Why you should be excited

Nonpareil is an extremely old variety from France that apparently made its way to England in the 1500s.

The story of Nonpareil

Given that folks didn't keep super-close track of such things 500-plus years ago, it's difficult to say how old some of the most longstanding apple varieties really are.

Take Nonpareil, for example. Brought from France to England during the 16th century, we just don't know how many years -- decades?... centuries? -- before then it actually first came onto the scene.

Suffice to say, this is a heck of an old variety. So old it's thought to be the parent of another old-timer, England's legendary Ashmead's Kernel. It's also famous for a flavour that's particularly popular in the UK: that of pear-drops.

This is the kind of apple that really appeals to history buffs.

Nonpareil Facts

Its origins

Unknown origins, likely in France, a very long time ago. Brought to England during the 16th century and recorded in 1696.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The firm, cream-coloured flesh is notable for its powerful flavour and balance of strong acidity and great sweetness.


The yellow-green apples, often russeted, grow on attractive trees.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in late October).

Quality for fresh eating

Very good.

Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

Not particularly known for its use in cider, but classic heritage varieties like this one bring a lot of positives to cider blends.

Keeping ability

Very good (4 or 5 months when kept refrigerated).