James Grieve

james grieve apple

Why James Grieve Apples?:

A versatile cooking apple, excellent for juice, and widely used in breeding programmes.

The History:

James Grieve is a justifiably popular dual-purpose apple variety, raised in Scotland at the end of the 19th century, the height of the Victorian period of apple development in the UK. James Grieve is a mid-season variety that is picked in early-mid September. At this stage it is pleasantly acidic and refreshing and if it is too sharp for eating it can be used for cooking (cut it into small chunks, it keeps its shape when cooked). After a few weeks the flavour sweetens and becomes quite mild, and it is then an excellent apple to eat in slices along with a cheese course. The flesh is soft, somewhat like a firm pear in texture.

James Grieve has been used as the basis of a number of newer varieties, some of which have become successful as garden apple trees or in small-scale commercial plantings. One reason why you might want to use James Greave in a new variety breeding programme is that it invariably passes on its inherent acidity, which can be an excellent way to stiffen the flavour of a new variety whose other parentage is sweet or bland.

Another important James Grieve characteristic is its juiciness – bite into one and the flesh glistens with juice. This makes it a great apple variety if you want to make your own apple juice.

Interestingly the parentage of James Grieve itself has not been fully established. Cox’s Orange Pippin is a possible candidate, as it was a popular apple for amateur breeders at the time (as it still is). James Greave has a very similar shape, which is a good indication, but it appears to have none of the aromatic sweetness of Cox. This is not necessarily a reason to reject Cox as a parent, since we do not know the other parent, and Ribston Pippin (the likely parent of Cox) has a robust flavour which is not dissimilar to James Grieve. The other possible candidate is Pott’s Seedling, a popular commercial cooking apple of the period.

Ways to Use Them:

Good for cooking,juice and hard cider.