I was disappointed in my Libs this year. They just lacked character; my brother described them as “pedestrian”. (Who know apples could walk?!) They were OK but nothing special.
But we bagged them and stuck them in the fridge and started eating them a couple of weeks ago, after the Karmijn de Sonnaville and Rubinette, Pixie Crunch and Ginger Gold, were all gone. (Proven keepers like Gold Rush, Prairie Spy, Jonagold, and Cameo are left to use up after the Liberties are gone, or not good.)
The have lost some crispness in storage, but other than that they’re much better. Still sharp, but with a lot of flavor. They’re juicy and aromatic, almost surprising.
So I tentatively retract my earlier slanders. This year’s Libs are our ugly duckling story. Good thing, since we’ve got so many.
But this year’s clear winner in my mind is the Karmijn. Amazing apple. I’ll wait to compare it to Gold Rush, because so far I’ve only had one of those and it wasn’t fully ripe, although it showed promise. I’m hope the few I put in the fridge will tell me more.
The only think I still have in the 'fridge in good shape are a couple Arkansas Black.
Liberty didn’t impress me in the 1990’s. But I grafted a tree of it again this spring, so might give it another chance.
Some years seem better than others. I will say that this year the pies I made with Libs were well-received, and they are great cooked to serve with pork. And everybody seems to agree that they make a fine cider.
My Arkansas black would last 9 months and be excellent and would still be good+/- after12 months.
Mine definitely tree ripened, and after just a couple months, I don’t think they’ll get any better.
I’m going to try some seedlings out as standard rootstocks…it’s so disease free.
It has seemed to me over the last few years that it makes a big difference if Libs are picked well ahead of full ripeness. I now think that if they are ready to come off the tree easily it’s a little late. I think I’m getting better results with fruit picked well before prime, with Liberties at least.
That’s interesting. Just in your climate, or universally the case you suppose? (I’m thinking they start getting mealy in hot conditions if they hang long enough to lose some of the acidity. I lost my first tree several years ago…pretty tree…just I thought apples to be mediocre.)
Derned if I know! We have had some discussion here about it, but I don’t think anybody was willing to make too broad a statement.
I have found that they probably do better if picked before completely ripe and allowed to finish in storage. They do become mealy if allowed to over ripen on the tree, at least that is my experience.
I just went out looking for a couple of pieces of scionwood from my Liberty. It is full of fruit buds and if they set fruit the small tree will need some heavy thinning. I really like it’s taste and hopefully the new location will be to it’s liking. Thanks, Mark