Apple Phenolics: Winesap

Winesap Phenolic Compounds
Winesap Phenolic Compounds

Winesap is an heirloom apple variety in America and it was the parent of numerous other apples including various Winesap seedlings. Stayman Winesap is an example of a Winesap seedling that is commonly found in the United States. Arkansas Black apples are also thought to be a seedling of Winesap. While originally prolific, Winesap apples were replaced commercially by Red Delicious. Winesap is often recommended for use in cider. It generally has a good level of sugar and moderate acidity. The flesh has a phenolic level similar to a GoldRush apple but over twice the level of an Arkansas Black. The peel phenolics are similar to the Arkansas Black but have about 50% more than the GoldRush. Using the Harrison apple as our baseline, let’s explore how much peel you’d need to add in order to reach similar levels. The Harrison apple has 122.4 ug/g of total phenolic compounds in the flesh(1). Assuming a 50% yield on the flesh to juice weight or 61.2 micrograms of phenolics per gram of juice. That is 0.0612 grams of phenolics per liter of juice.

Using the same logic, Winesap juice will give us 0.0238 g/l from the flesh. That means we need an additional 0.0374 g/l of phenolic compounds. The peels of the Winesap apples contain 352.5 micrograms of phenolics per gram of peel(1) and I assume we extract 100% of these. Therefore, each gram of peel will add 0.0003525 grams of phenolics. That means we need 106.1 grams of Winesap peels per liter of juice (0.0374/ 0.0003525) to give the cider the same amount of phenolic compounds as a single variety Harrison cider. Thats 403.2 grams of peels per gallon.

My normal was 75-125 grams of peels per gallon and had I great results at 125 grams with my latest batch. It is important to note that recent research indicates my 50% estimate in flesh to juice transfer may be optimistic. Given the elevated levels of phenolics in the peels, it highlights how impactful they can be at adding these important compounds to your cider. While my current favorites are Arkansas Black, GoldRush, and Akane apples, Winesap apples potentially offer another great way to boost the phenolic level in juice from non-cider apples. The goal is to make great cider and if we can use more of the apple to help us do that, why shouldn’t we. I’ve not been able to test every apple out there so I encourage you to let me know what peels work well for you. Send me a message or leave a comment.


(1) K.A. Thompson-Witrick and associates, Characterization of the Polyphenol Composition of 20 Cultivars of Cider, Processing, and Dessert Apples Grown in Virginia, J. Agric. Food Chem. 62, 2014


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