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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best tasting home grown Apple varieties

 
Posts: 17
Location: rural West Virginia
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I am in zone 6, and cold winters or short summers are not our problem (except for figs...) I suppose anyplace has the potential problem of warmups followed by frosts, but i read once that my area is especially prone to that pattern. WV produces a lot of apples and peaches, but they're all grown on the eastern panhandle, what I consider really Maryland. We have prunus serotina too...once I tried the bush cherries but had no luck and nor did anyone else I know who tried them. But I now have two goumis, also known as silver cherries--they're actually related to autumn and Russian olives but unlike those #$%%$#@, they won't take over your whole place. Last year I got a respectable harvest...they're sour, small and have soft pits, but they're bigger and sweeter than their kin, I'm sure they're full of antioxidants and they fix nitrogen so they're worth their space in my orchard even is the birds get all the fruit. I am perfectly satisfied with one sour cherry--cherries are not on the top of my list for desirable fruit. By the way another thing I tried was an American cranberry bush viburnum from Jung's which grew fast and is ornamental, but I got a few berries last year and they were horrible, not only sour but bitter--the birds aren't eating them--which likely means they're really the closely related European cranberry bush. So if you try that, don't get it from Jung's.
 
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Posts: 445
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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Merry Teesdale wrote:After tasting hundreds of apple varieties for several years at the Cloud Mountain Fruit Festival in Whatcom County, Wa.,  I repeatedly settled on Elstar Apples as the best.  They are crunchy, juicy, sweet, tart, complicated flavor and medium sized.  Elstars, besides being heavenly eating, make prize winning pies, apple sauce with no sugar or spices needed, and are amazing dried.



I've heard Elstar was good, but that sounds amazing! It sounds like an all around great apple, so cool!

Four years ago I got to taste an even better apple, Esopus spitzenburg which was Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple. I had one grafted and am growing it up now.



Very neat! I tasted an old one called Magnum Bonum recently, and it was delicious! I think a lot of the older apples have great flavor. Hope you get to taste your own Esopus Spitzenburg soon!
 
Posts: 157
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Mary Wildfire wrote:I am in zone 6, and cold winters or short summers are not our problem (except for figs...) I suppose anyplace has the potential problem of warmups followed by frosts, but i read once that my area is especially prone to that pattern. WV produces a lot of apples and peaches, but they're all grown on the eastern panhandle, what I consider really Maryland. We have prunus serotina too...once I tried the bush cherries but had no luck and nor did anyone else I know who tried them. But I now have two goumis, also known as silver cherries--they're actually related to autumn and Russian olives but unlike those #$%%$#@, they won't take over your whole place. Last year I got a respectable harvest...they're sour, small and have soft pits, but they're bigger and sweeter than their kin, I'm sure they're full of antioxidants and they fix nitrogen so they're worth their space in my orchard even is the birds get all the fruit. I am perfectly satisfied with one sour cherry--cherries are not on the top of my list for desirable fruit. By the way another thing I tried was an American cranberry bush viburnum from Jung's which grew fast and is ornamental, but I got a few berries last year and they were horrible, not only sour but bitter--the birds aren't eating them--which likely means they're really the closely related European cranberry bush. So if you try that, don't get it from Jung's.



Our climate is continental, so during the changing of seasons, we can have variations of 30-40 degrees in a span of 24 hours. Sorry to hear you have to deal with late frosts as well. Bummer! Isn’t it?
The Nanking and Hansen bush cherries/ sand cherries, are the closest thing to cherries, being “prunus”. The Nanking is closer to a cherry, and prolific, and pretty tasty but that drupe is small.
As far as the Goumi. Elagneus multiflora and the Autumn olive: Elagneus umbellata, my bees and the wild turkeys can have them I won’t fight them for it.
I giggled at your mention of this horrible fruit: The American Cranberry bush: Viburnum trilobum I didn’t get these from Jungs but from a friend who thought he was doing us a big favor and gave us a dozen! I agree: These are definitely in the ornamental category: Totally inedible. I wish they were not so darn sturdy so I could replace them with something better without offending our friend! They look beautiful in the winter with white snow in the background... and the red berries hang on ... and on... and on. But that is because nothing will eat them! Turkeys will, if they are hungry, and in the early spring, after frosts have softened them and they may be a little sweeter... but even then. When these darn things are still there in the spring, I launch my chickens on them so the rotting fruit does not attract nasty insects. My chickens will eat absolutely everything. They must not have any taste buds.
We have some wild serviceberries that are delicious and will fruit not matter what, even if the blossom gets a serious frost. They go by many different names like shadblow, June berries etc. The Latin name is Amelanchier Canadensis if you want to look it up. They taste a little like blueberries and kinda look like them too, but you do not need the acid soil and they grow like an understory tree. That is worth planting for the fruit. So are mulberries. I planted 20+ from seed and they are just starting to fruit. The white ones are sweeter than the red/black ones but with a little black dot in the center of each, they are not appetizing.
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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bill rittchen wrote:Here in NM I’ve been grafting a wide variety from a number of late blooming apples.id have to say winesap, Arkansas black, ginger gold, Cox’s orange pippin are on the top of my list but for a really unique apple with so many undertones of tangy, sour, sweet, and spice SALAME is Incredible!! Another note is Arkansas Black has a flavor that develops into deliciousness with a couple months in the root cellar.



I couldn't find any info on a Salame apple, Bill, could it be spelled differently by any chance?
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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Crt Jakhel wrote:Enterprise is gloriously free of leaf problems but is much appreciated by the coddling moth. Good reliable cropper but not an amazing experience.



That's good info to know, I just planted an Enterprise this year, I'll keep an eye out for the coddling moths!
 
Posts: 62
Location: Wisconsin, Zone 4b
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Steve Thorn wrote:

bill rittchen wrote:Here in NM I’ve been grafting a wide variety from a number of late blooming apples.id have to say winesap, Arkansas black, ginger gold, Cox’s orange pippin are on the top of my list but for a really unique apple with so many undertones of tangy, sour, sweet, and spice SALAME is Incredible!! Another note is Arkansas Black has a flavor that develops into deliciousness with a couple months in the root cellar.



I couldn't find any info on a Salame apple, Bill, could it be spelled differently by any chance?



Maybe Salome. http://www.applejournal.com/useall11.htm Fourth down.
 
Steve Thorn
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Molly Kay wrote:Maybe Salome. http://www.applejournal.com/useall11.htm Fourth down.



I bet that's it, great find Molly!
 
Molly Kay
Posts: 62
Location: Wisconsin, Zone 4b
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Steve Thorn wrote:

Molly Kay wrote:Maybe Salome. http://www.applejournal.com/useall11.htm Fourth down.



I bet that's it, great find Molly!



Thanks. I'm loving that site. Going to create my own apple database from it, and add info from other sites as I run across it (like zones).
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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Molly Kay wrote:We have Cortland and Golden Delicious, and of those two I prefer the Goldens.



I tasted a home grown Golden Delicious recently and really enjoyed it, they are so good!

My absolute favorite apple that I've tasted (and admittedly I haven't tasted many of the hundreds/thousands) is the Ginger Gold, but I haven't had a home grown one. It's rated for zone 5, so I'm hoping to either move or work on creating a microclimate warm enough to grow my own GG some day.



I've just eaten a grocery store Ginger Gold too, and I really liked it too. I bet a home grown one would be amazing!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
Posts: 157
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Steve Thorn wrote:

bill rittchen wrote:Here in NM I’ve been grafting a wide variety from a number of late blooming apples.id have to say winesap, Arkansas black, ginger gold, Cox’s orange pippin are on the top of my list but for a really unique apple with so many undertones of tangy, sour, sweet, and spice SALAME is Incredible!! Another note is Arkansas Black has a flavor that develops into deliciousness with a couple months in the root cellar.



I couldn't find any info on a Salame apple, Bill, could it be spelled differently by any chance?



I found a Salome apple. Here is the link:                   https://www.saltspringapplecompany.com/salome/
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:I found a Salome apple. Here is the link:                   https://www.saltspringapplecompany.com/salome/



Good info, very cool!
 
Steve Thorn
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Stuart Sparber wrote:I first tasted Winesap apples at a Washington Park Green Market. They are sweet with a wine taste (red wine). They taste a little like a sweet winey Macintosh. Boy so good!



Yeah, I've heard they have a good sweet/tart balanced flavor. I hope to try a fresh one soon!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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I would prefer that this poll were conducted according to zones because an apple could be very good in one zone but not in another. With the interference of the climate, we have a real diaspora of evidence, but none too reliable.
The number of folks talking about a specific cultivar may only be the cultivar that is best adapted to *most* zones, and perhaps not the *best*. Also, "the best" is something that is pretty subjective. Some folks have alluded to the fact that some apples are better for cider, others for applesauce. Should we instead list them by categories? best for out of hand, best for baking, best for sauce, best for storage? I realize that before too long, we may be having a poll that is so atomized as to be irrelevant. This is not really a criticism, as I applaud the effort to categorize. I'm not sure how to make the poll better either, I must say. I thought I would just put that on the table. It might be better if folks indicated their growing zone in the margin and the type of soil they have.
 
Steve Thorn
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:I would prefer that this poll were conducted according to zones because an apple could be very good in one zone but not in another. With the interference of the climate, we have a real diaspora of evidence, but none too reliable.



I agree. This thread has alerted me to a lot of new great apples that I probably would have never discovered without these great recommendations, but like you mentioned, it would be very valuable information to know where they have been grown successfully.

I am actively working on a new thread to hopefully address discovering that very valuable information!

Some folks have alluded to the fact that some apples are better for cider, others for applesauce. Should we instead list them by categories? best for out of hand, best for baking, best for sauce, best for storage? I realize that before too long, we may be having a poll that is so atomized as to be irrelevant. This is not really a criticism, as I applaud the effort to categorize. I'm not sure how to make the poll better either, I must say. I thought I would just put that on the table. It might be better if folks indicated their growing zone in the margin and the type of soil they have.



I think that's a really good idea. I'll work on updating the list sorted by the different categories based on the different uses for apples.
 
Posts: 117
Location: Council, ID
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Just finished off an apple crisp made with Arkansas Black. Not much to speak of right off the tree, but they still look great in February and are much tastier now. The tree is beyond vigorous.
  I dried a bunch of Ashmead’s Kernal this fall, and it iwas so tasty! Here it is super intense flacvor wise, very acidic, my favorite so far. Most of my trees are still growing.
 This area had commercial apple orchards until the 60’s, and along the Weiser River there are hundreds of feral seedling trees. Got into hard cider last year. A friend has a seedling tree that is a true spitter due to tannins, but the cider it makes is divine.
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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J W Richardson wrote:Just finished off an apple crisp made with Arkansas Black. Not much to speak of right off the tree, but they still look great in February and are much tastier now. The tree is beyond vigorous.



That's awesome they store so long!

 

I dried a bunch of Ashmead’s Kernal this fall, and it iwas so tasty! Here it is super intense flacvor wise, very acidic, my favorite so far. Most of my trees are still growing.



That sounds delicious! I want to try drying apples and other fruit this year, dried fruit is so good, and it stores easy too!

 

This area had commercial apple orchards until the 60’s, and along the Weiser River there are hundreds of feral seedling trees. Got into hard cider last year. A friend has a seedling tree that is a true spitter due to tannins, but the cider it makes is divine.



I've heard that a lot of times apples like that make the best cider, very cool!
 
Posts: 26
Location: coastal northern nor cal
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@Steve Thorn- I don't think Hudson tastes like a pear, but I am seriously turned off by the texture of pear skin and flesh and have a hard time getting past that to really enjoy the flavor ( with the exception of my first home grown and peeled seckel pear this year- it was pretty darned smooth)  I perhaps mistakenly believed Hudson was initially believed to be a pear because of appearances?
I agree that Holstein has a tropical flavor that is quite enjoyable.
I had never really thought about the russet apples being more disease resistant.  I have noticed they are exceptionally healthy trees. I am incredibly fortunate to live in an area that really has no pressure from insects or disease and have never need to do more than manure the trees.  With the obvious exception of peaches, I could write a novel on climate wiggling, spraying and crying.

When DH and I choose trees for our property we spent a couple of years researching for what are supposedly the best tasting varieties, leaning toward antique, and had to be on antinovka rootstock due to an excessively high deer population.
 
Steve Thorn
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gina kansas wrote:@Steve Thorn- I don't think Hudson tastes like a pear, but I am seriously turned off by the texture of pear skin and flesh and have a hard time getting past that to really enjoy the flavor (with the exception of my first home grown and peeled seckel pear this year- it was pretty darned smooth)  I perhaps mistakenly believed Hudson was initially believed to be a pear because of appearances?
I agree that Holstein has a tropical flavor that is quite enjoyable.



Sounds delicious!

I had never really thought about the russet apples being more disease resistant.  I have noticed they are exceptionally healthy trees. I am incredibly fortunate to live in an area that really has no pressure from insects or disease and have never need to do more than manure the trees.  With the obvious exception of peaches, I could write a novel on climate wiggling, spraying and crying.



I've struggled with my peaches too. I wonder if thicker skin or another trait could help them be more disease and pest resistant.
 
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