Holiday apples

Hanukkah is here, and Christmas and New Year’s are near. What apples are you enjoying this time of year?

Made a great pie (so said my wife) with a mix of Idared and Tompkins King. Still have some Northern Spies for my favorite single variety pie. Tompkins King have held up better than most years, so we’ve been enjoying them as fresh eating, too. Sweet but with character. Better than the last Spigold I ate, but still a favorite. Ate my last remaining Blacktwig yesterday – rich, but lost some of its crunch.

How about you for fresh eating and holiday menus?


Right now Spitz is my favorite apple in storage. The fridge has dehydrated them a bit but the texture is still perfect. If I’m in the mood for sweet the Jonagolds fill the bill, although I wish they weren’t so big. Baldwins are also as enjoyable as anything so I might as well eat them up because they will likely get soft before other varieties. For some reason, even though the season was long, my Goldrush didn’t quite achieve max quality but they will be appreciated in a month or two when everything else has lost its crunch.

Jonagold with Spitz makes a fine apple pie, one for sugar and aromatics the other for acid and also aromatics. I will be glad when all the Spitz grafts I made are full-sized scaffolds. Both it and Jonagold are reliable annual bearers for me of outstanding quality.

I wish Newtown was as consistent for me as it is also a big fav of mine. I have a T. King and like the apples for a sweet, but my squirrels like them even more than I do.


Sadly, all the good apples are gone from the storage fridge. We’re now onto store bought Ambrosia that the kids love but… you know. :wink:

Lodidian,I agree with you Northern Spy apples are great eating apples and also excellent pie apples.
How are the Thompson King apples when they are fresh as far as texture and also after they have been stored? I am not sure if they are too " fine textured" for my family.
I am eating a few Spitzenberg apples and also a few N. Spy apples.

Tompkins King (named after the county where they were first propagated) are a bit more coarse than Northern Spy when fresh. Quite crisp in September and October, they are softer now. In most years they don’t make it through December.


Have you tasted Baldwin? TK seems to me to be a Baldwin type that is earlier, sweeter and more prone to water-core. Both apples seem to depend on site a lot to achieve best quality and consistent cropping based on my experience. TK can be a very shy bearer- much more so than Baldwin. I used to manage an old tree that consistently bore heavy crops, but that isn’t the norm. Anything less that dawn to dusk sun may be the difference.

It was an off-year for our Baldwin. Thinning doesn’t seem to correct its biennialism. The apples from our tree have been underwhelming for fresh eating most years, so most go into cider. I used to blame it on my failure to pick it at the right time, but after many harvests and different picking times, I’ve chalked it up to Baldwin (at least ours, which came from Fedco) just being good, not very good nor vg-best.

They ripen gradually (unevenly) and develop full sugar moments before falling off the tree. They can be good off the ground. However the Finger Lakes are a different world, I suppose, from the southern Hudson Valley and nearby hills.

That said, it always tended to fluctuate widely in taste tests back when there were public taste tests around here. The backrground color changes to yellow when they are ripe.

1 Like

Thanks. I now follow the old timers’ advice of not picking until after the first frost.

Here’s a recipe for a holiday dessert that we would be sharing with friends after a midwinter bonfire gathering – if we were gathering together this year.

Apple Suncake
(An old gingerbread recipe redesigned for the Winter Solstice)


1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar mixed with
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-4 tart apples (depending on size) peeled and sliced
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg (we use duck, because we have them – great for baking)

1/2 cup molasses
2 cups pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Dash of salt
3/4 cup cider


  1. Coat 9-in. round baking pan with butter, both butter and sides. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over butter. Arrange apples in a spiral pattern over sugar.

  2. Using a large bowl, cream butter with both white and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add molasses. Combine flour and spices and other dry ingredients. Add to sugar mixture. Stir in cider and beat well.

  3. Pour over apples and smooth to the edges. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Let cool and then invert onto a serving plate.


Couldn’t wait til the winter solstice.


that looks and sounds yummy!

1 Like

Have you always made it with fresh apples? Have you ever made it with apples from the freezer after they have been thawed out? I have some bags of apples I have froze from last year. This cake looks delicious.

Last year I used apples from the freezer. Worked out fine.

1 Like

TY. I will give this recipe a try this week with my freezer apples. It looks delicious.