What Is a Pippin?
A pippin is a type of apple that dates back to colonial times in the United States. There are many varieties of pippin apples and they are used today primarily in cider and as a cooking apple. One kind of pippin, the Newtown pippin, was a popular apple and favored by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Here is a look at some different types of pippin apples.
The Newtown Pippin holds the distinction of being the oldest commercially grown apple native to the U.S. The entire variety came from seeds from Newtown, Long Island. The apple was so wildly popular at the time that the original tree finally died because so many scions were taken from it. Scions are shoots on a tree that are used to graft onto seedlings to create a new tree. At one time, the Newtown Pippin apple was used everywhere in pies and other desserts. It is a sweet apple and ripens by October, turning a pale green-yellow color.
The Saint Edmund's Pippin apple originated in England sometime around 1870. It is a smallish apple, especially when the tree is not thinned out. The skin of this Pippin is golden with patches of light brown. The flesh is sweet and although it makes a fine pie filling, it is often used to produce apple cider. It ripens by September but does not store well, which is probably why it was utilized for cider.
Albemarle County in Virginia gave the Albemarle Pippin its name in the 1700s. These apples were direct descendants of the Newtown Pippens and the trees grew very well in the rich soil of the Virginia foothills. They are juicy and crisp and have been called the best dessert apples America ever grew. They were so tasty that when an American dignitary gave some as a present to England's Queen Victoria in 1838, the English began to import them in great numbers.
Another English Pippen is the Ribston Pippin, which dates to 1700. It is yellow-orange and has red streaks with brown at both ends. The firm flesh is yellow and very sweet. It has a high Vitamin C content for an apple. Another Pippen that comes from England around the same time as the Ribston is the Wyken Pippen, a greenish-yellow fruit that has white flesh inside and is very tender.
One of the larger Pippiin types is the Green Pippen, which when ripe is actually yellow. The Bishop Pippen has large flowers and is one of the most tart of the Pippens. The Cox Orange Pippen is a red-orange apple variety that tastes even better if it is allowed to ripen after being picked. Like most pippens, it makes an excellent pie.