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Hewes (crab)

Why you should be excited

Hewes is a crab-apple, also known as Virginia Crab, that's got an excellent reputation as a component of cider blends.

The story of Hewes

This is one of the varieties that's experiencing a boost in interest as enthusiasm for real cider grows in North America. That's because of the excellent quality of Hewes' juice in ciders and its heritage as one of the cornerstones of old-style cider in the U.S. south back in the day.

Apparently a cross between a native North American crab-apple and a European apple, Hewes was widely planted through the 18th and 19th centuries and was considered one of the most valuable cider varieties.

Despite the huge setback caused by prohibition, starting in 1919, many Hewes trees remained growing in private orchards, just waiting for the day that cider would rise again.

It was a long time in coming, but as cider increases in prominence again, more and more Hewes trees are being planted. And that's a good thing.

Hewes Facts

Its origins

Discovered in Virginia, USA, early 18th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Produces a high-quality sweet, acidic and astringent juice.

Appearance

Small, round crab-apples are flushed with pale red or orange.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in late September).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking

Very good in jellies.

Quality for cider

Excellent in cider blends.

Keeping ability

So-so (1 to 2 months when kept refrigerated).