Duchess of Oldenburg

Why you should be excited

Duchess of Oldenburg is an old Russian apple, once quite popular, known more for its beauty than its taste.

The story of Duchess of Oldenburg

Is this a gorgeous apple or what?

Each one looks like a unique abstract painting, its red stripes and mottling creating a pretty pattern over the pale yellow background.

Originating in Russia (where it was known as Borovinka), Duchess of Oldenburg became popular throughout Europe and North America during the 19th century.

It’s still widely planted in Russia and northern Europe.

Granted, the mild flavour of Duchess of Oldenburg doesn’t impress as much as its appearance, but this remains a solid multi-purpose apple that’s nice eaten fresh and appreciated by cooks looking for an apple that will dependably break down into a fluff.

Duchess of Oldenburg Facts

Its origins

Discovered in Russia, early 18th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The soft, cream-coloured flesh is juicy, savoury and quite tart. The flavour is mild.


This big, gorgeous apple has a pale yellow background that is striped and mottled with red.

When they’re available

Very early season (usually in August).

Quality for fresh eating

Fairly good.

Quality for cooking

Good. Breaks down into a fluff.

Quality for cider

While not widely known for use in cider, this varety can contrbute some useful acid to blends and is used by some cideries.

Keeping ability

So-so (about 1 month when kept refrigerated).