Duchess of Oldenburg apple trees

Duchess of Oldenburg
  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners
  • Picking season: Early
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 2
  • Uses: Eating fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Traditional cooker

Duchess of Oldenburg is a popular early-season apple, primarily used as a cooking apple although it can be eaten fresh when fully ripe. It is often known simply as "Duchess".

It is easy to grow, and therefore a good choice if you are looking for apples to cook with in early August. The key to its success in the kitchen is its tart acidic flavor which holds up well in cooking. Slices usually lose their shape during cooking, making Duchess of Oldenburg best suited for recipes that require apple sauce.

How to grow

Duchess of Oldenburg is a reliable variety, easy to grow, and very winter-hardy.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Historical details

Originated in Russia in the early 18th century. Introduced to the USA via the UK in the early 19th century.

Duchess of Oldenburg characteristics


  • Picking season: Early
  • Uses: Eating fresh Cooking Traditional cooker
  • Cropping: Good
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
  • Flavor style (apples): Sharper
  • Cooking result: Puree
  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening


  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 2
  • Pollinating others: Average
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer

Disease resistance

  • General resistance: Good


  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20C - 24C / 68F - 75F) Warm (25C - 30C / 76F - 85F) Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Frost resistance of blossom: Good resistance


  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Period of origin: 1750 - 1799

Similar varieties

  • See also Antonovka
    Antonovka is one of the most cold-hardy of all apple varieties.