James Grieve is an old variety of apple which gets its name from its breeder, James Grieve,who raised the apple from pollination of two other old varieties in 1893. Cox’s Orange Pippin is a possible candidate, as it was very popular at the time; another possible candidate is Pott’s Seedling, a popular commercial cooking apple of that period. This apple variety received the Award of Merit in 1897 and the First Class Certificate in 1906 from the Royal Highland Show.
James Grieve is a large, oval apple with a yellow-green or yellow orange skin overlaid with stripes of red and orange. The creamy white flesh is crisp early in the season, turning into an unusual melting texture when harvested later. It is consistently very juicy and bruises easily, so take care in transporting and storing. It is a mid-season variety picked in early-mid September, when it is pleasantly acidic and refreshing. If the apple is too sharp for eating, it can be used for cooking and after a few weeks the flavour sweetens and becomes milder.
James Grieve is a good cooking apple, for both its flavor and the fact that it holds its shape well during baking. Stew for a chunky applesauce, make baked apples, or bake into pies. The James Grieve is also noted for its excellence in juicing and making cider. When the fruits are picked early in the season, they are more acidic and at peak use for cooking. After slightly later harvest and storage, they become sweeter, milder, and almost pear-like in texture. Eat as a dessert apple cut into slices with cheese. James Grieve can be kept in cool, dry storage for up to one or two months, after which they become too soft.
James Grieve is considered a very Scottish variety with a strong historic links to the city of Edinburgh. It is used by horticulturalists as the basis for other varieties, some of which have become successful as garden apple trees. The variety was frown commercialy for a few decades until the 1960s, but ultimateley fell out of commercial because of how easily the fruit bruises.