Known as the “King of the Ironclads” for its extreme winter hardiness, this is one of many fine old apples of Russian origin. It arose around the upper Volga region of Russia and was introduced into England around 1817. In 1835, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society imported this apple into the United States.
The Duchess is very popular as a fine cooking and fresh eating apple, Duchess is a medium to large fruit with smooth yellow skin overlaid with a red wash, sometimes completely red when fully exposed to the sun. The whitish flesh is tender, crisp and juicy with a tangy flavor reminiscent of Winesap. Ripens August to September and is only a fair keeper.