Friday, August 17, 2012

Two-star apples

I am pleased to introduce the second of three qualitative ratings for apples, along with 38 varieties that, in my view, deserve at least two stars (of a possible three).

Two stars denote apples that are "excellent, worth seeking."

Like the rest of the rating system, this judgment is based on eating qualities of the best samples that I could find. It snubs, perhaps unjustly, some varieties renowned for cooking or cider.

The ratings are qualitative, not quantitative. Two stars are not twice as good as one, and there are no fractional stars. More on this below.

Unlike the one-star ratings, those for two and three stars are not seasonal, and an apples's historical role may play a small part in the rating.

The two-star (or better) apples are as follows.
Red Gravenstein
Ashmead's KernelBaldwinBlushing GoldenChestnut CrabappleCox's Orange PippinDaveyElstarEsopus SpitzenbergGold Rush (Goldrush)Golden RussetGravensteinKarmijn de Sonnaville (Karmine) ● Lady Alice ● LibertyLyscomMacounMaiden's Blush
Reinette Simirenko
McIntoshOpalescentOrleans ReinetteOzark GoldPacific Rose (Sciros)Piñata (Pinova, Sonata)Pomme GrisRed GravensteinReine de Reinettes (King of the Pippins)Reinette Simirenko (Wood's Greening)Ribston PippinStar SongSuncrispSweet SixteenWealthyWestfield Seek-No-FurtherWicksonWilliams' PrideWinesapWinter BananaYellow Transparent (White Transparent)

From the varieties named today I shall shortly select a few three-star apples.

A precise quantitative rating system would be fussy and not especially useful, speaking with false authority about differences too minute to be meaningful, even if accurate.

Variations in quality based on harvest conditions, handling, and storage would erase the quantitative difference, if any, between apples with 76 versus 78 points (out of a hypothetical 100).

My modest hope is that as a general qualitative guide these ratings will encourage people to enjoy some new things.


  1. I'm glad to see Opalescent as one of your two starred apples. I think they are wonderful in cooking. Best apple pie ever.

    Can I put in a request for you to sample and review a Kidd's Orange Red or a Freyberg? I understand them to be delicious also.

    1. Chloe, Opalescent is a personal favorite of mine (check out my avatar). Thanks for your take on it for baking. These are all, in my view, superior apples.

      I know that in some parts of the world Kidds Orange is easy to come by, but I have yet to have the pleasure. Similarly Freyberg. I am always looking for new apples to try and to share here!

    2. Thanks for your reply Adam!

      I love reading your blog, by the way. I've found it incredibly informative when it comes to choosing apple varieties to buy and grow.

      Looking forward to every new apple that you discover!

    3. Thank you, Chloe. I appreciate your suggestions and hope I find many new varieties this fall.

    4. I am suprized, that Topaz didnt get any star. Its my favourite together with Cox Orange, and its at least worth a try.

    5. @Lubor: My error! I agree Topaz deserves a star and said so on August 11.

      I just didn't incorporate it into the rating system properly. Will remedy shortly.



Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.