John Downie (crab)
Why you should be excited
John Downie is an English crab-apple best known for making excellent crab-apple jelly.
The story of John Downie
Perhaps the best-known of crab-apples in the United Kingdom, John Downie brings several positives that set it apart from the non-crabs that dominate the U.K. apple scene.
First, it’s self-fertile, so doesn’t need a nearby tree of a different variety.
Second, it contributes excellent pollen to help other varieties get the pollen they need.
Third, it’s highly productive, with loads of smallish crab-apples of bright orange or red colouring.
And, finally, that fruit makes for excellent jelly.
John Downie can also contribute positively to cider, providing an orange-tinged juice packed with good levels of sugar and acid.
John Downie Facts
Discovered in England.
Flavour, aroma, texture
The small fruit deliver a sweet-tart flavour jolt to jelly.
Small-plum-like crab-apples are orange mostly covered by red.
When they’re available
Mid-season (usually in September).
Quality for fresh eating
Good, although mostly used for jelly.
Quality for cooking
Excellent in jelly.
Quality for cider
Good. Makes an orange-tinged juice.
Good (about 2 months when kept refrigerated).