Northern Spy vs. The World

Stuck inside on this day of endless rain, I made an apple crisp. I decided to use only Northern Spies for one half and a mix of apples left over from our apple tasting for the other. “Spies for pies!” will be challenged. We will see which we like better this evening.

Side note: Not oddly, when I added “pumpkin spice” to the apple crisp (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice), I did not conjure up any aromas of pumpkin.


No … it’s spice that goes in a pumpkin pie…not spice that is composed of pumpkin.

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Northern Spy are great apples, one of my favorites if not my favorite.


The results are in. We enjoyed small helpings from both sides of the apple crisp last evening. Since I was the baker, I’ll give you my wife’s opinion. She said both the Northern Spy and mixed apple portions were excellent.

But which was better?

We both preferred the Northern Spy side. I agreed when Margaret said that its tartness nicely set off the sweetness of the sugary crust.

The side with the mix of apples (Grimes, Hubbardston, Connell Red, Tolman Sweet, Red Canada, Stayman, and Wolf River) was less tart, but my wife thought it more complex. Her taste buds are sharper than mine, so I didn’t pick up on the complexity and simply thought the combination led to a milder flavor.

So, yes, Spies for pies!


I grow Northern Spy too! I like using it in my mix for cider. We made 25 gallons of cider this year. I also really enjoy using Spy for applesauce which I can up. It makes a great very yellow colored sauce with a very distinct flavor.

I never tried making hard cider but 2 local hard cider places in Wisconsin both were begging to find Northern Spy apples for hard cider. One is going to now graft his own trees. They tell me it makes a great hard cider.

Actually the 2nd most sought after around here for hard cider is King David. I have that one too but not bearing just yet.