Anyone up for a bit of homebrewing? If so, a Major Apple Tree is definitely one to consider. The apples have that really full flavour beloved of cider aficionados that encompasses sweetness tempered by a bitterness to stop your cider becoming cloying and sickly. In practice what this means is that the apples are low in acid and high in tannins. Traditionally cider was made to the following proportions of cider apples: a third sweet, a third bittersweet and a third sharp. Major is a bittersweet apple. The fruit is quite small with opaque white flesh and a yellowy green skin that overlaid by flushes of slightly stripy orange red colouring. Like all cider apples, the flesh is quite fibrous which makes it easier to juice.
All apple trees look pretty in spring when clothed in blossom with their bright green leaves, so do not forget this additional benefit of indulging your brewing habit. But one of the real merits of this tree is that it does not need pruning and will continue to give you wonderful apples year after year without any interference at all. Which makes it a great host for a rambling rose by the way. When planting cider apples, it is important to consider the style of cider you want to make, and then splash out on appropriate cider soulmates. A good selection might be the sharp Browns Apple and the irresistibly named Sweet Coppin which could all combine well and would all pollinate each other.
A Devonshire cider tree, it used to be very popular in the orchards of South Devon and into Somerset many of which were ripped out as cider became less popular as a drink and home-brewing with it. Now with the resurgence in interest in growing your own more and more orchards are being re-planted and Major is one of the sought after varieties for its bittersweet qualities and vigour.