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 Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties 
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Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 237
Location: SW Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
Does anybody have any recommendations for some fresh-eating crab apples to try?

I thought Dolgo was acidic, but pretty good. Centennial was too mushy for my tastes.

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Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:17 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1336
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
I like Callaway a lot, but you have to pick it before it gets mealy.

I think Wickson is good, but not amazing. I also like Whitney, which is probably my second favorite. My favorite is Maypole Spire, which is an obscure red-fleshed crabapple that is available from the dude in Yoncalla, Oregon, Nick Bottner. I have also gathered many varieties from neighbors, who were happy to share scions with me.

I like crabapples. They greatly help with pollination, and like most adults, I could stand to lose a few pounds. Crabapples are little.
John S
PDX OR


Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:33 pm
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:14 pm
Posts: 197
Location: Aurora, Oregon
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
I rather enjoy the Hansen Red Flesh I have, but the best tasting crab I've ever eaten is the U. of Minnesota selection, "Chestnut". Had some at the U. of Minn one time and enjoyed it so much I hand carried a bag of it home for the family. I'd start some but haven't seen the variety at the Scion Exchange.


Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:09 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:42 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Faribault, Minnesota
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
My father's orchard had Dolgo, Whitney, and Chestnut. I have Dolgo, which makes excellent jelly but is IMO really too small and tart to have much appeal as a dessert apple. Whitney and Chestnut are larger, and while tart, have a certain appeal as dessert apples to people who like subacid fruit. Whitney, if I recall correctly, is the better eating apple of the two. Whitney and Dolgo are both Zone 3 apples, and disease resistant, which is a good deal of their appeal. The trees really are remarkably resistant to disease and insects. My father complained that they were the best yielding, most maintenance free trees in his orchard but he didn't like the fruit.


Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:12 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 237
Location: SW Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
Thank you, this is great!

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Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:18 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1147
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
I suspect these crabs ripen around the same time as ‘full-sized’ apples..? If so, and you ever begin pressing juice, their “subacid fruit” characteristics would/should be ideal to blend with ‘regular (too sweet) apples,’ giving you a richer and more complicated blend!

Though the ease of maintenance and pollen production from a crab is likely a good enough reason to have one, I haven't any… Maybe when the next ‘hole’ opens up :)

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:04 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:42 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Faribault, Minnesota
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
Dolgo does add a certain character to juice not otherwise present. Due to the small size of the fruit, and hence, by mere mathematics, a greater amount of peel area compared to the volume of juice, Dolgo juice has high pectin content and (if heat is used during extraction) a brilliant, ruby red color.

Dolgos also make a passable hard cider (though they are early apples and therefore difficult to blend with the typically much later cider apples), and are an excellent pollen source.


Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:32 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1336
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
I realized that I made a mistake when I posted earlier. I mixed up Wickson and Whitney. Whitney ripens in August, tastes good, and is a great pollinator, but vanishes quickly and in my opinion, has a good but not great flavor. The fruit arranges itself in bunches.

Wickson, which was cited by Marnhart in his book as one of the 50 great apples, is one of my favorite apples, period. It's a big crabapple that has a tart, complex flavor. The flesh is somewhat dense and the skin is slightly thicker, making it hard for the codling moth to make its way. Most of them have bites, but they give up and go for something else. Even the ones that have been nibbled by codling moths don't taste any worse. Wickson seems to ripen over a very long period of time. It is ripening now, and I was eating them in September too, although they were probably at their peak a couple of weeks ago. When they get a watercore, they are sweeter and more delicious. Because they ripen during all this time, they are great for cider. Being a crabapple, they are also great for pollination. I have accidentally left one in my bike pouch and it was great a month later. The fancy varieties that I bought for 90 cents each at the farmer's market don't hold a candle to Wickson grown in my yard, in my opinion.

Did I mention that I like this crabapple?

John S
PDX OR


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:11 pm
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Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:58 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Just east of Tacoma WA
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
Get a Centennial.
Very attractive long fruit and good flavor.

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Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:07 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
Just a note:

I used to log on as Boizeau, but had to change my ID to Hoopus.....Same person but password issues.

I am still me.


Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:12 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: Best fresh-eating crab apple varieties
I don't know if you consider Geneva red-flesh to be a crab, but it is a nice change of pace the third week of Sept. For a very late red flesh Pink Parfait is interesting. I assume there is Neidwetskiana crabapple at the origen of the redfleshes.


Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:57 pm
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