Interest in Cider making as a whole, and the older heritage heirloom varieties has led in turn to renewed interest in Cider Apple varieties.
Many have been re-discovered from near extinction in the last few years and how wonderful it is that these varieties, so irrevocably tied to local History, have survived.
If you want to grow your own apples for cider making – and to make good cider the apples used really should be traditional Cider Making varieties – then you do need some room. Cider Apple trees are seldom grown on dwarfing rootstocks and make trees of 14’+ in height and spread at least, and probably more on some stocks. But they are hard, undemanding and easy to grow. Some varieties are bi-ennial cropping but then do so with considerable generosity.
Cider Apples can be grown I n pastureland, grassland, traditional orchard or paddock.
1] Ellis Bitter
An early variety used to make a bittersweet Cider. Harvest late September to early October, mildew resistant. A vigorous, upright then spreading tree.
Sharp. Mid season, a characteristic slightly weeping tree. Beautiful fruits heavily flushed maroon. Season mid October.
3] Somerset Red Streak
A bittersweet that can be blended. Late September to early October, vigorous and heavily yielding, usually every other year unless thinned. Scab resistant.
Once a mainstay of the industry; heavy cropping and for harvesting late sept-early Oct.
5] Dymmock Red
Bitter-sharp. Produces a well balanced and finely flavoured Cider. Herefordshire origins; late September.
One of the famous names in Cider Making. Mid October season. There is also a sport ‘Red Foxwhelp’
7] Harry Masters Jersey
Full, bittersweet flavour. A compact tree so useful for smaller spaces. Late, harvest mid October through to early November. Disease resistant.
8] Kingston Black
A regal looking apple, almost entirely deep red. Looks good enough to eat but is very astringent, making a bittersharp Cider. A spreading tree of only moderate vigour. Slow to mature but worth waiting for.
9] Yarlington Mill
At the forefront of modern Cider making. Makes a medium bittersweet Cider, a pretty bright yellow apple with a rosy red flush. Harvest late, well into November, mildew and canker resistant. Arose in the 19th Century near West Cadbury [Midlands]
A highly productive yet small conical fruit, for use late October. An old Somerset variety.
Pictured is 'Kingston Black' - a deceptively pretty apple that looks good enough to eat but is very astringent and suitable only for cider making!