Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Low Chill Apples

It's fall and I'm craving apple cider. And spiced donuts, because spiced donuts are a must with apple cider. Then my cyber-friend Kris had to post about her homegrown apples and cider. I'm so jealous.

It's not looking like I'll get a trip to the mountains this fall. It's just too hard to get away with all that's going on here. And we are more known for our peaches and pecans in this part of the country. Local apples are unheard of.

We had a very mild winter followed by a late frost, so we lost all of our peach, apple, and pear blossoms. But last year- last year I had glorious apples. In June. That's the thing with southern apples, they come early. Like before the peaches early.

Apples (along with various other fruit trees such as apricots, plums, and nectarines) have a winter chill requirement. That's the number of hours below about 45 degrees between November and February. That means that here in central Georgia, I can't just grab any old apple tree and throw it in the dirt. A Gala, for example, is going to require about 600 chill hours. That's just not going to happen here.

Here are a few varieties with low chill requirements for warm climates:

Anna-  Chill hours 200-300. Developed in Israel, Anna is a light green apple with a red blush, crisp flesh, and a nice tartness. Requires a pollinator.

Ein Shemer- Also developed in Israel, this apple has a slightly higher chill requirement of 350 hours. This is a Golden Delicious type apple with a nice tart flavor. Self pollinating.  This is the variety I have. I will note that it took my tree about 8 years to bear.

Dorsett Golden- Requires only 250 chill hours. This is a great choice as a pollinator for Anna. This apple has yellowish skin and a firm, crisp flesh. Requires a pollinator.

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