White Winter Pearmain

Why you should be excited

White Winter Pearmain is an old U.S. apple of unknown origins and very nice eating quality.

The story of White Winter Pearmain

As with many old apple varieties, there are several quite different stories that purport to explain how and where this apple originated.When I chatted with Helen Humphreys, author of The Ghost Orchard, about this, she was firm in her belief that the story she researched is accurate. We just don't know, but the story we found more widespread was quite different from Ms. Humphreys'.

This alternative story is that this apple arrived in Indiana back in the day, as a young graft stuffed into a saddlebag along with several others.

Anyone who has grafted multiple varieties at the same time will identify with what happened next: this tree and another somehow lost their labels. Mystery varieties, they became.

Since there was no way to be sure what varieties they were, one was referred to as Red Winter Pearmain and the other as White Winter Pearmain.

The red was eventually identified as Esopus Spitzenberg; the white was never identified as a known variety. So White Winter Pearmain it is, a very nice yellow fresh-eating apple that gained a fair bit of 19th century popularity in the United States.

Maybe that's the story. Of maybe Ms. Humphreys' version. Or maybe something else again.The one point on which pretty much everyone agrees is that this is a high quality fresh-eating apple.

White Winter Pearmain Facts

Its origins

Unknown origins, likely in the eastern United States. Became widely planted by the mid-19th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The yellowish flesh is tender, crisp, juicy, fine-grained and aromatic, with a flavour ranging from subacid to sweet.


Medium-sized or larger and conical in shape, pale yellow-skinned with a blush.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in late October).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Keeping ability

Good (about 2 months when kept refrigerated).