Why you should be excited

Antonovka is a legendary Russian apple variety that can do many interesting things. Starting with being a tasty apple.

The story of Antonovka

This is the classic Russian apple, a couple of centuries old, yet still revered as much as ever by Russians at home and all over the world.

The epitome of multi-purpose, Antonovka is a tart fresh eating apple when it's first ripe, a more complex eating apple given a bit of time in storage and a popular baking apple throughout.

Plus, most exciting for some of us, the root of this variety - when grown from seed - is a popular winter-hardy rootstock for grafting full-sized apple trees with an amazingly deep taproot. It is, therefore, both remarkably stable and drought-tolerant. Huge bonus for growers in a region like ours, where growing season irrigation water is oh-so precious.

On top of all that, Antonovka also happens to be a rare apple variety indeed: it grows very close to true from seed, which means a planted seed from an Antonovka apple will almost always produce a tree very similar to its mother, not a radically different, unpredictable hybrid. Which is what you get when you plant a seed of virtually every other apple variety in existence.

Antonovka Facts

Its origins

Discovered near Kursk, Russia; first recorded in 1826.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Refreshing, juicy, perfumed, tart, crisp, pure white flesh, which mellows over time in storage.


A fairly large, bright greenish-yellow apple, often with some russet.

When they’re available

Early season (usually in early September).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking

Good. Breaks down when cooked.

Quality for cider

Not particularly known for use in cider, but could be useful in contributing some acid to blends.

Keeping ability

Good (3 months when kept refrigerated).