York Imperial

Why you should be excited

York Imperial is a heritage apple that’s still popular in Virginia and Pennsylvania, especially for applesauce.

The story of York Imperial

Imagine for a moment that you’re an elderly Pennsylvania farmer (your name is Mr. Johnson) who is now an invalid. It’s the early 1800s.

You spend your days watching people pass by the farm on the nearby road. One spring, you notice schoolboys regularly stopping during their walk past the front of your farm and digging around under last year’s fallen leaves beneath a seedling apple tree that sprung up by chance some years back.

They’re scavenging for apples that fell last fall. The fruit is still firm and delicious even after a winter on the ground. Mr. Johnson, it would appear you’ve discovered a great new apple variety.

And that’s exactly how York Imperial came to be.

York Imperial Facts

Its origins

Discovered in York, Pennsylvania, USA, early 19th century.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Coarse yellowish flesh has a sweet, honeyed flavour. Considered an excellent fresh-eating apple.


Medium to large in size, the fruit varies in shape. Skin is heavily splashed or striped with two shades of red.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in late October).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking

Good (makes a classic yellow-coloured applesauce).

Keeping ability

Very good (5 months or even longer when kept refrigerated).