The Newtown Pippin apple tree is one of the oldest apple trees in the United States. With its tartness and complex flavor, this apple is interesting to home growers because it’s known to be an excellent keeping apple. In fact, Newtown Pippin apples are unappetizing when eaten straight off of the tree. These apples need to be stored for one to two months to fully develop in flavor and sweetness.
The Newtown Pippin apple is an heirloom apple that is popular among hard cider enthusiasts, who cite this apple as one of the best for making this popular beverage.
Let’s dive in and learn all about this versatile heirloom apple.
History of the Newtown Pippin Apple
Also known as the Albemarle Pippin, the Newtown Pippin apple originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Most fruit historians believe that this popular early apple was likely raised by early settlers as a seedling on Long Island.
The Newtown Pippin apple was introduced from the U.S. to England sometime around 1750. The name comes from a tree that was grown from seed on Greshom Moore’s estate in Newtown, Long Island around that time.
This apple tree is the parent of several other varieties of apple:
- Virginia Gold
- Ginger Gold
- Lamb Abbey Pearmain
Popularity in Victorian England
By the 1800s, the Newtown Pippin apple was an important commercial apple in the U.S. It was used domestically, but merchants and growers also exported the apple to markets in London. We know this because a Victorian author named Hogg commented on the arrival of the apple every January.
Hogg noted that the Newtown Pippin apple tree couldn’t be grown in England because it requires a hot summer and warm autumn. The cooler English climate won’t allow this tree to ripen most years.
Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria
Perhaps not surprisingly, food can be political at times. When Benjamin Franklin brought the Newtown Pippin apple to share with England’s Queen Victoria, she was so delighted with the apple that she waived all tariffs on apples from Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson and the Newtown Pippin Apple in Colonial Times
The Newtown Pippin apple was hugely popular in Victorian England, but it also had some famous fans in the American colonial and revolutionary era, namely George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Specifically, the Newtown Pippin apple is mentioned in the book “The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello,” a book written about the fruit grown at Thomas Jefferson’s storied estate. In a letter from Paris, Jefferson wrote, “They have no apples here to compare with our Newtown Pippin.”
Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics
Newtown Pippin apples are medium in size and can be either flat or oblong with ribbing. This isn’t a pretty apple, but what it lacks in outward beauty, it makes up in taste and versatility.
The skin of the Newtown Pippin apple is green to yellow. Sometimes the skin is russeted and has white dots.
The flesh of this apple is tinged with green or yellowish with a firm, crisp texture that’s moderately fine-grained. After a few months in cold storage, these apples develop a rich flavor and full sugar.
Newtown Pippin apples are aromatic and have a delightful piney tartness that is quite refreshing. We’ve sometimes seen these apples described as tangerine scented.
The Newtown Pippin apple tree bears fruit about two to four years after planting. These apples are winter apples and are picked late in the season around October.
Two Varieties of Newtown Pippin Apples? The Debate Continues
In the 1800s, growers and enthusiasts noted that there seemed to be two variants of the Newtown Pippin: one green and one yellow. A debate ensued that still goes on to this day. Some people believe there are two distinct types of this apple, while others insist that there is only the green variety that can sometimes flush yellow in parts of the fruit.
Moreover, the two variants are not easy to distinguish from each other because they both have a yellowish-green color. It seems to depend on where the Newtown Pippin apple tree is grown and how much exposure the tree has had to sunlight.
Experts believe that the green Newtown Pippin apple is the original and the yellow variant is the sport.
The Newtown Pippin apple tree grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-10. The trees grow beautifully in locations with warm summers.
For more information on growing this tree, visit our article about “How to Grow the Newtown Pippin Apple Tree.”
Size and Spacing
Newtown Pippin apple trees will grow to be between 12-16 feet tall, so they make amazing landscape trees.
We recommend planting these trees 12-16 feet apart to allow them plenty of room to grow and spread.
If you want to use your Newtown Pippin apple trees as an accent tree in hedgerows, space them about five feet apart. This will allow you to create solid screens for coverage. Measure your trees from the center of one tree to the center of the neighboring trees.
Newtown Pippin apple trees are self-fertile. However, these trees are also great for pollinating other apple trees.
Apple trees will tolerate wet soil, but it needs to be soil that drains quickly.
For best results, plant your apple trees in full sun locations so that they can receive sun in the early mornings. The early morning sun is the drying sun and when your apple trees get sunlight at this time, they will stay healthier.
From May through September, your Newtown Pippin apple tree will need between 12-15 gallons of water every week.
Providing your tree with mulch will help to cool the root system and reduce surface evaporation. Doing this will allow you to water less frequently.
Spread your mulch in a layer that is three to four inches deep. Spread it out about three feet from the outer edges of the canopy.
You can prune your Newtown Pippin apple tree in the summer to maintain eight to ten feet. This will work to control your tree’s overall height and spread.
Like all apple trees, Newtown Pippin apple trees need lots of air circulation. Pruning will help to keep your tree’s canopy open to allow for better sun penetration and improved airflow.
To learn more about pruning this tree, read “Pruning The Newtown Pippin Apple Tree” on our website.
Diseases & Care
Overall, the Newtown Pippin apple tree is disease-resistant. Nevertheless, this tree is susceptible to most of the diseases that plague apples. For one thing, it has a tendency to be a biennial-bearer if the grower allows it to over-crop. However, the tree’s natural vigor helps it to overcome these challenges.
For more information, read our guide to “Newtown Pippin Apple Tree Diseases and Care.”
Common Uses For the Newtown Pippin Apple
Although the Newtown Pippin apple is a diverse apple and was originally grown as a popular dessert apple, these delicious apples are now grown primarily for apple cider.
In New York, Newtown Pippin apples are grown commercially and most of them are used to make Martinelli’s sparkling cider beverages.
In 2014, this apple got a lot of attention for its potential to make hard cider. The Newtown Pippin apple is also prized for making tarts and pies.
What Do Newtown Pippin Apples Taste Like?
While Newtown Pippin apples sometimes have a slight tangerine aroma, when it comes to taste, some fans of this fruit say that it has notes of pineapple.
These apples have a superb flavor with a balance between acidic and sweet.
Newtown Pippin apples retain some of their shape when cooked, and if you puree these apples, the result is a textured puree with a rich flavor. As a culinary apple, the Newtown Pippin is excellent.
These apples pair beautifully with spices traditionally used with apples, including nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey.
Another suggestion we like is to try mixing your Newtown Pippin apples with tart green apples to enhance your cobblers and pies.
As we’ve noted, Newtown Pippin apples aren’t tasty right off the tree. You need to store them in cold storage for up to two months to enjoy raw eating. These apples are ideal for enjoying as a snacking apple.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
One of the things that make the Newtown Pippin apple so popular is that it’s an excellent keeping apple. You can also store these apples for three to six months.
If you want to preserve your Newtown Pippin apples, you’re going to be delighted to know that there are scores of ways to can, freeze, and dry your apples. This excellent guide from the University of Illinois Extension can explain how best to preserve apples.
Recipes for Newtown Pippin Apples
On our website, we have tons of delicious recipes that you can make to use your Newtown Pippin apple harvest. For example, you can make Easy and Delicious Apple Chicken Salad, Apple Butter, Old Fashioned Apple Crisp, and of course, you can make your favorite apple pie or cobbler.
Here are some more great recipes from the Minneopa Apple Orchards website.
- Homemade Apple Fritters
- Apple Waffles
- Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney
- Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Applesauce Cookies
- Perfect Apple Dumplings
And our favorite: Apple Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel.
Slow Cooker Newtown Pippin Apple Cider
Newtown Pippin apples are one of the most popular apple varieties for making apple cider. We found a slow cooker recipe at Gimme Some Oven that looks delicious and easy to make. You need the following ingredients:
- Plenty of ripened Newtown Pippin apples
- Warming spices such as whole cloves and cinnamon sticks
- Your choice of sweetener
- Fresh oranges (optional)
Your sweetener could be brown sugar, maple syrup, or even honey. To enhance your cider and make it super special, you can also add some fresh oranges to give it a tangy citrus flavor.
Health Benefits of the Newtown Pippin Apple
In terms of nutrition, the Newtown Pippin apple, like all apples, packs a powerful nutritional punch. A medium-sized apple has about 100 calories and contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
Perhaps the most important nutrient in apples is fiber. An apple contains about 4 grams of fiber, which is about 17% of the recommended daily intake for most people. In addition to the fiber in apples, you can also enjoy these nutrients if you eat an apple a day.
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
Apples also provide the following nutrients.
- Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6
In terms of specific health benefits of apples, they have been known to help with the following issues.
- Weight loss
- Heart health
- Lowered diabetes risk
- Promotion of good gut bacteria
- May help prevent cancer
- Asthma and inflammation relief
- Bone health
- Brain health
For more information on the many benefits of this fruit, read “Health Benefits of the Newtown Pippin Apple.”
Where To Buy Newtown Pippin Apple Trees?
When you’re ready to grow your own Newtown Pippin apple trees, you can buy them online at Nature Hills Nursery.
The company says that these apple trees are in limited supply, so be sure to order your Newtown Pippin apple trees early.
Where To Buy the Fruit
In some states, you can still buy Newtown Pippin apples at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Keep your eye out when you’re traveling in the Pacific Northwest, California, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and some areas in the Eastern part of the U.S.
Wrapping up the Newtown Pippin Apple
Whether you are planning your apple orchard or just wanting to grow a nice shade tree that also produces heirloom apples, you can’t go wrong with the Newtown Pippin apple tree. With these apples in your pantry, you’ll be in the good company of centuries of people who have loved Newtown Pippin apples.
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