Kingston Black is one of the definitive English hard cider apple varieties and produces a very high quality bittersharp juice. It’s distinctive and highly aromatic juice has an excellent balance of tannins, acidity, and sugar. It is one of the few English varieties that can be used without blending, to make top quality single-varietal cider.
Kingston Black is speculated to have originated in Somersetshire, England, about 1820. It is thought to be named after the village of Kingston St. Mary, near Taunton, and is probably related to other Somerset bittersharp varieties, such as Lambroook Pippin, and others.
The fruits are a dark mahogany over an orange background, and the juice is a tawny red. It is moderately sweet, with a strong astringent aftertaste. Note that Kingston Black cannot be eaten fresh – it is grown solely for hard cider production.
Kingston Black takes time to start bearing, although this is less of an issue on dwarf rootstocks, however the best quality fruit tends to come from older trees. Production is variable – it can be a heavy cropper in some areas but only average in others. It is a bit susceptible to scab, although this is not likely to be a concern for the backyard grower.
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