Re: What apple varieties make great fresh juice?
I’ve made juice from whichever of my apples that have been ripe and ready at the time, even pears. Gravenstein’s are excellent, with their natural sweet-tart blend and the fact they’re some of the earliest ripening apples. From there, a blend of sweet and tart apples make the most desirable juice. I’ve made it from 18 to 25 gallons at a time and occasionally 5 runs a season …thus have to give it away as I keep it fresh, so end up with all kinds of feedback. Fewer like it sweet than with a blend of tart – and some even prefer it on the edge of vinegar!
Had I to plant my trees all over again I’d lean toward tarter apples for blending with both sweet apples and pears. Pears make a very rich blend, though often too sweet. And – I’d plant for a graduation of ripening times. The apples I have actually work quite well, ‘bitters’ have been my Bramley’s (seedling), Pink Pearl (too small & scabby to eat but fairly consistent, red-fleshed and tart) and Braeburn, ending with Granny Smith, my latest ripening apple. Most popular apples would likely be considered ‘sweet,’ so those winning ‘taste tests’ are not likely going to be your best juice apples.
My early’s, as mentioned, are Gravenstein’s and some of the English “Cox” and Pippin varieties; midseason have been Kings, Bramley’s and Golden Delicious; Latter apples have been Winesap (an excellent & consistent juice apple), Spitzenburg, Red Del., Braeburn, and Granny Smiths …I’ve also a multitude of other ‘one limb’ grafts…
One thing I’ve come to appreciate (in all fruit) is consistency. If you’re making juice, appearance doesn’t matter, but a tree that set’s fruit in poor pollination years is always superior to one that doesn’t. I’d look into (pick Shaun Shepherd’s
) hard cider varieties to come up with some solid and consistent ‘sharp’ juice apples. Hardy, productive and consistent trees first - juice later