Growing cider apples is very similar to growing other apples except that because the apples are being to be pressed, and never reach the consumer in their “whole form”, the producer does not have to worry about superficial appearances. Attention can be brought to bear instead upon the health and flavour of the apples.
Good cider apples need to contain a bit of tannin. Apples with good tannin in Europe include Brown’s Apple, Yarlington Mills, Tremblett’s Bitter, Stoke Red and Gottingen. In North America, the list includes Virginia Crab, Geneva Crab, Cortland, and also Golden Russet.
While eating and cooking apples have gone in and out of fashion over the years, and producers are always striving to produce new ones in those categories to tempt fickle consumers, cider apple varieties are treasured as grape varieties are.
From 1600 to the mid 1800s, almost two-thirds of the Island of Jersey was covered in orchards of cider apples. After the 1850s, most of the orchards were chopped down and replaced by the newer crops of potatoes and tomatoes.