Best apples for eating?

glieseJanuary 3, 2008

Hi all. I'd like to get two apples this spring, and was wondering if anyone could recommend an exceptional variety that will do well in zone 5. I was thinking of getting a Pixie Crunch and a Sweet Sixteen, but was also considering Honeycrisp, Sundance, and Nova Spy. I'm looking to find the sweetest or generally best tasting for eating out of hand, I can get; can anyone tell me which of these is the best or if there's something else I should get?

Also, I read that Sweet 16 has a taste, quoting the catalog, 'similar to vanilla with just a hint of molasses and fine bourbon .' Does anyone know if this is true?


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alan haigh

Not the adjectives that sprung to mind when I tasted it. It is a good apple for sweet lovers. Where you are you can probably grow all but the latest ripeners like Pink Lady (I'm assuming, haven't tried growing PL). You'll probably want one of your choices to be a late-ripening good storage apple.

Honeycrisp has outstanding texture but has some production issues that make it less than perfect for a beginner. The others you mention I haven't tried yet. Sansa is another extremely sweet and is easy to grow, but it is early.

Hopefully you'll have enough success to want to graft on several varieties eventually anyway, so don't worry too much what you select now.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 9:47PM
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I have to put my vote in for Rubinette- not just sweet, but complex. We grow it fine here in So. Calif., but as a native of Switzerland it will probably do fine in zone 5.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 10:08PM
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my vote goes for a grimes golden. i truly admire a spicy apple with a bit of a tang.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Goldrush. Out of the PRI research program. Fairly late ripening, but you can easily grow it in PA. Disease resistant. Firm and crisp. Sweet without being cloying. Keeps as well as Fuji. I have grown over 35 apple varieties, and Goldrush is the most pleasant surprise I have had in the orchard. Wish I had a dozen trees, I would make all my cider out of them.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 12:38AM
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alan haigh

Jellyman, you and I are examples of how 2 people can be knowledgable but draw completely different conclusions. With fruit this can be partially the result of climate, of course.

Goldrush is also one of my ultimate top 5 apples, no question, but I'd never catergorize it as a sweet. Here it varies from very tart to tart-sweet. Ed Fackler, who is a major apple guru at NAFEX described it once as "battery acid" at harvest mellowing into a world class tart in storage. I assume Ed to be a sweet-toothe type and his experience is in Indiana where they do get some sun.

I also recommend Goldrush for beginners (and all others) not just for its quality, extreme storability, off the charts brix etc. but for the fact that it's easy to manage and precocious. Up here its only drawbacks are a stubborn bienniel bearing habit and susceptibility to CAR (it was bred for scab resistance but to date no goldens are CAR immune as far as I know). I'm told that further south Goldrush is an annual bearer, however.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 7:27AM
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I hope you're right, because I've placed an order for
goldrush here in zone 8 SC. I can't stand a tart apple
and I sure hope you're right about it being sweet.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 8:27AM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Is there any post harvest handling to optimize the flavor and quality of these apples?

for example, if I pick the Pink Lady apples that are well-colored (almost pure pink late in the season) and eat them fresh from the tree, they are still tart and astringent. But the same apples, pick them earlier, store them in the fridge bin at about 34-38 deg F for one week, then take them out to ripen on the countertop for 3 days, you would swear you've had the most fantastic apples ever eaten.

Of course pink lady apples are not suited for lower zones as these require a lot of heat to develop properly. I am just mentioning this as one of the examples of how post harvest processing in the kitchen and storage can improve quality.

There are of course apples that can be eaten fresh from the tree, and are delightful. These apples are often planted in the foothills of California for tourists to pick and eat fresh from the trees.

Do all the apples mentioned earlier require some type of quality improvement processing after you pick them? Aside of course from the usual trick of simply ripening them in a bag together with banana.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:18AM
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Jonagold and Honeycrisp are two of my favorite apples that I grow in ny.Ciao,

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 3:43PM
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alan haigh

In a zone 5 you can pretty much count on Goldrush being a tart. In zone 6 it can be a tart-sweet in full sun and isn't ready to harvest till the end of Oct. I manage Goldrush on 7 different sites so good luck with your wishful thinking.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 5:44PM
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How a bout an early season apple? Most all of these y'all are talking about are late season ripeners.
'MonArk' is a great early apple - ripens in mid-late July here in zone 6 southern KY, has good disease resistance(scab and CAR), is a large fruit for an early season variety, with firm, crisp flesh, good flavor, and, unlike most early apples, it will keep reasonably well under refrigeration for 6 weeks or more. A great one for eating out-of-hand or for cooking.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:12PM
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alan haigh

If I was planting only 2 apples I wouldn't worry about apples in July or August when I'm already overfull from plums, peaches, blueberries, aprictots etc.

I grow Williams Pride and Ginger Gold and barely use them though they're both quite nice. I just don't get the hankering for a lot of apples until there's some chill in the night air.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 6:26AM
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The original poster, gliese, is located in z5/PA, and going from my own experience here in z6, he/she may have blueberries on a regular basis-though they're probably pretty well finished up by late July - but the stonefruits will have been a total bust there most years - probably never will see an apricot fruit, peaches maybe one year out of five, plums *maybe* a little more reliable than the peaches. I'd be willing to bet that gliese wouldn't be overfull from homegrown stonefruits if you combined 5 full years of production.

The early apples are the ONLY ones I can count on here - the big European hornets get everything that ripens later than August. I'm probably removing 80% of the apples I've planted over the past 14 years this spring; they're just not worth the space they're occupying, and all the stonefruits were pulled this year except for a thicket of native Chickasaw plums started from some sprouts I salvaged out of the cowpasture. Pears and persimmons going in in their place.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 7:59AM
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alan haigh

OK, I always say that local advice is the best. Man, if I was you guys i'd have to move. Before I lived here I was a Californian so I've always lived a privilidged fruit existance.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Personally I like the sweet-tart apples the best, but for sweet and flavorful, I would suggest Alexander, Holstein, d'Arcy Spice, Red Cort, Findley (Golden Delicious offspring), Candy Crisp (another Golden Delicious offspring), and my personal favorite, A Côtes.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 2:29AM
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alpharetta(z7 GA)

Dear All:

I like the taste of small apple call 'Lady Apple'. It is mix sweet and tart. Some Korean gloccery stores have it. When searching on the internet, I run into Pink Lady apple. However some other people said Lady apple and Pink Lady are different. Reference here:

Could you help to identify and where I could buy the plant to grow in my backyard?


    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:59AM
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cambse(8 - Renton WA)

The Lady Apple is a very old heirloom. It won't come true from seeds so you must buy a tree. Trees of Antiquity has it but they are sold out for the season.
Vintage Virginia Apples still lists it.
Big Horse Creek farm also still lists it. Link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Big Horse Creek farm

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 1:42PM
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