Choosing Apple Varieties for Cider

Choosing Apple Varieties for Cider
Almost any apple can be used for cider. However, for the best tasting cider, choose varieties that will combine well.

Two things to keep in mind is the preferred level of tartness and sweetness. There are several tried and true apple varieties that can’t be beat when it comes to cider apples. These include some relatively old fashioned, reliable apple varieties, including Rome Beauty, Cortland, Winesap, McIntosh, and York Imperial.

Generally, you can expect to get about 2 to 2 ½ gallons of cider per bushel of apples. Pick over the apples first, and discard any with rotten spots. Apples with worm holes can be trimmed and used.

I wouldn’t use apples that have fallen to the ground because these might have come in contact with deer droppings, which can spread E. coli and other diseases. Deer are known to frequent orchards and leave droppings behind.

A cider press can come in handy if you have access to one. However, a good juicer can be used as a substitute for small batches of cider.

The cider can be drunk fresh or refrigerated for a short time. For long term storage, this can be canned, frozen, or fermented for hard cider. Pasteurizing is also another option if the cider is to be stored.

York Imperial Apple

The York Imperial apple originated in York, Pennsylvania in the 1830s. This is an excellent choice for cider. It is grown commercially for canning.

It was called York Imperial because the pomologist, Charles Downing, described it as “imperial of Keepers” since this apple stores very well.

The tree does best in zones 4 through 8. The vigorous, upright plant bears large crops.

York Imperial apple is by far my favorite for cooking and eating as well as for cider. It is a good choice for drying as well. They are also great for pies, and really are an all purpose apple. Because the flesh doesn’t turn brown when peeled, this is excellent for salads.

The relatively juicy flesh is aromatic, firm, and crisp. The flavor is tart and sub-acid with a hint of sweetness.

These large apples ripen late to very late, usually in late October. These are large to medium sized. Somewhat round, they’re mostly lop sided to somewhat flat and rectangular.

York Imperial apples have a yellow to green flushed skin with reddish-pink or light red. The color tends to be patchy. This can also have carmine stripes.

The relatively juicy flesh is firm and crisp. The flavor is tart and sub-acid to almost sweet.

Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Connie Krochmal. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Krochmal. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Krochmal for details.