Green Apple Varieties: Growing Apples That Are Green

Green Apple Varieties: Growing Apples That Are Green

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Few things can beat a fresh, crisp apple, right off the tree. This is especially true if that tree is right in your own backyard, and if the apple is a tart, tasty green variety. Growing green apples is a great way to enjoy fresh fruit, and to add some variety to the other types of apples you already enjoy.

Enjoying Apples That are Green

Apples that are green have a more pronounced tart and less sweet flavor than red varieties. If you love apples of all types, green varieties have their place. They taste great when eaten raw and fresh, just as a snack.

They also add a delicious crunch and fresh flavor to salads and are the perfect counterbalance in flavor to salty, rich cheeses like cheddar and blue cheese. Slices of green apple hold up well in sandwiches and can be used in baking to balance the sweet flavor of other apples.

Green Apple Tree Cultivars

If you are inspired to add one or more green apple varieties to your home orchard, you have a few great options:

Granny Smith: This is the classic green apple and the variety that everyone thinks of when thinking green. In many grocery stores, this is the only green apple you will be able to find. It is a worthy choice and has a dense flesh that is very tart. That tart flavor holds up well in cooking and baking.

Ginger Gold: This apple is green to golden in color and was developed in Virginia in the 1960s. It was found growing in an orchard of Golden Delicious trees. The flavor has more tartness than the Golden Delicious, but it is sweeter than a Granny Smith. It is a great, fresh-eating apple that ripens earlier than other varieties.

Pippin: The Pippin is an old American variety, dating back to the 1700s. It came from a pip, which is a chance seedling, on a farm in Newtown, Queens. It is sometimes called a Newtown Pippin. Pippins are green but may have streaks of red and orange. The flavor is tart to sweet, and because of its firm flesh, it excels as a cooking apple.

Crispin/Mutsu: This Japanese variety is green and very large. One apple is often too much for one person. It has a sharp, tart, but still sweet flavor and is great eaten fresh and when baked or cooked.

Antonovka: This old, Russian variety of apples will be hard to find, but worth it if you can get your hands on a tree. Originating in the early 1800s, the Antonovka apple is green and bracingly tart. You can eat the apple raw if you can handle it, but these are excellent apples for cooking. It is also a great tree to grow in colder climates, as it is hardier than most varieties.

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8 of the Tastiest Apple Varieties and How to Make Them Thrive

Ame lives off-the-grid on her beautiful farm in Falmouth, Kentucky. She has been gardening organically for over 30 years and has grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and ornamentals. She also participates in Farmers Markets, CSA, and mentors young farmers. Ame is the founder and director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center where she teaches environmental education programs in self-sufficiency, herbal medicine, green building, and wildlife conservation.

Apples are the quintessential American fruit. From the tale of Johnny Appleseed to the well-known aphorism ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ we Americans love our apple trees. The versatile plant deserves its reputation, and we think every yard should have an apple tree. Don’t be daunted by the fact that there are hundreds of apple varieties to choose from. We’re giving you eight favorites that we think are particularly tasty, and we’ll explain why they’re the right choice for your space.

Winter Chill

While sunny winter days are ideal for curling up with a good book, that same warm beam of sunshine can reduce or eliminate the season's apple harvest. Apple trees need up to 1,800 hours of winter temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and warm days stop the clock. Areas along the central and northern California coast, in fact, only receive roughly 500 hours of winter chill, while inland areas may receive up to 1,000. Select apple varieties with low chill requirements for an abundant early harvest.

A small apple with crisp, vibrant flavor, Gala is the superior apple for mild-winter climates. Gala apples ripen from late June to early July in central California's coastal elevations, with late July harvests at higher latitudes. Gala apple trees produce long branches and are heavy bearers this combination often results in broken limbs. Thin the fruit or give the branches exterior support to prevent snapped branches. Gala requires just 500 hours of winter chill.

Anna is a good choice for coastal gardens. Anna apple trees tend to produce earlier in their lifespan than other trees and continue to produce reliably year after year. The sweet, pale green apples are touched with red and ripen surprisingly early -- often in May or early June in warmer areas. Anna requires only 200 to 300 hours of winter chill and produces well in the low desert. Keep in mind that even if your coastal garden receives adequate winter chill, foggy summers can reduce your harvest.

Antique Varieties

Some antique cultivars suited to growing in mild winter climates of USDA zones 8 through 11 are "Pettingill," "Yellow Bellflower," "Winter Banana" and "White Winter Pearmain." The "Pettingill" apple was discovered in 1949 as a chance seedling in Long Beach, California. The green fruit is flushed red, and has crisp, sweet flesh. "Yellow Bellflower" is yellow flushed red-orange. It produces good cider, dessert and baking apples. "Winter Banana" has a unique aroma and taste, somewhat reminiscent of banana. "White Winter Pearmain" has yellow skin, flushed and dotted reddish-brown. Used mostly as an eating apple, it is juicy, subacid and crisp. "Pettingill" and "Winter Banana" grow in USDA zones 3 through 9, "Yellow Bellflower" in zones 4 through 8 and "White Winter Pearmain" in USDA zones 5 through 8.

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