Apple ratings explained

In 2012 I introduced a qualitative system for rating the eating qualities of apple varieties, as follows:
  • One star (*) for apples that are very good, worth choosing
  • Two (**) for apples that are excellent, worth seeking
  • Three (***) for apples that are exceptional, worth a quest.

Apples with one star are very good choices of their kind worth selecting in season. Ratings are based on the best available examples.

Apples are rated based on their qualities eaten out of hand. Consequently this rating may fail to recognize even excellent cooking or cider apples if they are not good to eat.

One-star ratings seasonally reflect the best choices usually available when the apple is at peak.

► Show all 121 one-star apples


Apples with two stars are particularly excellent eating varieties that are worth seeking out in season.

Cooking or cider apples may not be recognized by this rating if they are not very good to eat. Ratings are based on apples at their peak.

These ratings are qualitative, not quantitative. A two-star apple is not twice as good as a one-star variety and there are no fractional stars or points.

► Show all 49 two-star apples


Three-stars are awarded to superlative eating apples that are worth an exceptional effort to find in season.

They are highly recommended.

Cooking or cider apples may not be recognized by this rating if they are not very good to eat, however outstanding they may be in their respective classes.

Ratings are based on apples at their peak.

► Show all 5 three-star apples

In addition to taste, texture, and color, stars may also be awarded based in small part on how well an apple represents apples of its type, how well it embodies particular qualities such as crispness or vinousness, its qualities as a keeper, and its significance in the history of cultivated apples.

I hope this system will help to organize a growing body of apple reviews and will encourage my readers to try something new.

Apples with no stars may be quite good. These ratings reflect my tastes first and foremost, but also recognize varieties that are superior exemplars of noteworthy qualities.

Your tastes, if different, are not consequently inferior. The only way to know what you like is to taste for yourself, and all apples are worth a bite.