Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pound Sweet (Pumpkin Sweet)

Somewhere between large and enormous, this round, ribbed, pale green apple wears a small translucent orange blush on the sunward side. Most samples are unblushed.

Small lenticels, a slightly darker green, are nearly invisible even on close inspection. The peel is smooth and shiny.

There is a splash of russet around the stem area, suggesting that this apple hung heavily enough on the bough that the stem well likely filled with rainwater at times.

Pound Sweet has a sweet smell that includes a whiff of corn.

Inside there is a small planet of fine-grained off-white flesh that does not so much crunch as gently give way.

The apple is well balanced and sweet, with light, alto-soprano flavors: cane sugar, pear, vanilla, table grapes. There is a very small bit of bitterness in the peel.

These flavors are perfectly fine, but I find them to be dull. To be fair, Pound Sweet is generally considered to be a cooking apple.

Stark Brothers calls Pound Sweet “a go-to variety for apple butter.” This is totally credible, but eating out of hand is my lens on the world of apples.

Various sources locate the original Pound Sweet tree in an orchard in Manchester, Connecticut, in the 1830s. It was once widely cultivated.

This is my second bite at this apple. My first try, back in 2012, was frustrated because the apple was halfway rotten. I kept the review as a placeholder until I could taste a better one.

Now that I have done so, I will keep the old post but shift the "apple review" label here. (My rule is that I may write about an apple as often as I like, but only one blog post can be the "real" review.)

Some evidence suggests that Pound Sweet and Pumpkin Sweet may be separate varieties. If so, I can’t say which one this is. The grower called it Pound Sweet.


  1. This is one of the few apples I found mentioned when doing research on making traditional apple butter. I think this class of apples is really intended mostly as a source of sugar. The traditional apple butter is shelf stable due to low moisture and a very high sugar content, so most of the apples are juiced. Mention of specific varieties is rare in the old accounts about apple butter, but every apple that I did find mentioned contained the name sweet or sweeting. Here's the research that I compiled.