Why you should be excited

Major is an old English bittersweet cider apple that's productive and makes a quality 'vintage' cider.

The story of Major

Not particularly well-known in North America, this old English cider variety is 'major' in name only.

It's a full bittersweet that produces juice considered to be of 'vintage' quality for cidermaking, which means it's well-enough balanced to make a decent cider on its own, even though you'd be wise to blend it (as with virtually all other vintage cider apples) with other varieties in your cider blend to make for an even better balanced and higher quality cider.

While relatively unknown of this side of the Atlantic, Major has strengths in addition to its vintage designation: productive trees that are vigorous and inclined to make a nice central leader, giving the tree a good -- and productive -- shape.

This perhaps should be a more 'major' player in cider.

Major Facts

Its origins

Discovered in Devon, England, in the 1880s.

Flavour, aroma, texture

This bittersweet cider apple makes a soft cider of good quality.


Smallish apples are green with light red striping.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in September).

Quality for fresh eating

Used in cider only.

Quality for cooking

Don't cook it; ferment it!

Quality for cider

Very good. As you night expect from a bittersweet traditional cider variety from England.

Keeping ability

Limited (a few weeks 'sweating' is fine).