Empire Apple Review

"A Spunky Optimist"

Empire Apple

Coming from humble beginnings, the Empire Apple manages to break free from its backwoods Red Delicious and McIntosh upbringing to strike out on its own in the unforgiving and inconsistent apple behemoth that is New York State (The Empire State). With a fascinating flavor profile some describe as “melon”, “pineapple”, or *gag* “elderflower” (if you are a pretentious liar who claims to know what elderflower tastes like), this well-balanced juicy optimist has just enough gumption and spunk to survive in a dog-eat-dog, apple-eat-apple world.

Unfortunately – like a down-home twang you just can’t seem to shake – no apple can fully escape its roots, as piercing barbed-wire skin and slightly mealy flesh serve as shadows of the Empire’s shameful past. It’s true, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere – and while the Empire has survived in New York, it’ll be up to future generations to spawn a kingdom that outgrows the region.





Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon


Red Delicious x McIntosh


Cornell University




Fall – Early Winter


Munching, Sauce


Royal Empire, Crown Empire,

Teeple Red Empire

12 thoughts on “Empire Apple Review”

  1. Having grown up in New England eating Cortland and Macintosh, they are absolutely THE best tasting apples. Since moving to FL, New England apples aren’t available in my area and I had no choice but to try NY Empire Macintosh which don’t even compare to their New England “cousins”.

  2. HEY. Empires are delicious! They’re not too sweet, not too tart. NOT AT ALL MEALY, what are you talking about. And the skin is easy to bite through, it’s not tough at all. How they got this lovely little thing from combining the Red Delicious (aka “sugar”) with anything is beyond me. I will take Empires any day of the week over all of the rest of them, even the other good ones.

      1. I gotta be honest, the ones I’ve gotten from the orchard do not hold a candle to the ones I get from the grocery store. I thought it might be because I’m abysmal at picking apples, but also could be because I don’t manage to visit at peak season.

      2. I got empire from the orchard too. When I ate them at the orchard they were one of the best apples I had. When I brought them home, they quickly became mealy and disgusting.

  3. A quality empire apple is delicious, Empires should be way higher on this list! They are crisp, tart, not too tart, and great substance.

  4. Empire apples are very good and worth eating! They have a nice flavor balance and have a softer flesh that’s not mealy. Certainly easier on the teeth compared to the more recent super crunchy varieties. Cheaper too. I particularly like to use these in desserts since they hold together a bit better when cooked compared to Cortland or McIntosh (my other go-to “economy” apples).

  5. This write up is hysterical. I grew up in NY and remember liking Empires. Haven’t had them in years and have a bushel headed my way today. I figure if they end up mealy, they’ll still make decent sauce. I must say, I do know what elderflowers taste like and I do not consider myself “pretentious” and I am not a liar! I live on a small farm in rural Tennessee and have for the last 25 years. Get yourself some St. Germain liqueur, some white wine, and a bit of sparkling water and mix them up. Not bad on a summer’s evening. For the record, I made my own elderflower liqueur from my own elderberry bushes.

  6. My second comment on this site – I’m enjoying this.

    One critically important characteristic NOT included in the ranking system: shelf life / storage.

    Which leads to: I can and do buy fresh apples in season at my local greenmarket – Manhattan’s Onion Square. Fresh Empires rank #2 for me – just below Mutsus – but Empires get ‘mealy’ after a week’s storage. If they’re freshly picked and you eat ’em promptly, Empires check all the right boxes.

    1. Agreed 100% re: ranking missing shelf life/storage and Empires short peak lifespan and sad quick descent to mealyville.

  7. Yeah honestly, I agree with everyone else, I am shocked by Empire’s ranking. A fresh off the tree Empire is one of the best apples I’ve ever had in my life. I only have them once a year and anticipate it all summer long, it definitely does not have a long shelf life, so maybe what you got had been sitting.

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