Don't be afraid of "ugly" apples. They won't hurt you. In fact, they might be better for you than the "pretty" apples you find on the grocery store shelf. Because the apple tree has had to turn on its immune system to fight pests or disease, you may find more nutritious substances in ugly apples.
We're not ashamed of the fact that we use ugly apples in our cider. In fact we're proud of it. We're proud that we give local growers a market for their blemished fruit. We're proud that we can grow apples with less spraying and less inputs than eating apples. And we're proud that we can go out and pick from wild, seedling trees and abandoned orchards and still put the fruit to good use.
We should be clear however, that there is a difference between an ugly apple and a rotten apple. Ugly apples are those with scars, blemishes, imperfections, weird shapes, or other cosmetic imperfections. Rotten apples are actively rotting, and no one should use them when making cider.
When picking apples, I probably spend too much time looking at their skin. It can be a mesmerizing micro-landscape, a Jackson Pollock canvas bursting with diverse colors and splattered with odd patterns. To me, the imperfections make the apple look more alive, more a part of this earth.
Ugly apples have lived an un-pampered life, and like you or I, they may have come out with a few scars that give them personality. Each ugly apple has a story to tell. We hope to share their stories with you through our cider.