The Liberty, as a cultivar, originates out of New York State. The first seedling was produced in 1955 by crossing Macoun with Purdue 54-12, which was an effort to introduce resistance to apple scab. This resistance to disease is where the name Liberty came from: It signifies the apple’s freedom from disease. Liberty apples are characterized by a deep red color over the majority of the fruit, which is reminiscent of its Macoun lineage.
Liberties are an exciting variety for reasons other than just their resistance to disease. It is one of many heritage varieties that is suitable for cider making. When selecting apples for cider, a choice of sharps, sweets, and bitters and necessary to create enough complexity and good flavor for the cider. Liberty apples fall into the sharps category along with other apples like Goldrush, Northern Spy, and Winesap. But what is special, and exciting, about Liberty is that it also possess a high tannic content, which means that it can be considered a bittersharp. Blending it with a sweet such as Red Delicious can make for a delicious cider with good mouthfeel and great flavor.
In Connecticut, Liberty apples can be found at several different orchards. They are typically ready for harvest in mid-late September, so be on the look-out for them soon!