Cortland Apple Review

"A Damp Hacky Sack"

Barely Worth It
Cortland Apple


Aside from the striking white flesh and splash of tartness, there’s not much good that can be said about the damp hacky sack left outside a frat house all winter known as the Cortland Apple. Discovered in 1898, in the remarkably not Cortland city of Geneva, NY this flattened McIntosh sandbag of shit continues the age-old tradition of dragging the apple reputation of New York State into the sewer. A cold weather apple that can’t stay fresh for very long, the not-Geneva Apple loses its fledgling tartness, paltry sweetness, and illusory crispness too quickly to provide average consumers the opportunity to avoid eating slimy white dirt. And yet, the Cortland remains one of New York’s top produced apples, an enigma that further denigrates the shameful pedigree of The Big Crapple.

BONUS POINTS: +1 Cider Apple

Branding / Consistency




Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon


McIntosh x Ben David


Geneva, NY




Late Fall – Spring


Sour Apple, Cooking, Cider


LaMont, Starkspur, Redcort,

Early Geneva

27 thoughts on “Cortland Apple Review”

  1. fuck you very much the cortland is fucking delicious and your only problem is you apparently haven’t had it as it was meant to be eaten; fresh off the tree in a cold orchard

      1. This makes little sense, if you review using the product as you experienced them at your local grocery store all of your reviews will only be valid from people in the same area as you.

        I live in Montréal, a fresh Cortland is something the general public experiences every fall. Especially with the local apple picking culture that is very popular, people do taste them fresh from the tree. Even those that do not go picking will be welcomed with displays of fresh local apples in all the grocery stores.

        Meanwhile, all the papaya are out of date and taste like cardboard but you don’t see me making a papayarankings website to trash on fruits that I cannot get fresh here.

    1. hello again sorry for the strength of my vehemence you seem like a perfectly nice person and a talented apple connoisseur i was merely swept up in my passions and meant no ill will to you at all. that said i hope you do get the chance to eat a cortland from an orchard in october some day. it’s very nice. for a damp hacky sack. my family calls them snackin apples bc they are the best for “munchin and crunchin”. they also make great applesauce! though tbh as a pie they are a lil too soft. anyway sorry for being rude, at least when it comes to apples we can all agree red delicious are abominations

  2. This website arouses strong emotion. My group chat’s local baker is enraged. He calls the Cortland a “powerhouse apple” and contends that you actually ate “a mislabeled Mac. That happens all the time”. Grounds for a revisit?

  3. Cortland is an early season apple. They are harvested in mid september to early october when people don’t realize it’s prime apple season. They are actually very good in supermarkets through the end of october, but any month old apple tastes like trash. So please do not try to get one from New York in late Novemeber. When not a month old, they are crisp, tart, and one of the best baking apples you can get.

    Also, availability to the general public is subjective to not only region, but specific grocery stores. Personally, every time I’ve had sweet tango it has been a bland mealy mess, but based upon your standards it is the prime example of what an apple should be.

    I am personally offended that the trashheep known as cosmic crisp which is just a crisp red delicious apple is towards the top of the list and this is below red delicious. Not saying this needs to be at the top just that the pesticide flavored cosmic crisp should be chillin near the bottom.

    I’ll stop myself here since I’ve already ranted for way too long. Sorry.

  4. There is danger in elevating these paltry apples who have been bred to ship well at the cost of flavor and nutritional value. I regret that you have only had but a pale shadow of a true cortland apple, otherwise you would know the unparalleled crispness of their ambrosial flesh. But please do not hold Cortland to blame for your distance from upstate NY and the failures of our apple distribution system. It is not the fault of the apple that you eat it only after it is frozen, tumbled into a crate, shipped cross country, and thawed in a vat of paraffin. Think of what we will lose if we eat only these modern apples, stoic and uniformly hardy children of more delicate and ephemeral parents. Think of the power you have over apple-dom!

    1. I’ll give bonus points if it’s a good baking apple but my list is purely for munching apples only. I will add a page soon that has a top 5 list for apples in different categories like baking.

  5. bought some from a local orchard before discovering this website and was disappointed to find that, while not MEALY per se, the flesh of this apple is remarkably soft in a distinctly unpleasant way if you are expecting something crisp.

    however, i am nothing if not a determined bastard, and i wish to get my money’s worth, so i have sliced up a second cortland and am eating it now. here is my snacking advice for cortlands: disabuse yourself of all notions of what an “apple” is. this is not an “apple”, it is apple-flavored seafoam, or perhaps a wet marshmallow. somehow, this helps it taste better and not worse; once able to get over the texture issues, the very subtle sweet taste that is tarter towards the skin is a lot easier to appreciate, though it DEFINITELY lacks in punch.

    this may be grounds for lowering OR raising the ranking depending on the type of person you feel like being.

  6. I have eaten Cortlands for three seasons in Western NY and I believe that they are very sensitive to the weather conditions, particularly late season heat. In 2020, the Cortlands were divine but in 2021 and 2022, they have tended towards mealy.

  7. Man, you are so so wrong about my beloved Cortlands… However I do believe there might be a difference between Cortlands from the US and ones grown in EU, and being European I only tried those grown where I live. Also it’d be great if you’d be able to add apples from different countries, or do a comparison of apples of the same kind but grown in different countries.

  8. I’m so glad you gave Cortlands another try, because they’re very tasty as long as you’re getting them in season. Sorry you were denied that experience for so long. These and McIntosh (and sometimes Empire) are my go-to “regular” apples that I eat throughout the fall and early winter, because they’re widely available here in northern New England and consistently good quality. They aren’t flashy like some of the newer cultivars, but they’re classic workhorses that taste like home.

  9. much respect for getting out to New England to take another crack at this one. the Mac/Cortland confusion is very real. Cortlands off the tree out here have a pronounced vertical stripe pattern (like so, with few spots, similar to a Honeycrisp or Gala. if they look like what’s pictured, they’re either a misidentified Mac varietal, or they’ve been very, very badly handled on the way to the shelf. in either case, they’re suitable only for juicing

    1. YES! not too sweet and the flesh is delicately crunchy like a water chestnut! The only two apple varieties I like.

  10. I love cortlands, especially fresh off the tree but even seconds. They’re crisp and tart with a little sweetness, great for a snack! Very underappreciated in this website.

  11. The fact that you likened Cortland to McIntosh is troubling as Cortland are far from McIntosh’s profile. IMO they far closer to Empire. That said I like them more than Empire as I find they are a bit brighter in both sweetness and tartness. The flesh is also got just a bit more pop/crack sound when you bit into them.

    McIntosh are milly and bland by comparison and I use them exclusively in pies (mixed with other apples) as they cook down to mush.

    Good Cortlands have a nice 60/40 mix of red to green. They are quite crisp and tart but gives way to a nice sweetness. Its an amazing little snack apple when in season (at least here in Michigan).

  12. I wanted to be mad. In fact I was. A rage filled in me, growing stronger the more I thought on it. Then I hazarded a bit from the one I bought and realised with deep despair the accuracy of your review. A real tragedy. This apple has fallen from it’s pedestal, and with great sorrow, I must agree. Poor Cortland apple, they’ve done you dirty and you kind of sick now. At least you’re still better than red delicious apples.

    If only the store had had my beloveded honeycrisp in stock.

  13. Summer Gotschall

    I love Cortlands, but can still kinda relate to this review – they are so short lived, it is so enraging to bite into one that is not fresh, and (at least to me) they look the same fresh or gone mushy. But I keep buying them bc (like Macouns) they are delicate textured and faintly rosy tasting/ smelling when fresh.

  14. Cortlands are only tart if you eat them before their peak season in October. They are a softer, velvety apple with a sweet taste, but not overly so. Many folks use them to make apple sauce or cider, but they are dang delicious just to eat while in their season. These apple aren’t for you if you prefer a super crisp apple. The texture of these are likened to a firm watermelon- velvety and juicy. My family looks forward to getting them every October.

  15. Working at my first Orchard in northern Wisconsin, I fell in love with Cortlands. A fresh apple that does lose it’s fragrence ,subtlety, and joy quickly.
    But some experiences are like that ! So I embrace it. I am at another ( closer orchard) in Marine on the St. Croix (MN) and I have convinced the owner to plant some next year.* Bumble Bee Orchard! So I would perhaps mix up the rubric-use some other criteria. I get a little bored with Honey crisp myself. When I first read this I was inflamed, outraged, flumoxed ,incensed, bitter, and took umbrage with it. But life is short and I move on. Be well ! Long live interesting apples !

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