The comprehensive resource for apples and orchards

Granny Smith apple



Perhaps the most instantly recognisable of all apple varieties and one of the most widely known, Granny Smith is also one of Australia's most famous exports.

Granny Smith pre-dates the modern approach to apple development and marketing. Like all the best old varieties it has a bizarre history, being discovered in Austrialia in the 1860s as a seedling growing in the remains of a rubbish tip. The true parentage is still unknown but is possibly French Crab. The discoverer - a Mrs Maria Smith (sometimes referred to as Mary Smith but see note below) - found that the apple was versatile for cooking and eating, and was involved in spreading its popularity. In an inspired piece of marketing she called the new apple Granny Smith. By the 1960s Granny Smith was practically syonymous with 'apple' and the variety was used by the Beatles as the logo for their company 'Apple Records'.

Granny Smith was one of the original staple supermarket varieties, and one of the first international varieties, a role for which it was well suited. The tough skin and amazing keeping qualities meant it could easily be shipped around the world. It requires a warm climate to ripen properly, and performs well in the main apple-growing regions of the southern hemisphere.  In the northern hemisphere it is grown in France and the warmer zones of North America.  The trademark apple-green skin requires warm days and nights - we have seen Granny Smiths grown at a relatively high altitude in central France which develop a blush because of the cold night temperatures towards the end of the growing season.

There is only one word to describe the flavour of Granny Smith: acidic. It is an uncompromising crisp hard apple with a very sharp taste. However, served slightly chilled it can also be very refreshing, and works well in salads.  The flavor sweetens in storage. Nevertheless, its share of the international market is on the decline, with supermarkets preferring to sell bi-coloured varieties with a sweeter flavour.

Update: Granny Smiths in Central California, from Axel in Santa Cruz

Here in coastal Central California apples can remain on the tree well into February. Our nights get quite cool, mid 30's to mid 40's, but we rarely experience freezing temperatures. Daytimes are usually in the 50's to low 60's. In that climate, Granny Smiths go from being green to turning completely yellow and looking almost like Golden Delicious. What is more significant is how the fruit tastes. The acidity definitely mellows significantly, and it then takes on an amazing balanced flavor. I can't imagine anyone ever selecting such an apple and promoting it unless they got to taste it in this form, because when it's fully ripe, it's simply one of the best, crunchiest, most balanced table apple I've eaten.

We have several apples growing in this area that are very late ripening, e.g. January and February. Lady Williams, Pink Lady, Hoover, Hauer pippin and Granny Smith all come to mind. These are all essentially inedible in November, and don't become tasty until January, Some will also mellow on the tree, but the BRIX goes way up if left on the tree. Of course, in our climate, some apple trees retain their leaves all the way into January. I have one tree called 'Sweet Valentine' named for the fact that the fruit ripens on valentine's day. It was discovered locally as a rootstock seedling shoot in an abandoned orchard.

It is said that the best apples are the ones that ripen when the leaves begin to turn and fall off. The theory has it that the nutrients that went to the leaves go to to the apples. I've tasted Fujis left on the tree, and they develop an incredibly sweet water core, almost like eating pure honey - too sweet for my taste, but it is a fun experience.

For us, since our apples grow into January, it makes the late apples the best quality apples we can grow. Unfortunately, no one in commercial apple growing cares, because the entire fruit growing industry is bent on only one thing: getting the first fruit to market to get the highest possible price. The end result is that a lot of these amazing late varieties are simply forgotten, or they don't let them ripen properly, as is the case with the granny smith.

 

Further insight into the origins of Granny Smith from Steve Goard of Sydney, Australia

Granny Smith is my great,great,great,great,grandmother, and her name was not Mary! Her name was Maria Ann Smith, nee Sherwood, (pronounced the same way as diva Mariah Carey), 1800-1870, married to Thomas Smith, 1797-1876. The orchard was located in Eastwood, now in the City of Ryde, Sydney.  It is most probable that 'French Crab' apples were from wooden crates purchased at the Sydney Markets, after selling her produce, to facilitate transporting the next crop of fruit from her orchard (and I would say it was more likely the 'compost' heap rather than 'rubbish tip'!).  Technically it is called a 'sport' which means a reproducing hybrid; the original term dates back to the time of Jane Austen.  And 'YES' they are my favorite apples!!!

 

Granny Smith parentage - update

We have now had the opportunity to study a French Crab apple tree at the UK National Fruit Collections (thanks to FAST for faciliating this).  The similarity with Granny Smith is quite striking - not just that distinctive green color but also the way the fruits seem to be hidden within the depths of the tree canopy.  We can't comment on the exact relationship, but it seems clear it is very close.

Last updated 20 Feb 2012.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.5 out of 5. Total votes cast: 103
 

Visitor comments

(Use the form at the bottom to add your own comments about this variety)

15 May 2014 
Used to be very tart, lemony and delicious. Now, they tend to be dry and bitter. Something happened in the cultivating of this apple and it's a shame, going the way of the Red Delicious which bred all the flavour away from the apple.


20 Mar 2014 
From the very beginning Granny Smith was destined for greatness. It has everything a great apple needs in order to be a commercial success. The fruit is wicked pretty with a glossy blemish free bright green skin and a nice consistent shape. The fruit keeps well, which allows it to be shipped long distances. The flesh is dense enough to hold up well to cooking yet isn't so hard it can't be eaten out of hand. Then there is the memorable name, which brings to mind beloved Grandmothers and their delicious apple pies. It also has a unique and unmistakeable flavor. Now whether or not you like that flavor depends on whether you like tart fruits because the Granny Smith apple is very tart indeed. I happen to like the flavor, especially when peeled and the flesh sliced into wedges. Great by itself, even better with cheese, and fantastic over a salad. As a cooking apple Granny is hard to beat. The biggest mistake many bakers make with their apple pies is adding too much sugar: i.e. their pies are so sweet it overpowers the apple flavor. Not so with Granny at your side. The only culinary apple I like better than GS is the Jonathan and the two work together beautifully. Granny is also self-fertile so you won't need a pollinator if space is of concern. She does best in warm regions. Recently I read a glowing report of her in the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest. All in all a great apple. I think the reason for some of the poor tasting reviews here on this site is because commercial growers are harvesting the fruit too soon and storing it too long in serial locations as it passes through various middlemen on its way to grocery store produce bins. Last but not least some folks think Granny Smith is a modern variety. No it isn't. It actually dates back to 1868.


10 Jan 2014 
Hugely overrated apple, in my opinion, *unless* you can get the rare, late harvest variety, which is lovely. It has a yellow tinge, and is sweeter. Why people want to eat unripe Granny Smiths is a mystery to me. The flash is very dense. The skin is very thick. Very tart with a little sweetness. Not a very bad eating apple.


16 Sep 2013 
This apple overated along with Red Delicious. Why these 2 are big sellers is a mystery to me.


14 May 2013 
Granny Smith apples are my second favorite (greening being my first) and makes the best applesauce ever. My tree produced for the first time last year (at 2 years) and I harvested in mid November. To my surprise my apples were not bright green but rather yellow-green with red blush striping . I'm thinking it's not a GS tree after all. The flavor was mildly sweet and the texture had a delicate crunch. Not a bad apple just not what I was expecting. I will have another heavy crop (for it's size and age) 20-30 apples again this year so I will see if they change. I'm wondering if it's because I let them fully ripen on the tree or if it's because I didn't pick them until after the weather got cold and it rained. Or if it's just because it's a young tree. They were green earlier in the season. Any info would be great thanks.


26 Jul 2012 
I started using granny Smiths apples when I started juicing. They are firm and not too sweet which makes them for me the perfect apple to juice with carrots and other vegetables.


05 Mar 2012 
I've heard that Granny Smiths are not that reliable in England - anyone know a good alternative? My daughter loves them, she won't touch a sweeter apple. Given the choice of what we currently have in the garden, she would prefer a Bramley to a Sunset, James Grieve or Russet. Though I'd put in another variety and recommendations for something crisp, juicy, green and quite sharp would be appreciated. Cath


15 Feb 2012 
My favorite apple! Crisp, tart, and a beautiful shade of green. I had my first in K-5 many many years ago. It has been my favorite ever since.


12 Jan 2012 
The tartness of this apple is what makes it so attractive; when you combine that with the attractive bright-green skin, the sharp crunch! of that first bight, and the roughness of the apple's exterior, you can see the enduring popularity of the world's premier 'Green Sour Apple'.


03 Jul 2011 
The archetypal 'green' apple; tart, crisp and juicy. Since they are grown widely in both the northern and southern hemispheres, they are available year-round and are usually fairly cheap (and they are a popular variety for 'value bags', in which case they are *very* cheap).


26 Jan 2010 
I, too have found that the apples I buy whether organic or regular have now developed a tendency to turn brown and blothcy on the skin when they are otherwise just fine. I also would like to know why - but so far have seen nothing about it except on this fiorm above. At first I thought it was becasue I bought them out of season and they were stored, but during this last season they continued to turn brown. It is rather offputting considering that in years past this was NEVER a problem. Any ideas???


20 Oct 2009 
My first apple love. I still eat them from time to time.


04 Sep 2009 
I have always loved apples, Granny Smith being my favourite. However, over the last 15-20 years our GS apples have been tasteless. Not the tart, crisp taste that I remember. Nowadays I'm still attracted to them and and buy some in the hope that I'll find the proper taste, but unfortunately I think it's gone forever, and I wonder about the nutritional value too. Most of the apples I buy these days just end up being thrown away, just not worth eating. Is this something to do with a new method of storage


24 Jul 2009 
I have been working in produce departments in the Milwaukee area for almost twelve years. I started out working in conventional grocery stores and am now at Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative. I've been having a problem with Organic Granny Smith apples, from Washington, New Zealand, and sometimes from South America. When the apple season is over, just about all the apples we get are from storage somewhere. The problem... The Granny Smiths are turning brown mostly in blotches, but just on the skins, the flesh on the inside is perfectly fine. So trying to sell these apples to customers who mostly buy produce by looks alone is a chore. Our backstock is stored in a normal cooler, and our display on the sales floor is unrefridgerated. Does anybody know why the skins are turning brown, and if there is something I can do to prevent it? I haven't been able to find any information about this anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.


27 May 2009 
I have always loved and craved Granny Smith apples. Combined Granny Smith & Red Delicious apple slices, drenched in lemon juice, makes a wonderful snack any time. The lemon juice keeps the apple slices from turning brown and adds flavor to each that is so refreshing. They are a good source of energy, too!


14 May 2009 
get the granny smith cold, slice it, sprinkle with salt... :-D while i have no interest in arguing the point, i think pink ladies are blah, almost like... eating perfume?... apples are cool, i never think about how many varieties there are and how different they are, but i've had lots of different apples and many of them considerably different.


04 Dec 2008 
Having sampled many an apple culvitar I can testify quite unequivocally that the Granny Smith is by far and away the most satisfying of all varieties. The aforementioned transition from the dark green astringent commercial Granny Smith (ubiquitous in virtually every supermarket) to the lesser known yellow-tinted later crop enjoyed by apple aficionados worldwide is an attribute that truly elevates this humble fruit to the upper echilons of the tree!


28 Oct 2008 
Eric!, I agree with you 100%, and more ,may G.S. Apples be around forever!. I live in East Tennessee, in a Condo Complex by a lake . we have plenty of green grass, common grounds, not in the city etc. about 12 yrs ago an ol man planted 35 G S th's trees, put a black rubber guard around them , and let them do what they would do.. The gent passed away, but his Apples are here, growing and this year super fantanstic!, no chemicles, no fertilizer, no tending, no spraying, nothing!, yet, my wife and I have picked bushels of apples , starting in August, now in October, now having a blush red on the skin, and more crisp, jucy, and less tart, but still twangy. peeled, pies, dried, frozen ... da, ta da.... they are the very best we have ever had. I go to the grocery see thier apples, and notice the prices, and smile, I'm the cat that got the cream!, ol al


25 Oct 2008 
Don't knock the Granny until you have tasted it yellow as Axel explained, I pick mine when there are no leaves left on the tree. I live in a commerical apple district and Granny Smiths do not ripen correctly until 3 months after the commercial crop has been picked. At this point they are one of the very best apples


10 Oct 2008 
Yes, it's tart, but in an endless sea of sweet apples it makes for a wonderful change of pace! It has just enough sugar to make the apple interesting, and when sliced the flesh takes quite a while to brown, so it's a wonderful apple to serve sliced, on a platter with cheeses. I like Granny Smith very much!


18 Sep 2008 
I was munching on one of these apples the other day and then realized how much better pink ladies are! If I had the opportunity I would eliminate all granny smith apples and the pink lady apples can reign supreme!


16 Sep 2008 
Don't trust this man!


16 Sep 2008 
I'm surprised at the astonishment about Granny Smith apples. They are my favourite and have been since childhood over 40 years ago. They are a staple here and although many people are starting to favour the sweeter varieties, I personally can't think of a better or more versatile variety. May they continue to be around for a long time.


07 Sep 2008 
I bought my home in Northeast Alabama, ten years ago and have watched an apple tree grow and not bear fruit until this year. Imagine my surprise to find that it was a Granny Smith apple! When I lived in Wisconsin, I owned an apple orchard, and grew mostly Cortland and Red Delicious. Never tried GS because it "wouldn't grow in the States". I think I shoould have tried. Next to Northern Spy, this is my favorite.


05 Sep 2008 
Well, GS Apples are the best thing to happen for the Apple lovers. I just love the sweet and sour combination. I have tried all the different varieties, but nothing beats GS any day. Cheers Mrs. Smith.


04 Sep 2008 
A fellow colleague reccomended these apples to me. All I can say is that I was sadly dissapointed! After exploring the apple world I have found that this apple is no where as tasty or refreshing as a pink lady!


30 Aug 2008 
Granny Smith is my great,great,great,great,grandmother, and her name was not Mary! Her name was Maria Ann Smith, nee Sherwood, (pronounced the same way as diva Mariah Carey), 1800-1870, married to Thomas Smith, 1797-1876. The orchard was located in Eastwood, now in the City of Ryde, Sydney. It is most probable that 'French Crab' apples were from wooden crates purchased at the Sydney Markets, after selling her produce, to facilitate transporting the next crop of fruit from her orchard (and I would say it was more likely the 'compost' heap rather than 'rubbish tip'!). Technically it is called a 'sport' which means a reproducing hybrid; the original term dates back to the time of Jane Austin. And 'YES' they are my favorite apples!!!


30 Jul 2008 
Are there any Granny Smith hybrid apples?


15 Jun 2008 
I noticed that the history is conflicting with a story in "The New Book of Apples." It says that the woman who found it was a Mrs. Anne Smith. It also says that the one of the parents is French Crab. Mrs. Smith found the seedling in a stream where she had dumped some apple remains from Sydney, moved it, and used its apples for cooking. A boy said they were good to eat. Mrs. Smith's family propagated the tree, and the rest is history.


09 May 2008 
Granny Smiths are being seen in shops in Kerala recently. Really good apples, what's best about them is the texture; very dense and crisp. stays fresh for quite a while. superb taste, not too sweet, very refreshing.


24 Apr 2008 
Which are the best varieties to have with Granny Smith apples for pollination in the UK. Many Thanks Alan


23 Apr 2008 
Is it true Granny Smith apples are not grown in UK ? OP: Not commercially to my knowledge. They are grown in France though, e.g. Limousin.


23 Feb 2008 
These apple r so mad and refreshing


06 Feb 2008 
Granny smith apples rock!!!! I'm eating one right now :) Its sour, but refreshing.


27 Nov 2007 
I love these apples because they are a bust of sweet and sour combination in every bite.


17 Nov 2007 
I've always called this apple as my favorite "sour" apple, because my grandpa had planted two of these apple trees in our backyard back in Armenia and every fall we been harvesting and wraping in papers for winter with my grandma. In dedication of my fathers memory/he passed away six month ago in Armenia/ and for his 89th B-day, today I have planted a gorgeous Granny Smith apple tree right in front of my balcony. God Bless Mrs Mary Smith.


02 Nov 2007 
I've always liked sweet-tart combinations, so this has always been one of my favorite fruits It is also very crisp and not too juicy, which I like in an apple


09 Oct 2007 
I've always liked these apples. They're great by themselves, but I think they're best when they've been chilled slightly first.



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The most instantly-recognised of all apples, and perhaps Australia's most famous export.

Granny Smith phototape

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Possibly French Crab and Rome Beauty
  • Originates from: Australia
  • Introduced: 1860s
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1129
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1976-145

Identification

  • Fruit colour: Green
  • Flesh colour: White
  • Flesh colour: White to Greenish to Greenish Yellow
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Fruit size: Variable
  • Bultitude apple group: 2. Green, smooth, sweet

Using

  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Cooking result: Keeps shape
  • Flavour style: Sharper
  • Harvest period: Very-Late season
  • Use / keeping: 3 months or more

Growing

  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-fertile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Pollinating others: Good
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Bearing regularity: Biennial tendency
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899

Climate

  • Climate suitability: Warm climates
  • Chilling: Low-chill 600 hours

Disease resistance

  • Cedar apple rust  - Some resistance
  • Scab  - Some susceptibility
  • Mildew  - Some susceptibility
  • Fireblight  - Some susceptibility

Pests

  • Woolly aphid  - Some susceptibility

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

References and further reading about this variety

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as resistant - control only needed under high disease pressure.

Granny Smith identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Granny Smith identification photos from website visitors


Granny Smith showing red coloration which can arise in some climates
Granny Smith showing red coloration which can arise in some climates

Granny Smith
Granny Smith


Fruit tree register

Do you have a tree of this variety in your garden or orchard? If so please register the details here and contribute to our international register of fruit trees.

The following Granny Smith trees have been registered - click the name to view more details of each tree.

You can also view these trees on a map.

United States

United Kingdom

France

Canada

Australia

New Zealand

Japan

India



Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 18th May  2014  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States
  • 9th May  2014  - tree owned by Dennis in GREAT MEADOWS, United States
  • 22nd April  2014  - tree owned by Charlie in SANTA FE, United States

2013 season

  • 10th May  2013  - tree owned by Albany in CASTLETON, United States
  • 9th May  2013  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States
  • April  2013  - tree owned by Matt in SALEM, United States

2012 season

  • 16th April  2012  - tree owned by Albany in CASTLETON, United States
  • 14th April  2012  - tree owned by Bill in LANDERS, United States
  • 23rd March  2012  - tree owned by J.P.Curry in STURGEON, United States
  • 21st March  2012  - tree owned by Ryan in CUMMING, United States

2011 season

  • 14th April  2011  - tree owned by Bill in LANDERS, United States
  • April  2011  - tree owned by Leslie in KELOWNA, Canada

2010 season

  • October  2010  - tree owned by Sue in CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand
  • April  2010  - tree owned by Leslie in KELOWNA, Canada
  • 27th March  2010  - tree owned by Martin in LAKEPORT, United States
  • 19th March  2010  - tree owned by Bill in LANDERS, United States

2009 season

  • October  2009  - tree owned by Sue in CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand
  • 29th March  2009  - tree owned by Martin in LAKEPORT, United States

Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

Latest harvest records for this variety

2014 season

    2013 season

    • 4th week October  2013  - tree owned by Gary in CHESANING, United States
    • 2nd week October  2013  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States
    • 3rd week April  2013  - tree owned by Matt in SALEM, United States

    2012 season

    • 3rd week September  2012  - tree owned by Charlie in SANTA FE, United States

    2011 season

    • 2nd week October  2011  - tree owned by J.P.Curry in STURGEON, United States
    • 3rd week September  2011  - tree owned by Martin in LAKEPORT, United States
    • 1st week September  2011  - tree owned by Leslie in KELOWNA, Canada

    2010 season

    • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Martin in LAKEPORT, United States
    • 1st week September  2010  - tree owned by Leslie in KELOWNA, Canada
    • 1st week August  2010  - tree owned by Bill in LANDERS, United States

    2009 season

    • 4th week September  2009  - tree owned by Martin in LAKEPORT, United States

    Where to buy apple trees

    The following fruit tree nurseries offer Granny Smith apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy apples

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