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Orange Pippin Trees USA logoSpecialist fruit trees for your orchard or back-yard

Best apple trees for sweet cider

Sweet cider is made by pressing apples and collecting the juice. It is a great way to use a surprlus of apples, and the cider can easily be frozen to preserve it.

Home-pressed sweet cider has a freshness and flavor that you don't get from shop-bought apple juice. You can use any apples to make it, but there are some varieties that have particularly good juice qualities.

  • 1st Wickson Crab

    See also Wickson Crab

    Wickson crab apples have an unusually concentrated flavor and the juice contains high levels of both acid and sugars. This makes Wickson ideal for sweet (and hard) cider.

    Wickson can also be eaten fresh or used for home baking, and the abundant spring blossom makes it a good pollinator for other apple trees.

    Buy Wickson Crab crab apple trees here
  • 2nd Golden Russet

    See also Golden Russet

    Golden Russet is a traditional American apple, with a reputation for excellent flavor for eating fresh. This carries over into the juice, which has a predominantly rich sweet flavor but with plenty of balancing acidity. (In fact many russet-skinned apples also have a particularly good juice quality).

    The tree is easy to grow, although somewhat susceptible to fireblight.

    Buy Golden Russet apple trees here
  • 3rd Arkansas Black

    See also Arkansas Black

    Arkansas Black is a late-season apple variety that is almost inedible in the fall, and needs to be stored for a few months before it is ready to eat. The intense flavor of the apples carries over into a strong-flavored juice, which can also be used for hard-cider.

    The one downside from the point of view of sweet cider production is that Arkansas Black is not usually a heavy-cropping variety. On the other hand it has a good reputation for disease-resistance.

    Buy Arkansas Black apple trees here
  • 4th Bramley's Seedling

    See also Bramley's Seedling

    Bramley is a vigorous traditional English apple variety which produces large quantities of big apples with  a particularly high acid content. When pressed the juice is beautifully sharp and acidic, making a refreshing drink or useful for blending with sweeter cider.

    The apples are also perfect for English-style cookery, and they easily cook down to a rich puree.

    Buy Bramley's Seedling apple trees here
  • 5th Ashmead's Kernel

    See also Ashmead's Kernel

    Like many heirloom russeted apple varieties, Ashsmeads Kernel produces a high quality sweet cider. The rich sweet-sharp juice often has an attractive pear-like flavor.

    The apples can also be eaten fresh, preferably after a few months in storage, at which point the dense complex flavors will have mellowed.

    Buy Ashmead's Kernel apple trees here
  • 6th Discovery

    See also Discovery

    Discovery is a pretty English early-season apple known for its fresh summery flavor. The apples do not keep so juicing is a good way to preserve them. The sweet cider has a particularly well-balanced sweet/tart flavor.

    Buy Discovery apple trees here
  • 7th Court Pendu Plat

    See also Court Pendu Plat

    It is often the case that apples with unusual or strong flavors make the best sweet cider, and Court Pendu Plat is a good example. The solid dry flesh yields a remarkably fruity sweet cider, with a characteristic pear-drop flavor.

    This ancient French apple variety flowers very late, and needs another late-flowering apple tree to pollinate it.

    Buy Court Pendu Plat apple trees here
  • 8th Cripps Pink

    See also Cripps Pink

    Cripps Pink is one of the best modern apples for eating fresh. Like many apples with Golden Delcious in their parentage, Cripps Pink produces a good quality sweet cider, with a tangy but predominantly sweet flavor.

    Cripps Pink needs a really long growing season, so is best suited to the southern states.

    Buy Cripps Pink apple trees for california / south-west here
  • 8th Burgundy

    See also Burgundy

    This little-known variety produces large juicy apples which have a high-quality sweet-sharp flavor, 

    Burgundy is very cold-hardy and generally easy to grow, but avoid areas where fireblight or cedar rust might be an issue,

    Buy Burgundy apple trees here
  • 10th Idared

    See also Idared

    The red apple from Idaho is a superb variety for sweet cider production, and is grown commercially for ths purpose. The crisp dense flesh has a rich sweet flavor.

    Idared is one of the best keepers, and can be stored in a domestic fridge for six months. It is also a useful pollinator for other early-blooming apple varieties.

    Buy Idared apple trees here

Full list of apple trees recommended for making sweet cider..