York Imperial

Flavor: Tart, becoming sweeter and mellower over time

Approximate Ripening: Early-mid October

Uses: All-purpose

Trivia: Most histories credit Quaker nurseryman Jonathan Jessop with the discovery and development of York, and it does seem that tree grafts raised on his Springwood Farm near York, PA eventually bore this fruit.  But history often fails to note that it was John Kline who first discovered these apples on his farm at Hellam, PA and brought them to Jessop’s attention.  Jessop got the credit for developing the apple, while Kline, its discoverer, faded into obscurity.  The apple, was known as Jonathan’s Fine Winter (in honor of Jessop) until the early 1850s, when horticulturalist Andrew Jackson Downing nicknamed it the “Imperial of Keepers” due to its long storage life.  The nickname stuck and combined with the location of its “discovery” to give the apple its official name: York Imperial.

Notes: Lopsided and oval, York Imperial isn’t pretty to look at, but there’s a reason it’s one of the most popular apples around.  Because of its long history as an excellent keeper, it has become a mainstay in cooking and baking, where its tartness gives it an edge over other apples.