Doctor Harvey

Why you should be excited

Doctor Harvey is a very old cooking apple variety with a distinctive taste once revered by English cooks.

The story of Doctor Harvey

If you lived in England anytime from the 17th through the mid-20th centuries and liked to bake, there’s a good chance you knew – and liked – Doctor Harvey.

Named for a university master who – around 1630 – bequeathed money for road improvements between Cambridge and London, this is a classic British cooker, reducing to a puree that’s mildly tart and packed with apple flavour. None of that ‘firm pieces of apple’ stuff that North Americans have traditionally sought in their cooking apples.

Widely available in English shops for about 300 years, Doctor Harvey has largely disappeared in the past half century.

Doctor Harvey Facts

Its origins

Uncertain, but likely discovered in East Anglia, England, sometime before 1629.

Flavour, aroma, texture

This cooking apple becomes a tasty, sweet puree with a gentle acidity.


The pale green or gold background skin colour of this large apple is usually partly covered with a pinky-brown flush.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in mid-September).

Quality for fresh eating

Mainly used for cooking.

Quality for cooking


Quality for cooking

Not particualrly known for use in cider, althugh its acidity could be a useful addition to cider blends.

Keeping ability

Good (2 to 3 months when kept refrigerated).