Ross Nonpareil

Why you should be excited

Ross Nonpareil is a really old English variety (well, initially French) remarkable for its pear-drop flavour.

The story of Ross Nonpareil

We talk a lot about old apple varieties, but rarely one as old as Ross Nonpareil, an apple that goes back we don’t know quite how long. But really long, for sure.

We do know this variety made its way from France to England sometime in the 16th century and became highly popular there, largely due to its famed aromatic, pear-drop flavour –- a flavour that’s unusual and highly popular in the United Kingdom.

Not a particularly beautiful apple by today’s standards –- what with its dull colouring and lots of russet – Ross Nonpareil is very much appreciated for that distinctive flavour, which is reminiscent of one of its likely descendants: Ashmead’s Kernel.

Ross Nonpareil Facts

Its origins

Discovered in France, undetermined date. Brought to England in the 16th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Highly aromatic, with a unique sweet, pear-drop flavour.


Small to medium-sized with dull colouring and heavy russeting.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in late October).

Quality for fresh eating

Very good. Also good for juice.

Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Keeping ability

Good (3 months or more when kept refrigerated).