About – Cox’s Orange Pippin is a chance seedling introduced by Richard Cox from Bermondsey, England in the 1820’s. The seeds are thought to have been from a Ribston Pippin pollinated by a Blenheim Orange.
Shape – Slightly flat, looks like its fat around the equator. Short stubby, stalky stem.
Skin – Red where the sun strikes it, green on the shaded sides. 20% russet on top. Skin is thin but has a good bite to it.
Flesh – Yellow hinted white, medium density, and medium grained. Juicy enough. Slow to oxidize.
Taste – Note: This sample was picked too early, but was stored 6 weeks to reduce acidity.
I’d like to remember my first encounter with this apple to genuinely understand how special this variety is. I intentionally sought out this apple at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook NY. It was a rainy damp summer here in upstate and I missed the harvest by about a week. I was told where the trees were however. After walking over there were a few still on the tree, dangling, barely hanging on. I grabbed one off the tree and rubbed the haze off. Bite, soft, almost melting consistency to the point of firm apple sauce. I initially spit it out because it was so soft, but the flavor encountered in that moment made me finish the apple.
The melting consistency, in my opinion was the best representation of the complexity of Cox’s Orange Pippin. Slightly sweet, zero sour, its pretty tangy. Flavors of pear drops, florals, maybe a slight note of anise and ripe cherry. All of these flavors are jammed into this one, small, unassuming apple. Its all thrown at you at one time, with an intensity that makes it hard to truly comprehend. When left on the tree to over ripen, the sweet/tangy parts disappear and all that remains is the complex flavors that nearly double in intensity over time. My first is no exaggeration, the best I’ve had so far.
In my sample, when shaken, the seeds do rattle.
Bottom line: This may be one of the best apples ever produced main stream and is the basis for many breeding attempts. The flavor is unlike any american offering. Much umami in this variety. If you’re looking to grow this variety, be warned the tree is very prone to diseases and rots. The reason for breeding of Cox’s Orange Pippin is to improve upon this major shortcoming. I havent sampled many children of Cox’s Orange Pippin, but I would say Kidd’s Orange Red certainly is a worthy substitute.
Fresh eating rating: 8/10
Culinary rating: 7/10 – We’ve had it in bread and its consistency is soft, but full of flavor. Its use is limited to soft consistency applications like bread and muffins.