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Pippins, Codlins, Pearmains & Russets

Confused by all the different suffixes? They can provide surprisingly helpful clues about the best way of using your apples.

A PIPPIN is an eating apple with yellow or green skin flushed with red. The word comes from the Old French for pip and is also used sometimes to describe a tree grown from seed rather than a graft. Cox's Orange is our most popular pippin in the UK. 


A CODLIN is an apple of elongated shape and sharp taste, traditionally used for stewing or ‘coddling’. The word originates from the 15th century ‘querdlyng’, meaning an unripe apple. A good example is Keswick Codlin. Codlins are some of the earliest apples to ripen, often being ready in August. 


A PEARMAIN is a type of eating apple with firm, white flesh. The name has nothing to do with pears, but most probably comes from the Old French ‘parmaindre’, 'to remain', indicating that the apple has long-keeping qualities. Worcester Pearmain is a variety that springs to mind. 


A RUSSET is an apple variety with slightly rough, greenish-brown or yellowish-brown skin. Some varieties have a smattering of russet, whilst others, such as Egremont Russet, are entirely covered by it. Russet apples often have a delicious sweet, nutty flavour but their appearance makes them unpopular with modern breeders and consumers.  Blenheim Orange, Ribston Pippin and Ashmead’s Kernel are all examples of russet apple.

Worcester Pearmain apple
Worcester Pearmain © Alan Buckingham

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

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