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The Ribston Pippin Apple

The Ribston Pippin apple is an 18th century triploid cultivar, an aromatic apple famous for its sweet and sharp juice. There’s a lot to learn about this parent of the best-known modern apple varieties, such as the Cox Orange Pippin.

Are you curious about the origin, qualities, harvest, and use of this Victorian fruit enthusiast favorite apple?

Read on to find out!

Yellow red apples in a basket on a table.

History of Ribston Apples

Botanically classified as the Malus domestica, the Ribston Pippin begins its journey in 18th century Normandy, France. From Normandy, three apple pips were sent to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall, Yorkshire.

The apples were later brought into the United States by Benjamin Vaughan.

A Ribston Pippin apple tree espaliered against a brick wall.
An espaliered Ribston Pippin apple tree.

Characteristics of Ribston Pippin Apples

Physical Characteristics

The Ribston Pippin is not a handsome apple, given its irregularly shaped body and variegated appearance. It has a conical or round structure and is flat at the base with distinct ribbing.

The yellow skin has an orange-red blush with some striping and white and russet lenticels at the base and crown. Inside the fibrous core of the fruit lie dark brown and black seeds.

A yellow apple with orange red blush and striping developing.

Ripening Season

Ribston Pippin trees blossom in spring and have a late-ripening season.

Qualities

This famous variety has dense flesh with an aromatic flavor and juice with a sweet and sharp flavor.

Planting Zones

This French apple variety can easily be grown in USDA zones 4 through 9.

Size and Spacing

This crisp fruit grows to medium to large in size.

The trees grow 4 to 30 feet tall and must be spaced 12 to 16 feet for optimal growth.

Pollination

Since this is a triploid variety, it cannot be used to pollinate other apple trees. They need another compatible apple variety nearby to pollinate them. Fruit tree pollination partners to consider:

Apple blossoms in the spring.

Plant Care

Apple cultivation is easier than you think. Growing Ribston Pippin apples is easy as long as you give it all the TLC it needs.

Sunlight

It’s best to plant this popular apple tree in an area that gets full or partial sunlight. The west or south part of a property are excellent choices unless sunlight is blocked by other trees or structures.

Observe shade patterns across your garden and watch how they change during the day to figure out the best for your tree.

Soil

The soil should be loamy, clay, or sand-like with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7. It should be moist yet well-draining.

Water

A Ribston apple tree should have a regular watering schedule in the first two years. That means deep watering the tree once a week.

With ingrown plants, make sure the water soaks the soil 6 to 7 inches deep. With container-grown plants, allow the water to drain through the holes. Continue this throughout the year.

During the blossoming season from May to September, limit the watering to 12 to 15 gallons per week. Water them early morning or late afternoon. Early morning is preferable if fungus growth is an issue.

A row of apple trees in an orchard.

Fertilizer

Perform a soil test before buying fertilizer. If a nutrient deficiency is detected, purchase a fertilizer that fills the gap. Fertilize trees once every few years and shrubs once a year.

Note that fertilizing with different concentrations of nutrients may result in uneven growth. Note the ingredients in your fertilizer and deploy it at the right time. Consult with local gardening experts to determine the best fertilizer for your soil and apple trees.

Avoid using nitrogen-heavy products near the growing season as this might result in leafy growth.

Pruning

Regular pruning is essential in the first few years. Fully mature trees can be pruned during frost-free periods from mid to late winter. This is crucial to prevent mildew.

Pruning shears cutting a branch from an apple tree.

Disease

While the Ribston is a cold-hardy disease-resistant apple, it is vulnerable to diseases such as:

  • Apple canker
  • Blossom wilt
  • Honey fungus
  • Powdery mildew

Pests

Common pests that attack apples include:

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Codling moth
  • Flat-headed apple-tree borer
  • Fruit tree red spider mite
  • Mussel scale

When to Harvest Ribston Apples?

Harvest season for Ribston apples is in late fall.

Read our complete guide on how long it takes for apple trees to grow and bear fruits!

Yellow and red apples.

Common Uses for Ribston Pippin Apples

These apples are among the best-flavored US apple varieties today. They are versatile apples that can be used in baking, roasting, or sautéing or cooked down to make sauces, preserves, spreads, juices, and ciders.

They are often used as dessert apples in pies, pastries, tarts, muffins, bread, and cakes.

Its aromatic qualities work wonderfully with the following food items:

  • Cabbage
  • Curry
  • Pear
  • Pecans
  • Raisins
  • Rosemary
  • Sharp cheeses
  • Warm spices
Yellow and red apples.

What Does Ribston Apple Taste Like?

A Ribston apple’s taste will remind you of the delightful pear flavor.

How to Store Ribston Pippin Apples?

The Ribston is a fresh eating variety that is best eaten as soon as it’s picked.

This dessert apple variety can be stored for 1 to 2 months before consumption to allow the flavor to develop.

Recipe Ideas

Are you interested in cooking your September harvest?

Here are 18 apple muffin recipes and one for a mouth-watering apple onion tart!

A plate of pancakes topped with spiced apples.
Apple pancakes.

Health Benefits of Ribston Pippin Apples

This beloved late-season dessert apple is a rich source of Vitamins A, B, and C. It contains healthy amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber and antioxidants.

Health benefits include:

  • Better absorption
  • Improved immunity
  • Increased collagen production
  • Maintains cartilage, bones, and teeth
  • Tissue growth and repair
  • Reduces inflammation

Apples are known to be an effective digestive aid.

Where to Buy Ribston Pippin Apple Plants or Seeds?

If you’re interested in buying a Ribston apple plant, Cummins Nursery is a fantastic option for trees for sale. They ship across the country, or you can visit their farm in Ithaca, NY.

Another option is Trees of Antiquity. They ship bareroot plants and trees during the winter dormancy period. Their products come with planting directions to guide you throughout your tree-growing journey.

Where to Buy Ribston Pippin Apples?

Not everyone has the backyard orchard space or gardening skills to grow the Ribston.

Here’s a list of places you can buy Ribston Pippin apples:

You can also check out our list of the best orchards in Rhode Island!

Conclusion

A yellow and red apple in dried hay or grass.

That’s the complete guide on the Victorian’s favorite apple: the Ribston Pippin. It is one of the best-tasting apples out there, perfect for all kinds of desserts and treats.

Are you planning to grow or order this antique apple? Or do you already grow Ribston Pippins in your garden? Let us know in the comments below! To read about other apples, click here for our apple blog posts.