Ashmead’s Kernel is one of the oldest apple varieties we grow. Grown from seeds planted by Dr. Ashmead in Gloucester, England, around 1700, its ugly skin conceals its inner beauty as a dessert apple. Yellow green, russetted skin, crisp, light flesh, often described as having pear and citrus flavors. A good storage apple, said to sweeten and mellow after several weeks.
Type: dessert/table fruit, cider (sometimes categorized as a sharp), single-varietal
Pedigree: England, ~1700, seedling
Flowering group: 4
Pollination: self-sterile triploid, poor pollinator for other trees
Ciders made with this apple
Reviews exist for a Wandering Aengus version in 2014 but it’s not mentioned on their website.
Farnum Hill made a single varietal Ashmead’s Kernel in 2008 that fermented to a whopping 9% ABV.
Why we planted it: We have a special fondness for this apple because Stray Arrow Ranch was launched by our first tastes of an Ashmead’s Kernel. In 2011, as we were considering what options were possible for a beat up parcel of declining alfalfa pasture in Utah’s red rock country, we attended an apple tasting event at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Led by the famous apple orchardist and fruit explorer Tom Burford, that tasting experience opened our senses to the wide world of heritage apples. Ashmead’s Kernel was one of the first fruits served that day, and when we tasted our slivers, we turned to each other knowing that we had to try to grow these fruits ourselves.
Stray Arrow Ranch trees
2012: 4 planted, G11/MM111 rootstock
2013: 9 planted, B9 rootstock
Field and tasting notes
2014: Both 2012 and 2013 trees flowered but a 20°F frost on May 1 wiped out almost all the fruit in our area.