A large, all-purpose apple with deep, purple-red color and yellow streaks, Cortland is moderately juicy and relatively sweet compared to McIntosh. Its white flesh browns slowly when sliced, making Cortlands a standout for salads. Writer Roger Yepsen describes Cortland as a “friendly” apple in his book Apples. “The flavor is tart and tangy,” he writes, “but not emphatically so, and juicy. It is a good apple to accompany a sandwich.” He recommends it for pies, sauce, and cider, too. Cortland ripens in September or early October.
Discovered: 1898, New York
Parentage: Ben Davis x McIntosh
After the many attributes of McIntosh were discovered, plant breeders began crossing it with other varieties to enhance its traits. An early development was Cortland, a cross of McIntosh and Ben Davis at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, 1898.