The York Imperial Apple Tree Classified As Antique Varieties

An old apple. Yes, you heard that right – sounds fancy, right? York Imperial apples have been around for about 180 years, which is why they are classified as antique and are one of the most popular apple varieties from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

These apples were perfect because keeping food fresh after harvest during those times was quite a challenge. Find out why you want to love the York Imperial Apple and all its history.

Johnson’s Fine Winter Apple (real name), also called York Apple. The tree bears medium to large-sized fruits with a somewhat lopsided appearance.

The color of the skin is dull red. The flesh is firm, dense and juicy – great for baking and making cider. Good preservative, the flavor improves after a month or so in proper storage. The oldest type, York, Pennsylvania, originated in about 1830. Cold hardy. Ripens in October. Required pollinators: Choose another apple variety.

History of York Imperial Apple

The York Imperial Apple was developed by Jonathan Jessup in the 1820s. The first York Imperial apples were developed in York, Pennsylvania when Jessop obtained grafts from other apple trees and crossed them with the ones, he already tended on his Springwood farm.

In the 1850s and onwards, York Imperial apples were widely known and grown commercially and on local farms for their “keep” method; This means that they will be able to sit in casks or store away while still retaining their delicious flavor (a great characteristic for winter apples). After harvest, York Imperial retains its crisp shape until early spring!

York Imperial Apple Features

This funny one-sided apple is famous for its weird shape. The skin is yellow to red-red with some greenish-yellow streaks. The insides provide a crisp texture and a moderately sweet tart flavor within its light cream-colored pulp. These medium to large apples provides a firm, crisp texture that’s perfect for use in many recipes.

The taste

Beneath the hard crust of the York Imperial apple is a dense flesh with a slightly sweet, tart flavor. Because these apples keep for a long time without losing their bite, they get sweeter the longer they are stored, making them the perfect apple for baking.

Cooking with York Imperial Apple


Because of its sweetness, York Imperials are great in all kinds of baked goods, jams, cider, apple butter, and more! This apple pairs well with vanilla and sugar. Turning these apples into a savory dish like ham apple sauce would be a great way to use them!

If you are looking for a snack apple, raw York Imperial apples are great. This is a great apple for dipping and caramelizing, and it makes a delicious crunch.

Health benefits

Apples are one of the most consumed fruits in the world and offer great health benefits to anyone who enjoys their taste. Apples are rich in nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants.

To get all the vitamins, you have to leave the peel. This is where most of the nutrients are. It also helps in losing weight. High in fiber and low in calories, it’s a great snack when trying to shed some pounds. Apples also provide nutrients that can be linked to good heart health.

York Imperial Apple Tree Planting

If you’re looking to grow your own York Imperial apple tree, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Where do you grow

These apples are known to do best in USDA zones 4 through 8. To the south, they are difficult to grow due to the height, so consider some if you want one of these in your yard.

Size and spacing

When buying an apple tree from York Imperial, you usually get a small tree that is two years old and about 4 to 5 feet tall. These semi-dwarf trees grow 6 to 20 feet tall over the years. When planting, it needs 15 to 20 feet more space than any other type of tree.


York Empire apple trees need the help of cross-pollinators to bear fruit. Fuji or Golden Delicious is highly recommended for this.

Pests and diseases

When growing any fruit, it carries the risk of annoying insects and harmful diseases. Knowing what they are and eliminating them is essential to caring for an apple tree like York Imperial.

York Imperial Apple Harvest

York Imperial apples are ready to harvest in late October through early November. But remember, when you plant a new apple tree for the first time, it can take some time to produce the fruit. Wondering how long it might take? Being a semi-dwarf apple tree, it can take up to 4 years to produce fruit. Need more information?



Apple tree care

When considering York Imperial apple tree care, many factors come into play. We have an excellent comprehensive guide to caring for all types of apple trees.

Where to buy York Imperial Apples

The tree

Now you might want one of these amazing apple trees in your yard! It can be hard to find. You may not see them at local garden centers, but you can find them through many online retailers.


When buying York Imperial apples, the best places are farms around Pennsylvania. You may even find yourself enjoying apples from Jessup’s own trees. But if travel is out of the question for you, local specialty stores may be able to get you some orders.

York Imperial Apple Wrap

Enjoy the York Imperial apple, you are truly chomping on a piece of history. These single-faced red beauties have great flavor and can be kept for months after harvest. Have you ever enjoyed York Imperial apples?

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