I find that most of the apples that appeal to me ripen in the autumn. However, it's nice to have enough diversity that some apple varieties ripen early, some midseason, and some late. With the incredible diversity available among the apples I think that it would be nice to have at least a small number that ripen in the summer and begin the "apple season". In my experience over the years, summer apples have tended to go mushy within 15 minutes of picking them, if they're not soft to begin with. I'm always on the lookout for any information on an apple variety (no matter how obscure) that ripens in the summer but is high quality (gustatorily) and is not "flash in the pan".
I just acquired scion wood of 'Pristine' and 'Reverend Morgan', neither of which I've yet tasted. It's been on the basis of comments from trusted authors. As I indicated elsewhere, I found the British 'Tydeman's Red' (--officially 'Tydeman's Early Worcester'--) to be surprisingly good for such an early apple. I'd be interested in what you other members have in your "banks" of experiential knowledge.
Most cordially, Reinettes.
Oh, I was going to also mention, and enquire about, the apple varieties 'Porter', 'Early Harvest', and 'Early Joe', each of which is an heirloom apple from "back East". Have any of you in Cascadia (or even anywhere) grown them? I'm curious about just how they might do here locally....
My favorite summer apple is Gravenstein, and I know I'm not alone in that.
Joanie Cooper talked me into Red Gravenstein, she has one that she vouches for and is going to give me scion wood. I'm not sure I've had a Gravenstein fresh at its peak yet.
I don’t find the softer apples off-putting but certainly do enjoy the crunchier ones. Of my early apples that I’ve tasted so far, these are the ones I like the most: Bakers Delicious, Dandee Red, Devonshire Quarrenden, Discovery, KinderKrisp, Mollies Delicious, Red Gravenstein, State Fair, Wynoochee Early, and Zestar! Zestar! is said to store for 6-8 weeks, but I don’t get enough to keep that long. Red Gravensteins actually stay crisp in the fridge for several weeks. I think Wynoochee Early is the best early keeper. We found some Wynoochee Early apples in the fridge that were still tasty although no longer crisp but not mushy either in January! Although small, KinderKrisp is definitely crisp (it’s a child of Honeycrisp) and very good. I’ve seen comments on the internet that it is still crisp in February. I’m really looking forward to tasting Garden Royal one of these days. The Devonshire Quarrendens are probably the ones that go mushy the quickest for me. They need to be picked at just the right time and eaten quickly as do these next apples. I like my Tydeman’s Early Worcester too and its sibling Michaelmas Red (Tydeman’s Michaelmas Red), both of which are McIntosh x Worcester Pearmain, as well as Worcester Pearmain itself. Hmmm, see a pattern here? Devonshire Quarrenden is a parent of Worcester Pearmain, and Discovery is another child of Worcester Pearmain. Apparently I’m drawn to that berry flavor. Come to think of it, another family pairing in my favorites is Zestar! (child) and State Fair (maternal parent).
Kindercrisp sounds good, I'd like to taste.
Generally I'm flush with delicious plums, figs, and berries in August and September. Apples, even the good ones that come later, would have a tough job to compete. So early apples would have to be pretty exceptional to be worth bothering with for me.
My earliest apple is Yellow Transparent. They are pretty soft, and not juicy at all. But I don't ask much of an apple that ripens in July :-). I always look forward to them because that means apple eating season has arrived in my yard, i.e. I'll be able to pick a ripe apple every day until December.
I have to admit I'm with Jafar on this one. All of the other summer fruit makes me focus on that. I know I'm going to have tons of apples all fall, winter and spring, so I enjoy the other stuff while I have it, because they don't last. I freeze a lot of pie cherries for winter and spring consumption, because they offer so much flavor in such a tiny package, they are really worth freezing. They also taste way better frozen than dried, and they are exceptionally healthy.
In Battle Ground, I like Gravenstein, Porter, and Pristine a lot. I think they have a lot of flavor.
Thank you so very much for the input, Folks,
I was of Jafar's and John S's attitudes until I got the first ripe "Tydeman's Red" and discovered that a summer apple could actually be quite a treat. Yes, there are usually plenty of other things ripening in the garden and orchard at that time, but that apple got me thinking about "expanding" the apple repertoire a bit. Hence I sought some broader input. I think that they call it "group sourcing" nowadays, but I can't keep up with all the newest terminology being bandied about.
There's a big, standard apple tree a mile away at what used to be a veterinary office housed in a nice old 2-story home. The vet retired 2-3 years ago and it was purchased to be a residence again. In the gravel "parking area" this big old apple is -- I'm fairly sure -- an old-fashioned 'Gravenstein'. When the place was sold, the trees were rather harshly pruned, but I'm thinking that I should stop by there this summer and perhaps get some summer budwood. Another apple that I'm curious about which also comes from the general area of Gravenstein is 'Akero', thought to be Swedish. Supposedly it's esteemed "even above Gravenstein" in Sweden. In England, it matures about about August/early September.
JeanW -- I'm unfamiliar with some of the apples you mentioned. I find that you are also interested in the parentage of apple varieties. Bravo! Yes, 'Devonshire Quarrenden', which dates back at least to the 1400's, has contributed to numerous English apples. There's a theory that it originally came from Carentan in northern Manche, Normandy, due south from Devon. It's an assumption that I think holds water. Carentan, like many fairly rural areas in Normandy, was known for its apple orchards. One of its putative progeny is 'Beauty of Bath'. I acquired it early-on because my paternal grandmother was from a village not too terribly far away. Sadly, while so many English apples do well here in the PNW, 'Beauty of Bath' has not faired well. Lamentations.
DanielW -- How would you describe and/or "rate" the 'Porter' apple under your conditions? Like so many summer apples, they simply weren't available for tasting later in the year.
@Reinettes, I am not the best describer of flavors. For me, Porter is sweet, aromatic, tastes "appley", not tart, flesh is tender, not hard or crisp. Old fashioned yellow apple flavor. The graft is vigorous - outgrew the others on the tree, mostly Jonathan, Priscilla, Jonared, Airlie red flesh. Granite Beauty was almost as vigorous but I didn't like them so I took that branch off.
I'm very hopeful for some Pristine this year. I have a minitree grafted with it, and some branches of a multigraft. That one surprised me with how much I liked it.
I have a lot of other summer fruit too. Somehow I feel like summer apple are sort of rebellious - you are not "supposed" to have tree fresh apples then. Gravensteins and Porters don't keep, so only a multigraft branch or minitree is needed. I think both are great in pie or apple sauce, so a canner can be handy for the sauce.
I think my window of time for Gravenstein from not ripe to overripe was about two weeks last year. Plus I think it's biennial, at least so far. The tree is only about six or seven years old so maybe that will change. For me they are worth it, a really delicious apple.
I'm curious about how Zestar will do. I have it as four arms of a young espalier, which has lots of flower buds now.
I definitely take your point about the summer apples being appropriate for multi-grafts on one apple tree. If they're in prime condition for just a relatively short time it makes sense to have a more limited number of each in order to savour them in their prime since they don't last long. It's a good idea. Things like black currants, cherries, blueberries are also "happening" at about the same time and there's no point letting anything go to waste. I'm always willing to share though. I've had several black currants volunteer here-and-there thanks to some of my song sparrows who love to patrol the area.
I've been pruning some of my apples a bit late, in part because I couldn't quite assess what kind of potential die-back had occurred on twigs and branches due to the couple of heat waves last summer. I wanted to wait until I could truly see what had been killed and what new signs of growth indicated about how best to prune and shape. While doing that I discovered that I still had the summer apple 'Palouse'. It was still young, but was apparently of sufficient merit that Tom Burford included it in his "Apples of North America" which, needless to say, had to be highly abbreviated in its contents. I was happy to see the tag because I had thought that it was one that I'd lost to the Northwestern Anthracnose....
Have any of you grown it, or at least tasted it? Do any of you have any experience with this variety which arose in eastern Washington in the early settlement times? Nobody mentioned it as a summer apple. However, after the earlier posts, I was digging back through some of the things that I had printed-out from the internet in 2015 and 2016 and found a lengthy "apple maturity guide" which was from "Grandpa's Orchard" in southwest Michigan. It included some of the summer apples that JeanW had mentioned that I hadn't been familiar with. ...I guess that I've largely focused on older apple varieties that are going way-side as the industry has reduced the diversity to a few that can be stored for 8-12 months. Home grown has always been the way to go.
One good tasting summer apple I know of is Centennial. I think little kids will like it, too.
I had a mystery apple - I grafted, lost the label, and almost totally forgot about - that I planted in the ground about three or four years ago, it set little elongated plum-like apples that reminded me of Dolgo, ripened in mid-August, and tasted good. I only recently found in my old notebook about getting a Centennial scion from our local scion event (now the Agrarian Sharing Network) back in 2016. Results of online search on “Centennial crabapple” confirmed the identity. The rootstock is M7, but the tree so far is still less than 3 feet tall, appears healthy. Precocious. Love it.
Thank you very much for the recommendation! I wasn't familiar with 'Centennial', so looked it up and found that it was a cross of 'Dolgo' x 'Wealthy', introduced by Univ. of Minnesota in 1957. Various mentions of it sounded like it's pretty darn "yummy". As part crabapple, it is probably also a good diploid pollinator for other apples that bloom at the same time.
I'll have to keep it in mind, and keep an eye open for it. Thanks again for the recommendation!
Yes, centennial is a good tasting crabapple. It goes on almost anyone's list of top ten best tasting crabapples.
I am growing Palouse. (I hope! You never know if the scion wood is correct until it fruits!) It is a young tree and has not yet had an apple to taste. We finally had a non-rainy day when I could go out and check the tree. I can’t quite tell yet if there will be blossoms this year, as the buds have just broken. If I do get an apple this year, I’ll try to remember to come back to this thread and report.
John S -- If 'Centennial' goes on almost anyone's list of top-ten best-tasting apples, then that it high praise indeed! There are some apples that, indescribably, just have that "certain something" that is, again inexplicably,... APPLE to the core! ...There are just some things that are beyond our vocabulary.
JeanW -- Yes, I understand the peril of grafting a scion but not being able to verify its identity until it actually blooms and produces a fruit. I have a clone that I acquired as 'Zabergau Reinette' (a Triploid), which I managed to use to pollinate 3 different apples. I love the fruit on it, but I'm now convinced that it must be misidentified. NO triploid is that fertile! I don't know its true identity, but I'm keeping it for its fruit....
Yes, please: if you're able to get a fruit set on the 'Palouse', please report back. I'd love someone else's tastebuds giving a perspective.