|Origin||Found on a tree in Esopus, New York, United States - late 18th century|
Esopus Spitzenburg is an antique apple. It was discovered early in the 18th century near Esopus, New York, and is reputed to have been a favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson, who planted several of the trees at Monticello.
In 1922, Ulysses Hedrick described Esopus Spitzenburg (sometimes spelled "Spitzenberg") as "one of the leading American apples ... [A]bout the best to eat out of hand, and very good for all culinary purposes as well." In particular, it is a good apple for baking pies and are also valued as a cider apple.
They are fairly large, oblong, and have red skin and crisp flesh. Like many late-season apples, they improve with a few weeks of cool storage, which brings them to their full, rich flavor. Hedrick praised this apple as attractive and keeping well in cold storage, but added that it was imperfect in that the trees lack vigor and are vulnerable to apple scab.
This cultivar is suitable for hardiness zones 4–7 and should be grown in full sun. However, the trees grow unevenly and sometimes the upper branches shade out the lower ones, which can be frustrating to the orcharder. They also have a biennial bearing tendency, and is susceptible to any available apple disease.
- Hatch, Peter J. (January 1995). "Esopus Spitzenburg: Connoiseur Fruit". Twinleaf Journal (Virginia: Thomas Jefferson Foundation). Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Hedrick, Ulysses Prentiss (1922). Cyclopedia of Hardy Fruits. New York: Macmillan Publishers. OCLC 3714494.
- Karp, David (2004-10-20). "Apples with Pedigrees Selling in Urban Edens". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- "In Bloom at Monticello: Malus cv 'Esopus Spitzenburg'". Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Esopus-Spitzenberg at Orange Pippin
- Herman Melville: Bartleby, the Scrivener, Putnam’s Monthly Magazine 2, November 1853, p. 549