History: The exact origin of Ellis Bitter is unknown but it is believed to have originated on the farm of a Mr. Ellis in the 1800s in England. It was planted commercially, particularly by growers under contract with the cider-making company H.P. Bulmer. Unlike some older cider varieties, Ellis Bitter still remains relatively common today.
Why We Grow It: Ellis Bitter is an old English cider apple, with good disease resistance, vigour, and production. This variety produces a high quality medium-bittersweet juice with soft, astringent tannins that are suited for blends. It is notable for its early ripening time compared to many cider apples, and therefore adds nicely to an orchard to extend the season. This cultivar has produced very well in the Ontario climate according to trials at the Vineland Research Station.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Sandy loam, loam, clay loam. Prefers average to moist conditions, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring. Generally quite adaptable to different soil conditions.
Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Partial tip-bearing, vigorous and precocious, tends to crop biennially. Resistant to canker and brown rot, very resistant to scab.
Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)
Pollination: Triploid, requires two pollinators of different non-triploid apple varieties that bloom around the same time
Flowering Time: Late
Ripens: Late September
Storage: Doesn't keep, it is best to use this apple relatively soon after harvesting
Recommended Use: Cider
- Class: Bittersweet
- Acidity: Low, <4.5 g/L
- Tannins: Medium, >2 g/L
- Recommendations: Best used in cider blends
Size including roots:
- 1 year grade 100-200 cm whip
- 2 year grade 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
- B grade less than 100 cm