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How about your Liberty apples?

Posted by tedgrowsit 6b PA (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 24, 11 at 16:38

About a month ago I picked my Liberty apples and put them in the frig. This week we got a bag out and starting dicing them up for consumption. Everyone at my table agreed that they were among the best apples we ever ate. They were crisp, juicy, flavorful, fruity, balanced sweet and tart. Is this how you know this apple variety? Except for curculio damage, they are easy to grow and prolific.
Enjoying Liberty,
Ted


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

As compared to what? Speaking of your orchard, not the stuff they sell at the supermarket.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

No, I am not comparing to the apples from the store. Store apples will do when nothing else is available. We have tasted many varieties of apples, probably in the 50-100 range. Each apple has its own niche and appeal. Maybe these Libertys taste so good because that's what we have right now. I do think they are the best we've had this year. Varieties this season so far: Gala, Rubinette, William's Pride, Honeycrisp, Kidd's Orange Red, Fuji, Sweet 16, Pomme Gris, Holstein, Jonathan, Pixie Crunch, Goldrush, Galarina, Crimson Crisp. All grown in small local orchards. Ted


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

>>Varieties this season so far: Gala, Rubinette, William's Pride, Honeycrisp, Kidd's Orange Red, Fuji, Sweet 16, Pomme Gris, Holstein, Jonathan, Pixie Crunch, Goldrush, Galarina, Crimson Crisp. All grown in small local orchards.<<

So, really, nothing special, eh? ;-)

My own Liberty has given us everything from bland to mediocre to fabulous this year. I don't really know how to guage when they are ready and when they aren't. I've often been surprised by how good they are after some storage, and I've been discouraged by how poorly they keep. Sometimes.

When they are at their best they are crisp and juicy, with a sharp edge that is followed by a nice sweetness and a complexity of flavor that I can't describe. They clear the palate nicely -unlike, say, a red delicious, which is cloying. The flavors have a mild spicy edge to them. The skin colors to a very deep black-red and is tender; the flesh is very white (and if even slightly underripe will be tinted with green) and sometimes streaked with red.

Our season was strange. Summer was late, mild, and short, but we still haven't had a real frost. I would much rather have had more sun and heat, but I wasn't asked ... It probably wasn't an ideal year for any fruit, but still, what we did get (pears and apples) has been way better than storebought. Great year for plums and apricots in terms of quantity, but very ordinary in quality. Pears and apples seem happier. Of course, I'm working with an extremely limited sample!

Good luck,

M


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Marknut, you make Liberty sound like a complex apple. To me it lacks bouquet or any quality that would make it distinctive. It's just a nice sweet-tart apple that bears extremely reliably and produces beautiful fruit.

As I write this I'm eating waffles with microwaved Ashmead Kernel slices, blueberries and pieces of Sunflower paw paw. The AK slices stand out with an intensity Liberty could not even come close to.

Maybe my palate isn't sensitive enough to register Liberty's finer qualities. As I've said before, I wish Liberty was my favorite apple- ugly tree, but so easy to grow once you accept that.

I don't believe in a blind taste test comparing a range of apples with a reputation of exceptional taste that Liberty would end up very high, although I used to hear it did well in tests that I don't know what were the methods.

I would think that it would have had more success as a commercial apple if it was widely perceived as being great tasting. All that matters though is whether the person growing it loves it.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Alan, I suspect that your palate is sensitive enough, and much more sophisticated and experienced than mine; perhaps if I had your range of exposure I'd find Liberty more ordinary too. So I will just say that in my limited experience Liberty stands out among the best. (Hey, I used to love Red Delicious!) I'm also a big fan of Winesaps and Prairie Spy, have had some wonderful Haralsons, Supremes, and home-grown Carousels. It may surprise one that I don't care that much for MacIntosh, which to most people is very similar to Liberty.

These days I'm particularly enjoying my little Gold Spice pears -dynamite in a small package. Not great keepers, so I need to get through them by Christmas, I guess.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Liberty is one of my favorite apples. I got several hundred from 2 trees this year. I have 24 different varieties and of those, the following had fruit this year:

Williams Pride
Honeycrisp
Liberty
Goldrush
Freedom
Enterprise
Mammoth Blacktwig
Swiss Limbertwig
Royal Limbertwig
Hopples Antique Gold
Sops of Wine
Virginia Gold
Stayman Winesap
Jonagold
Granny Smith
Golden Delicious
Keener Seedling
Hewe's Virginia Crab
Terry Winter

Of those, the ones with the most distinctive flavor, in my opinion, are Goldrush, Mammoth Blacktwig, Stayman Winesap, Virginia Gold, Liberty & Honeycrisp, in that order. In terms of the whole package (texture, flavor, size, ease of growing), Liberty is in my top 3. They do seem to vary a bit sometimes in flavor, partly depending on when you pick them. I've had some that were average to good, and I've had some that were absolutely fabulous.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hock, everybody gets a vote and everyone has a different palate. Texture, sugar acid balance, aroma are all going to be interpreted differently by every individual. You are blessed to enjoy Liberty so much because it is such an easy apple to grow and such a good producer.

I have always preferred the denser flesh apples to those in the Mac category and in your region Tom Burford pretty much mirrors my tastes in terms of which he considers world class apples. I was actually pleased when he included Braebern in his list of mostly heirloom apples because I too find a well grown Brae to be an exceptionally good modern apple, along with Pink Lady.

I believe that Liberty may be a better apple when grown under a stronger sun than what I get here in southeastern NY, but to those of us who prefer a denser flesh it could never be a favorite.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

harvestman, I have seen people over the last several years put Liberty in the Macintosh category over and over again over the last several years since I started my orchard. Personally, I couldn't disagree more. I don't really care for Macintosh at all, and other than the shape (occasionally) and the color appearance, I really don't find much between Liberty and Macintosh that I consider to be very similar at all. I'm not sure what the difference is between a Liberty grown in southeast Ohio versus where you are in New York, but down here, Liberty is a pretty dense fleshed apple. Not on the order of a Goldrush, certainly, but moreso than, say, a Honeycrisp. I have been told that Honeycrisp are much better when grown in a colder climate than here, so I assume there is some possibility for difference between almost any variety of apple when grown in different localities. I have heard that Yates is a great apple when grown in the South, but when grown here in my part of Ohio, they aren't any good at all, in my opinion.

One apple I grow that I DO consider to be very similar to Macintosh is Freedom, another "disease-resistant" cultivar. They tend to be a little bigger in size than Macintosh, but they are very similar in shape, appearance and texture, at least when grown here. I find Freedom to be altogether an inferior apple to Liberty, from the growing habit of the tree to the flavor/texture/keeping qualities of the apple.

What are some of the apples you consider to be "dense-fleshed"?

I hadn't heard of Tom Burford but I did a search and found a list of his top 20 favorite desert apples. I'm sorry to say that I haven't had the good fortune to try any of those varieties, unless Stayman Winesap is the same as the Winesap in his list.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

I put in 4 liberty in 2006 and was less than impressed. Easy to grow, low spray, even the deer didn't hit them hard. Voles didn't scratch the bark but they did not size up well or taste good. This year I didn't bother to cut one or taste it till last sunday when a visitor said wow can I have 2 bags of these. I thought " whatever" and went to pick them for her. Now I know the wow. I know why they were better this year. Every time I mowed the orchard this summer while mowing arround them I thought about what to replace them with. Trees read minds. Before someone thinks I am more wacko then is true , that is a joke. Do trees , like women and wine get better with age?


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hock, relax, there's nothing wrong with your Lib love, but it was bred to be a Mac type by Cornell so it could replace it. Mac is an excellent apple as grown up here but is not something you can experience in a VA orchard. Lib just happens to take the extra heat very well and I'm guessing is improved by it.

I consider Mac to be much more distinctive than Lib because of its high aromatics and unique crunch. Of course. after a couple of weeks off the tree it deteriates quickly- even in controlled storage.

When I started my nursery many years ago, Liberty and Williams Pride were my main apples. In 20+ years I've never had a customer who chose Lib as their favorite apple and at most sites where there's a wide choice they completely go to waste. That's another reason why I think they are not that broadly appealing (as grown here). I once tended an estate orchard with 60 Liberty trees and they picked them at their peak and were completely beautiful but they still couldn't give them away. I grafted most of them over to different varieties.

Dense flesh varieties? Goldrush, Ark Black, Swaar, Winesap, Pink Lady, Braebern, Ashmead's Kernel, Cox, etc.
Definitely not liberty. An apple can be crisp but light and such apples will weigh less in ratio to their volume compared to those with dense flesh.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Liberty apples definitely get better with age. I picked mine in SE PA the middle of September. We are getting out a few now in the middle-end of October. Now they are good. Then they were quite tart.
Ted


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RE: Liberty apples?

I should have mentioned Abemarle Pippin in my list although up here it's called Newtown. It's about my favorite tasting sweet apple.

Freedom is not at all like the Macs we grow here- more like Red Delicious. Mac has a completely different texture and is much more tart.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

From the last several comments I'm wondering if Liberty really is a better apple when grown further south, just like Honeycrisp is supposedly much better when grown further north.

hman, I've eaten a few of the ones you mentioned at the end of your post, but not all. As grown around here, Pink Lady and Goldrush are definitely more dense fleshed than Liberty. Haven't had enough Braeburn grown in this area to know about that one. I grow Stayman Winesap and wouldn't call it any more dense fleshed than Liberty, again, as grown around here. Stayman is by far one of my favorite apples, by the way. Just love the distinctive flavor.

I'm going to take my family for a vacation to New England at some point in the next few years. I'll try to do it in October when I can sample some apples grown up there. I'll look forward to trying a Macintosh that is as good as you describe.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Stayman is not like Winesap although it often includes that name. I like Stayman also- it's another really dependable apple- even in sites with limited sun it bears reliably.

Tom Burford always emphasises "old strain" Stayman. I'm not sure how the newer strains compare.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

The Stayman vs. Winesap question has puzzled me; I've seen claims that the original Stayman Winesap is a progenitor to the modern Winesap apple, which is said to be larger.

I have a graft of something called Winesap but don't know what it really is. Either SW or W probably needs a longer growing season than we are likely to have. Mine have colored up but aren't ripe yet.

But I have bought apples sold as Winesap that had to be the best ever.

M


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Last week I drove out to an orchard in SE NY and bought some "Winesap" apples which were very good. They were very flavorful with a big kick to them. I've done PYO "Winesap" and "Stayman Winesap" at a couple different orchards before (previous years), but the Winesaps I picked have never been this good. The apples are a dark red from all 3 sources, so I had assumed that they were ripe. I think the PYO were earlier in October, so they may not have been quite as ripe. None of the PYO batches were particularly sweet, but they usually had some interesting flavor- nothing like the strong kick from this year's apples. They were also quite juicy- at least a couple had small cracks, which I just cut around. Next time I get out that way, I'll see if the orchardist knows the exact variety.

The Blacktwig were also excellent- slightly sweeter, with strong flavor.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

There are no negative aspects to the taste of my Liberty apples, so it's probably a matter of personal taste. Liberty apples don't keep well at all though, which is a fatal flaw in my book.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

fruithack, what part of the U.S. are you growing Liberty in? I have never done any real long term storage tests on Liberty, but this morning I ate one that has been in a freshness bag for about 6 weeks in my fridge and it still had the texture and taste of ones that I ate 6 weeks ago within a day or two of picking them.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

hockingapple - what do you mean by a "freshness bag?"


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

ltilton, the ones I use are called "Forever Bags". I get them from Menard's. I've heard some people say they cause veggies to mold, but I haven't experienced that with apples. They definitely seem to keep apples from shriveling/drying out over a period of several months in the fridge. I put a few wadded up paper towels in the bag before I seal it to absorb any excess amount of moisture build-up.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Have you compared results with a regular plastic bag?


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

If you mean something like a gallon ziploc bag, the answer is no. The Forever Bags weren't any more expensive than gallon Ziploc's if I remember correctly. They're shaped quite a bit different than ziploc's, and because of that my guess is they can fit more apples in the same "size" bag than a ziploc can.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Any plastic bag. What I'm wondering isn't whether you got ripped off but whether the technology works. I've heard mixed revues.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

No, I haven't tried any other type of plastic bags. I can tell you for sure that they stay fresh longer in these bags than they do just in the crisper drawer over a period of time. I've got an old refrigerator in my basement that is just for storing apples, and there are only two crisper drawers, so I use the bags so that I can store apples all throughout that fridge.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hockingapple, I'm in z7 California. All I can tell you is that when I stored Liberty, Mutsu, and Fuji together in a 33 degree cold storage, Liberty was horribly mealy after about two months, and the other two were fine. Adams County Nursery rates Liberty lower as a keeper, I think 5 out of 10.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

I my area the Liberty trees always produce and we love them for that! We've done taste tests for years and Libs usually rate higher than Macs. I personally love an Arkansas Black after a few months in the frig!


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

I ran across this old thread when trying to figure out what was going on with Liberty apples. I had purchased some from a fruit vendor to try. The one I bought were clearly labeled LIberty but they looked like mini red delicious. HIgh shoulders, square bottom with strong bumps to sit on. Basically a tall slender apple. Color was deep red all over. Yet every pic I've seen shows a very round apple with some creamy yellow and reddish areas around parts. Flavor was not tart enuf for my taste, but far better than what is sold as sweet apples. Texture was crisp enough, but not dense.

I read thru all the above posts and it sounds like many people have very different apples. Is it possible for an apple to be extremely diff in shape and color in diff climates? Or is is more likely that somehow some vendor had a mislabeled batch of trees that made it into circulation?

Pam in cinti


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

If you grow an apple long enough you can find out how it probably grows over a wide range of climates- I've had CA type droughty summers hear and English summers of excessive rain and cool temps and plenty in between since I began growing Liberty 25 years ago in southeastern NY. Never seen a single one shaped like Red D. Every apple on every tree, every season was round.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Thank you so much Hman. I suspected something was off. I got the apples at a well known local fruit and veggie store in the organic dept. As I said before they were ok but not all I was hoping for. And they were like perfect mini red delicious apples. I just came back in from checking my tree and found I have blossoms for the first time. I might might might have an apple this year so I can see for myself what my tree will produce.

Finally, finally, it seems to be spring.

Pam in cinti


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

I currently grow Liberty, Jonalicious, Priscilla, Goldrush, and Wickson. Have grown many more, but have given the others away. Pressed for space and only keep the best in my yard. Lost my Hawkeye earlier this year to disease, but I had to prune it and move due to space. Never had problem with it till prune and move.

My first two years with Liberty were grown in pots. The potted fruit did resemble your description. I used to move the pot every week so the sun side would change. Fruit were red all over and did resemble Red Delicious. Since putting in ground, they have a red blush but mottled. They are still my sweetest apple and crunchy, with mild acid. My wife and I love them.

From descriptions from the northern growers, I believe Liberty is better suited to the south. It loves the heat and humidity, and is really apple candy down here. I now have 5 Libertys. That's how good it is down here.

My Wickson is nothing special here. I had three and now only keep one for pollination of my Goldrush. Notherners and Westerners rave about Wickson, but here it is at the bottom of my list.

Similar results with Hawkeye. Northern forum members have not raved about it. Down here Hawkeye is the perfect tasting apple. Should be a picture of it in the dictionary when you look up apple, it is that good down here. If I find some room, I will purchase another. It is not too sweet, not too much acid, but you would be hard pressed to find a better tasting apple. Perfect sweet/tart/flavor/crunch.......among the best I have tasted.

Also, all my apples are on dwarf rootstock. Can't use the "M" rootstocks in my yard.....lose all "M" to canker. Have to use the "G" and Bud rootstocks.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hi Kingwood.

thanks for the Liberty input. I'm guessing you have much hotter weather than I do here. I also prefer specific G rootstock as there seems to be a lot of Wooly Apple Aphids here. Since I sincerely love Granny Smith I just bought some
rootstock from Raintree in order to graft any of my faves over to help them thrive.

I'll have to check locally for Hawkeye as that apple sounds perfect to me. Too sweet isn't worth eating to me. Any specific diseases that it is prone to that have bothered you?

BTW I want to give feedback about Raintree. Somehow the label on my pkg was damaged and the poor pkg was routed to be relabeled somewhere. It honestly took about 26 days before that pkg hit my doorstep. Rootstock was so well pkgd that it was still damp and healthy, and sprouted almost immediately upon planting.

also reporting that the rootstock and trees I received from Cummins nursery were also excellent stock that sprouted immediately. Bare root trees, but roots were far bigger than those of trees purchased from Starks. To be fair all but one of the Stark trees have started growing, but they took far longer to sprout and are growing much more slowly.

Hope this helps someone.

Pam in cinti


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hawkeye is the original Red Delicious and does not at all match King's description as grown in southeastern NY. Some dry and hot years here it's a pretty good but never a keeper. Not much acid, OK texture, crisp but not crunchy. Never would have become the nations top apple if it was only grown here. The people who like it are ones who go for sweet only. Not saying it isn't something great as grown in Houston.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Hman, again, many thanks. I might have wasted several years before learning that fact on my own. I've already figured out that tastebuds are very diff between folks which can cause a lot of confusion on taste descriptions, now I've learned clearly that growth location is just as variable. All those taste descriptions that vary so much from nursery to nursery makes a lot more sense now.

Pam in cinti


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

I'm glad this thread was revived. Very interesting info and observations. I put in several apple varieites over the last few months, including two Liberty trees. I did a lot of research on all the varieties, and, based on this thread, it looks like Liberty should do well in my climate. My other varieties are listed in my profile info.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this tread - it's been a great read.


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Rob, just checked your page. Nice variety of good stuff. Maybe next year we could try a scion exchange? I'd email you directly but I'm not sure now. I still have a few scions left from my first adventure with grafting, but it's prob too hot to ship now.

Pam in cinti


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Pam, I think I've enabled the option where you can send me an email. Just click on my profile and it's up at the top. I've also updated my plant list to include my grapes, muscadines, pomegranate and satsuma.

This post was edited by RobThomas on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 14:11


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RE: How about your Liberty apples?

Greetings all. Sounds like my 3rd leaf Lib might do well here, high heat and a lot of sun. My wife tells me I have a very discriminating palate, will let you know what I think of Lib here in north central KS.

Precocious little bugger, it tried to hang a dozen fruit last year but they got removed.


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