony to that .I think if an apple introduced today did not have crisp breaking flesh to some degree, it would never likely gain any traction in the marketplace regardless of the depth or complexity. I for one, don’t see that as a bad thing, but rather consumer choice no matter the nationality of the consumer.
Good points you made, I’d love to try all the apples you mentioned.


Yeah, Fluff, nice of you to pop in.

I spend most of my time around fruit trees but have not developed your apparent subtle understanding and appreciation of the range of flavors and textures of apples. Having so many varieties side by side is an advantage my spread of sites cannot overcome- at least not with my relatively poor physical memory.

Still, I like to grow fruit on trees and it is so much more practical to limit a tree to 2 or 3 varieties for me.

Scott also does a great job of differentiating the great to subtle differences between a very wide range of varieties of the species he grows- and he actually grows trees. The nice thing about a cordone is you can be confident that all varieties are getting equal sun.



Well let’s face it, you do this for a living, I do not. I am growing for my own palate.

I want as much diversity in flavor and texture as possible to fulfill the requirements of culinary, dessert and for pairing with other fruits as well as cheese, crackers/breads and beverages as well as for drying. For those who have never tried it, you can have some great experiences combining fresh fruits with dehydrated ones. I particularly like the summer apples with dehydrated tart cherries or gooseberries. Most people want an apple to eat out of hand, i.e. dessert, when I taste an apple I evaluate it for dessert but then my mind goes quickly to what else it would combine with that would create a synergy. I find it fascinating that most apple aficionados .appreciate the multi variety approach to cider and to a lesser extent a good apple pie, but draw the line there and do not immediately consider apples or other fruits in the full range of what they can do in the kitchen.

I just harvested my first Harrow Delight. a nice pear, but it will not be enjoyed as a stand alone dessert pair. After being refrigerated fro 2 weeks it will be ripened at room temperature and eaten with a slightly dry hard cheddar cheese and dehydrated gooseberreis. This will elevate a good pear to something exceptional. By the same token I would never do that to a tree ripe Harvest Queen, which is a stand alone dessert pear or something to be paired with a much more subtle cheese.

I am reworking my yard after 20 years of experience and there is little I hope to do in the future that I did in the past. To Alan’s point, cordons are a great way to go. I plan to train most of my apples to single U’s on M27, which gives me just enough of most varieties to delight my palate and some to 4 arm palmettes.for those I want more of or are of T3 class. If I had to start over there is little I would train to a tree form except for storage varieties, cider, and drying.

Re Appleseed’s comments, I do not disagree that the world may becoming trained that the standard of an apple is hard and crisp, but to me it is analogous to how the world was trained to think that the color red was an indicator of an apple’s quality.

The public may like crisp apples, or think they do, but I can guarantee you older folks in a geriatric society show marked preferences to apples that are firm rather than crisp : )

At any rate market acceptance is not my concern, this is all about me, myself, and I.


the fluffy one


Have you experimented much in the kitchen with black currants? To me they have so much more flavor than gooseberries or red currants, although it is not as though you have to pick one over the others as all have unique qualities. I choose only black currants because I have too much to do- it is hard enough just to find time to harvest the black currants.

Blending black currants into the mix will render the various apples in a juice somewhat unimportant. I put black currants with fresh pressed apple juice through a blender and strain it and the flavor of the combination is really amazing- the most delicious ambrosia I’ve even tasted.


I keep propagating one black currant I got from Ed Mashburn, with a flavorful musky taste that I like. I agree they are culinary delights. I once had enough to juice and I loved the juice. I think they are absolutely one of the finest accompaniments as a sauce for duck or dark turkey meat (one part brown sugar, one part honey and three parts black currants, add black pepper and a hint of cayenne pepper and cook to a lumpy sauce. They also are fun (for me) so pair with Salmon both as a sauce, served crushed on top or used to smoke the salmon with (use leaves, stems and berries and simply throw on the coals and add the salmon. And of course a great vanilla ice cream with a large heap of black currants, oh so yummy. And for jelly …yum, yum.

Alan, how long do you black currants live? It seems to me I have to start a cutting every 5 years or so as they peter out in years 5 or 7. But they root very easily from cuttings.


A few days ago Scott mentioned that his black currants have gone into decline. It sounds like that may not be an isolated event. I hope that I’ve still got a few years on mine- the first 5 kinds I planted have just come into full production (year #5). This spring I planted 5 more varieties, so I suppose I just need to make a few backup cuttings of the winners from the first batch (Consort, Minaj Smeryu, and Blackdown).


NY state has a bit of the goldilocks affect as far as seeming to have just the right temps to produce a wide range of fruit. I have bushes on my property that declined after 6 or 7 years (low yields but still healthy) and bushes on other properties that are going strong after 15.

An Eastern European immigrant and black currant worshipper suggested on gardenweb some time ago that it is helpful to remove all but this years wood immediately after harvest once bushes are established. It does seem to help.


Calville Blanc d’Hiver


I was eating sun warmed tree ripe apricots today- juicy sweet apricot candy. With treats like that on the trees I usually don’t even get around to harvesting my Harrow Delights. I’ve no use at all for summer pears.