Cider Words: Historic American Cider Apples

Historic American Cider Apples
Historic American Cider Apples

In 1867, John A. Warder published American Pomology: Apples (1). If you haven’t read it, it’s not only a wonderful book about American apples but also a great reminder of how America grew. When he talks about the West, he means Illinois! Within its pages are references to apples that after 150 years are still around along with others that are lost to history. In one of the back sections, he highlights apples for different uses and it includes a couple lists of what we could consider standard American cider apples for the early 19th century. Some of these are just starting to become better known again while others I’ve never heard of before. Here are some of my favorites. I hope they might inspire everyone to find and propagate these wonder American cider apples or historical apples from your part of the world! Note, maturity doesn’t mean tree ripening. His reference to maturity is when that apple’s flavor hits its peak, which is often after storage.

AppleSizeOriginMaturityQuality
Campfield MediumNew JerseySpringPoor
GilpinMediumVirginiaSpringGood?
HarrisonMediumNew JerseyWinterGood
Hewe’s CrabSmallVirginia WinterBest
Priestly (Priestley)MediumPennsylvania SpringPoor
Rawle’s JanetMediumVirginiaLate WinterVery Good
Ruckman’s PearmainMedium? WinterPoor
Waugh’s CrabSmallVirginia WinterGood
WinesapMediumNew JerseyWinterGood
American Cider Apples of the Early-1800s

Have you found references to other American cider apples? What ones would you add to the list?


(1) J.A. Warner, American Pomology, Orange Judd & Company, 1867


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