biwa
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Looking for a very tart apple for pie making

I want to plant an apple tree that will add rich, tart flavor to pies. I did a Google search found tons of cultivars that people say are good for pies. Some of the more popular ones are Granny Smith, Northern Spy, and Bramley's.

Can anyone tell me what apple is the most acidic? I tried to find a website that lists apples by pH, but could find no such site.

JONA878
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King of the old cookers....Bramley.
Although the others are fair cookers they still retain that slight sweetness that really makes them a dessert apple.
Other true culinaries are ones like Lanes Prince Albert,. Grenadier, Newton Wonder etc.
I know these are UK varieties but have a search under Culinary apples and you should get some good ideas.

Jona

biwa
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Thanks Jona. I wish someone around here sold Bramley so I could taste-test them.

I just finished a baked apple taste-test experiment of all the apples sold at Walmart to determine which make good pie. Each apple was sprinkled with apple pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) and baked. I graded them pass/fail based on whether they tasted good baked. Here's the results:

Losers (too bland):
Braeburn
Gala
Golden Delicious

Winners:
McIntosh (nice soft texture)
Red Delicious (very sweet, but good flavor)
Granny Smith (nice and tart)
Pink Lady (awesome flavor)
Asian pear (very sweet, flavor compliments apple pie spices well)

Unfortunately, Walmart doesn't have a big selection of apples.

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applestar
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Since you're in Virginia, biwa, I wonder if this place might be good for you?
https://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/resourcelinks.htm

I came across the website when I was looking for specific rootstocks, but I haven't shopped there or anything yet. It did seem like a promising site, though.

If you've never grown apple trees before, I recommend looking for disease resistant cultivars and rootstocks, especially for disease prone to your area -- e.g. In my area, fireblight is a HUGE problem, and Eastern Red Cedar grows everywhere so Cedar-Apple Rust can't be ignored.

JONA878
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Hi BIWA,
Just had a good look through my ref books and a few more suggestions.
These are I believe varieties that you can get in the states.
It does seem that you are rather like the bulk of Europe and have very few true culinary varieties. most in the lists seem to be at best duel purpose types.

So a trio of ' duels ' that I know from the orchards here are good vars and appear on American lists..

Blenheim Orange......inclined to be bi-annual but is a super baking apple and if left becomes a lovely eater with a nice nutty flavour..dry fleshed cooks to a 'snow'

Crispin ( Mutsu ).. heavy cropping triploid. Good apple for pies as the flesh stays in its section when cooked and doesn't break down to a slush.
Very good eater when it has turned yellow with a distinct pineapple flavour.

Belle De Boskoop ...A very old variety that is grown across Europe as a cooker although strictly it's a duel purpose var.

The rest I'm afraid I have no knowledge of their taste as they are unknown to me but they are as I understand true American Culinaries.
Parkland.
Rhode Island Greening
Twenty Ounce ( Cayuga Redstreak )


Jona.

Pippin Limbertwig
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Old Apple Varieties in Virginia

I appreciate your dilemma, you want to taste before planting and waiting 4 to 5 years - I have been trying to chose varieties to plant at our home in Southwest Virginia.

Master Gardeners of the Blue Ridge will be hosting an apple tasting of the heirloom varieties growing at Matthews State Forest in Galax, VA. It will be in the fall - date is not yet determined. We are cutting scion wood now at Matthews, Foggy Ridge and a few private orchards for public grafting workshops in March and April. It's possible you can get a variety that isn't commercially available when you decide. I know we will have Wolf River.

Try Urban Homesteader at www.OldVaApples.com for a nice catalog with good descriptions - and definitely not your WalMart apples.

Cider Apples are very tart - although texture might be a problem. Diane Flynt is very knowledgeable and willing to share information. Check Foggy Ridge Cider www.FoggyRidgeCider.com/learn/apple-corps.php for lots of information and a schedule of tastings and classes. Once you taste her hard cider you may be ready to skip pie! :lol:

Good luck on your quest for the perfect apple pie - I hope you can make it to some of the events. I'll post the dates as they become available.
Pippin Limbertwig

"Let us watch our beginnings, and the results will manage themselves." Alexander Clark

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!potatoes!
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in my experience a mutzu/crispin is a bit sweeter than you're looking for. northern spy's a good bet. complex but pretty acidic...finding it in any old store won't be easy, though. same goes for some of it's kin, like fortune, a spy/empire mix...i mostly only know them from working in the northeast.

cynthia_h
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I don't know whether these are available on the Atlantic Seaboard, but

Pippin
Spitzenberg
Arkansas Black
Gravenstein

You'll need to find an apple grower who specializes in heritage varieties; that's how I made the acquaintance of these.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

The Helpful Gardener
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Perhaps if tart or souor is what you are after, perhaps one of the old cider varieties is what you want. [url=https://www.motherearthnews.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=1508&tag=cider]Seems they are coming back in style...[/url]

HG
Scott Reil

biwa
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Location: Virginia, zone 7

Wow, there's so many choices! I wish some of the apples you guys are suggesting were available here so I could taste them. I repeated my baked apple experiment with apples from a local grocery store, and here's my results:

Losers:
Jonagold (has good texture though)
Empire (bland)
Cameo (too sweet)

Winners:
Honey Crisp (too sweet but compensates with good flavor)
Fuji (good flavor)

The ones I'm seriously considering at this point are Bramley, Pink Lady (aka Cripps Pink), Honey Crisp, and Asian pear. I will research cider apples before making any decisions though; those sound yummy.

Please suggest any varieties that are good even if I can't buy them locally. I intend to order the tree online anyway. This is such a hard decision that I'm tempted to buy multiple trees and plant them together so I have enough space.

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applestar
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I really, really like my 'Enterprise'. It's a late maturing apple -- supposed to be mid-late Oct around here, but I started picking small green ones in September, and you know what? They were wonderful cooked -- in cobblers, pies, applecake (well, by applecake, I had both green and semi-ripe ones)

After ripening, the flavor -- MMMmmm WOW! Spicy, tangy, juicy, crunchy, AND sweet! Boy oh boy did a Red Delicious (organic from a co-op) taste like water after that. And some respectably sized ones too, mostly baseball, a good % even bigger.

Real fighter too, I have very bad fireblight situation here -- many many landscaped as well as escaped Bradford/Callery pears in the neighborhood, slowly succumbing (and spreading) the disease -- and my brave apple tree only loses tip of a branch here, a few new leaves there. Also with the Eastern Red Cedar as the local front-line player in native plant community succession, there is absolutely no avoiding Cedar-Apple Rust, but it gamely fights on. Have not seen Powdery Mildew at all and minimal scab. All without any chemicals -- only the 10% milk and some Surround (finely milled kaolin clay)

Hmm. I have to tell you, though, I've NEVER seen 'Enterprise' apples -- the fruits, I mean -- in stores (It's not Empire).

JONA878
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Hi Star.
Enterprise is not listed in my Joan Morgan so had to look it up on the web.
Never seen it over here in the UK but it sounds like a perfect garden fruit with its high disease resistance,
Found this site with pretty good info on it.
I think I will have to try and get a scion or two to try it out.

https://korban.nres.uiuc.edu/Enterprise.pdf

Jona

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applestar
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Wow, I knew something JONA didn't (?)! :D Glad to be of service. :wink:
And thank YOU for the link. I've never seen such a thorough report on 'Enterprise' and I see they have one on 'Pristine', a newer acquisition of mine, as well. 8)

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