All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Golden Russet apple

Golden Russet is a small moderately attractive apple, which keeps well, and is very versatile for eating, cooking or juicing.  The flavor is typical of a russet apple but rather more intense than the traditional English St. Edmunds Russet or Egremont Russet - more similar to Ashmeads Kernel.

The origins of Golden Russet are not clear but it arose in upstate New York in the 19th century, possibly derived from an English russet variety.  The flavor and slightly flattened shape suggest a connection with to Ashmeads Kernel, which has always been grown in the USA.  However there is also a variety with the name Golden Russet in England, described by the English Pomologist Robert Hogg in the late 19th century.  His description of the apple and its qualities are very similar to the American Golden Russet, yet he makes no mention of it being grown in the USA, even though he was aware of and described many other American varieties.

For a time Golden Russet was grown on a commercial basis but then fell out of fashion.  It has enjoyed a resurgence of interest because the strong-flavored juice is ideal for cider and hard cider production.

USDA identification images for Golden Russet

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

  • Year: 1912

  • Year: 1912

  • Year: 1898

  • Year: 1905

  • Year: 1906

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Visitor reviews

  • 20 Oct 2022 
    I bought a couple at Champlain Orchards in Vermont. The clerk actually gave them to me, saying they were sour, but I think they're great, not sour at all!
  • 26 Aug 2020  CT, United States
    A neighbor left a bag of these odd looking apples on my doorstep 4 years ago... the taste and subsequent applesauce and pies were stunning. I tracked down the source of the apples and found they were Golden Russets and started making cider. This year I bought semi-dwarf GR, Newtown Pippin and RI Greening trees from Orange-Pippin and planted them in the yard. Here's to the future.
  • 02 Jul 2019  CO, United States
    I have a golden russet and it made it through two frosts this spring and i only have two fruit left on the tree but they are growing and looking good. When is the best time to pick them and enjoy them? tj
  • 09 Apr 2017  NY, United States
    This has been my favorite apple for roughly fifty three years. I was turned off by the look until I was about eight. Then I finally tried one and it has been an obsession ever since. As a kid I loved the intense sweetness and nuttiness. The older I get the more I like the subtle nuances. They lose crispness after a month or two. Germans call russets "gummiapfel" (rubber apple) for the way they soften after a couple of months (not nearly as fast nor as mushy as MacIntosh though). But the taste lasts well --I've enjoyed home stored golden russets into June when they look and feel utterly disreputable. If anyone knows where I can get commercially stored golden russets, please post it.
  • 15 Oct 2016  BC, Canada
    A pleasant but not intense apple. Crisp, slightly thick skin. Bought at the UBC Apple Festival, mid Oct 2016. Flavour might become more complex with keeping??
  • 18 Sep 2016  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
    This year 2016 my 8 year old, semi-dwarf GR tree is loaded! Lots of thinning out done. I had mistakenly planted and trained this tree as a cordon - wrong! It is a tip-bearer and therefore not suitable. As an ex-Brit of advancing years when we were young we could buy russet apples at local grocery stores in the UK. I bought russet apples because I loved tasting the nutty flavours. The GR is American but it rivals those I used to eat in the UK. My problem living in Squamish British Columbia Canada is how long to leave the apples to fully ripen on the trees or should I pick them early since black bears frequent the neighbourhood during fruit picking season and they are rather partial to fully ripe fruit!
  • 02 Dec 2014  WEST BARNSTABLE, United States
    Golden russet is absolutely my favorite apple. When describing them to someone who has never tasted one, my stock phrase is "like eating spiced cider". They have an amazingly high sugar content, although you might not be aware of that by just eating them due to the richness of flavor.
  • 16 Nov 2013  QUEBEC, Canada
    Quebec russet apples have been a traditional choice in our family since the early 1900s, but the search for them in West Quebec stores has become harder each year. I don't know what cultivar local orchards sold in the past, but the golden russet has become our go-to in the past decade. It's a crying shame that Canadians west of Manitoba are completely ignorant of this wonderful heritage apple. After almost 10 years in the West I was happy and relieved to return to Quebec and to my favourite apple.
  • 31 Oct 2013  PA, United States
    This is, hands-down, my favorite apple of all time and I've tried many, many varieties. I used to get them in Portland, Or at New Seasons Market, but now that I live in Pittsburgh I haven't yet found them again. Highly recommend you try these if ever you see them.
  • 29 Oct 2012  ILLINOIS, United States
    Great apple. Fruit hangs very well on the tree. In fact last year I picked some on New Years Day.
  • 09 Sep 2012  WASHINGTON, United States
    What a wonderful apple! The tree's branches are pretty spindly and straggly but the fruit is sweet and crisp and I have had no trouble with it so far despite the frequent wet springs.
  • 12 Oct 2011  MA, United States
    This variety is delicious:I wish people knew more than the handful of varieties sold at the supermarket. To say they're missing out is an understatement.
  • 23 Sep 2011  Pennsylvania (south-central), United States
    Thanks for the 31 Aug post. Once I get mine in the ground March 2012, will watch of signs of flowers and start spraying with Bordeaux spray before and while it flowers. Had the same issue with my Calville Blanc this year but sprayed and made it through the summer with additional healthy growth.
  • 31 Aug 2011  NW VA, United States
    Tried growing one here in VA and it got fireblight the first time it bloomed and wiped it out in what seemed like days. Tasty apple, though.
  • 09 Aug 2011  MA, United States
    One of my favorite apples. A very dense apple with an amazingly intense sweet-tart flavor. The apples tend to be small. Hard to find, but worth the effort.
  • 09 Mar 2011  WASHINGTON, United States
    I located some of these apple about 200 miles from my home (along with others) and tasted them. Golden Russet is a revelation! I typically prefer a tart apple; this has become my favorite sweet apple. Will find a way to graft this into one of my trees at home.

Tree register

United States

United Kingdom




New Zealand


Spring blossom records for this variety

2022 season

  • 11th May  2022  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States

2021 season

  • 5th May  2021  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States
  • 5th May  2021  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States

2020 season

  • 20th May  2020  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States
  • 12th April  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2019 season

  • 6th May  2019  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States
  • 18th April  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2018 season

  • 11th May  2018  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States
  • 28th April  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2017 season

  • 30th April  2017  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States

2016 season

  • June  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States

2015 season

  • 10th May  2015  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States

2014 season

  • 16th May  2014  - tree owned by Jim in Hallstead, United States
  • 8th May  2014  - tree owned by Dennis in Great Meadows, United States

2013 season

  • 8th May  2013  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Robert in Plainfield, United States

2012 season

  • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
  • 5th May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States
  • 3rd May  2012  - tree owned by Mike in Glen Rock, United States
  • 26th March  2012  - tree owned by Ryan in Cumming, United States

2011 season

  • May  2011  - tree owned by Ron in Orion, United States
  • May  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada

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

Harvest records for this variety

2020 season

  • 4th week October  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2018 season

  • 1st week November  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
  • 4th week September  2018  - tree owned by Susan in Center City, United States

2016 season

  • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States

2015 season

  • 4th week September  2015  - tree owned by George in Middlefield, United States
  • September  2015  - tree owned by Roger in Madison Heights, United States

2013 season

  • 3rd week October  2013  - tree owned by Mark in Cape Neddick, United States
  • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by Robert in Plainfield, United States

2011 season

  • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Thought to be a seedling of an English russet variety
  • Introduced: 1845


  • Picking season: Late
  • Cropping: Good
  • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
  • Flavor style (apples): Sweeter
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Food uses: Juice
  • Food uses: Hard cider
  • Cooking result: Keeps shape
  • Discoloration of fruit: No discoloration (Good for drying)


  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Flowering group: 2
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Bearing regularity: Regular


  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)


  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Fruit colour: Russet

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Golden Russet apple trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Golden Russet:

United States



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