Top Apples by The Experts

Scott from GardenWeb was kind enough to present this list.
Many varieties here to choose from, most of which I’ve never had, but hope to have sometime in the near future.

Roger D. Way’s Top 20:

1. Spigold
2. Macoun
3. Golden Delicious
4. Esopus Spitzenburg
5. Empire
6. Jonagold
7. Jonathan
8. Yellow Newtown
9. Northern Spy
10. Patricia
11. Red Melba
12. Cox Orange
13. Golden Russet
14. Orleans Reinette
15. Spartan
16. Tydeman Early
17. Mutsu
18. Tompkins King
19. Spencer
20. Kidds Orange Red

Note: This list is from 1966

Tom Burford’s Top 20:

American Beauty
Blue Pearmain
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Esopus Spitzenburg
Grimes Golden
Kidd’s Orange Red
Newtown (Albemarle) Pippin
Pitmaston Pineapple
Ribston Pippin
Summer Rambo
Virginia Beauty
White Winter Pearmain
Winesap (old)
Yellow Bellflower
Zabergau Reinette

Ed Fackler’s Top 20:

1. Sweet 16 – expensive bourbon with a shot of vanilla! Much easier to grow up north.
2. Spigold – Complex, intense and very juicy (difficult to grow because of its Spy habits).
3. Suncrisp – Intense “cox” flavor with more sugars.
4. Freyberg – Banana-like with a touch of overripe raspberry.
5. Hokuto – While subject to season (requires much sun late), it is a mix of Mutsu acids with Fuji sugars.
6. GoldRush – Battery acid off the tree—heavenly at Christmas and keeps through May if stored in plastic.
7. Braeburn – Murder to grow (sus. to every apple problem), but possesses enough complex acids to make it great.
8. Jonagold – For the new-to-the-game (of apple flavors), it is a very pleasing mix of dead-ripe Jonathan and sugars of Golden. Easy to eat.
9. Rubinette – A sweeter, milder (and juicier) version of Suncrisp, but ripens some 2 weeks earlier.
10. Newtown – (Not to eat prior to Jan. 1) At this time, it is simply great, many subtle complexities.
11. ArkCharm – Great for about 17.5 mins. off the tree (no storage). Rich and easy to eat.
12. Orin – Wonderful in some (hot) seasons, bland in others. A mild pineapple-like flavor in most years.
13. Shizuka – A sweeter and juicier version of Mutsu which ripens about 10 da. prior.
14. NovaSpy – Great complexity (which slight vanilla-bourbon) and easier to grow than most Spy sibs.
15. Sundowner – The highest flavored of the new “Austrailian” group which can only be grown near the equator (due to extremely late ripening)!
16. Honeycrisp – For those who equate flavor with its wonderful texture.
17. Fuji – See descrip. of Honeycrisp.
18. Hudson’s Gold Gem – When properly picked, it compares to really great european pear (Collette, Magness, etc.). Difficult to grow due to shy production and fruit cracking.
19. Melrose – When starved for n., it is one of the finest tart apples I’ve eaten, otherwise not much.
20. Keepsake – Very shy, but flavor is great on the one apple you get every five years or so!

Tom Vorbeck / Applesource:


1 Fuji – Best keeping sweet apple in the world
2 Gala – Best very sweet early fall apple
3 Honey Crisp – Very crisp, large, hardy
4 Golden Delicious – The standard yellow sweet apple
5 Red Delicious – The standard red sweet apple (avoid Starkrimson strain)
6 Jonagold – World’s best, but short storage-life, frost-tender
7 Cameo – Poorly colored, best Red Delicious type (Untested)
8 Mutsu – Greenish yellow, cocktail of flavors, frost tender
9 Mollie’s Delicious – Large, crisp, sweet (does best on dwarf trees)
10 Creston – Resembles Jonagold; crisper but uglier; (Untested)
11 Sansa – An early Gala-type, low vigor
12 Golden Russet – Medium-sized, antique russet with a dense sugary flesh
13 Orin – Crisp, greenish-yellow, aromatic; #3 in Japan


1 Goldrush – Scab resistant, intense, Fuji class keeper, reliable
2 Braeburn – Best texture and flavor, moderate keeper
3 Melrose – Jonathan x Delicious, excellent pies & caramel apples
4 Swiss Gourmet – Best texture, mostly red, some russet, frost tender
5 Rubinette – Golden x Cox, a “best” Cox-like flavor
6 Spigold – Spy x Golden, huge and wonderful; growth problems
7 Jonalicious – Crisp, juicy, somewhat sour; growth problems
8 Suncrisp – Large, yellow, intense, (Cortland x Cox) x G.D.


1 Jonathan – Standard Midwest cooking apple
2 Akane – An early Jonathan-type
3 Idared – Best keeping Jonathan type
4 Newtown Pippin – Light green, medium-sized, best quality in December
5 Stayman Winesap – Best of the Winesaps; cracking problems
6 Liberty – Scab resistant McIntosh-type
7 Esopus Spitzenberg – Highest ranked sour apple at most apple tastings, short lived
8 Ashmead’s Kernel – Ugly russet; intense; frost tender
9 Monark – Large, crisp, pies and tarts; preharvest drop problems
10 Gravenstein – The standard late summer cooker
11 Arkansas Black – Gorgeous, hard, keeper, Winesap-type
12 Calville Blanc – Classic French cooker
13 Lodin – July sauce, large apples
14 Yellow Transparent – July sauce apple, “smoother” sauce than Lodi
15 Granny Smith – Large green keeper; barely matures here
16 Northern Spy – Premium processing cultivar; a best antique

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