WSU Cougar Head Logo Washington State University
WSU Insider
News and Information for Faculty, Staff, and the WSU Community

Grant enables WSU scientists to study cider apple qualities

By Cathy McKenzie, WSU Mount Vernon

Miles-80MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Cider apple qualities and consumer preferences will be evaluated thanks to a $40,000 “Emerging Research Issues” grant received this month by Washington State University researchers.

“The cider industry will gain a better understanding of the impact of growing environment, location and harvest method on fruit quality – and whether or not these differences are valued by the cider maker or detectable by consumers,” said Carol Miles, horticulture professor at WSU Mount Vernon and lead on the study.

The grant – from the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) – is one of eight awarded. The grants support innovative approaches to resolve significant issues – including social and economic factors – faced by the state’s agricultural industries. (Read about another grant-awarded project at

Cider qualities are evaluated in the WSU Mount Vernon processing lab. (Photo by Kim Binczewski, WSU Mount Vernon)

Miles will evaluate fruit quality of several cider apple varieties harvested from four orchards in Washington to see if there are differences due to environment. She also will use a mechanical harvester at the WSU Mount Vernon research orchard to determine the impact of that technique on fruit and juice quality. (Read about related research at

Miles has been investigating cider apple production at WSU Mount Vernon since 2007. For this study, her WSU project collaborators in Pullman are Peter Tozer, research associate in the School of Economic Sciences, and Carolyn Ross, associate professor in the School of Food Science.

Tozer will determine how cider makers value certain juice qualities such as tannin level. Tannin is a bitter-tasting organic substance present in some plant tissues. Cider apples have high levels of tannin compared to dessert apples, but it is uncertain if cider makers pay more for juice that is high in tannin.

Ross, who manages the CAHNRS Sensory Evaluation Unit, will evaluate the sensory qualities of cider made from juice from Miles’ experiments to see whether consumers can detect differences due to location or harvest method. Ross will compare two evaluation methods: a human tasting panel and electronic tongue technology. (Read more about the electronic tongue at


Carol Miles, WSU Mount Vernon, 360-848-6150;
Peter Tozer, WSU Pullman, 509-335-3817,
Carolyn Ross, WSU Pullman, 509-335-2438,


Next Story

Recent News

March 28: Crimson Reads explores early professional scholarship

A panel presentation, “From Dissertation to Book: Discussing the Process and Experience of Early Professional Scholarship,” will be held from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the Terrell Library atrium. The event will also be livestreamed.

Seahawks mascot declared healthy after surgery at WSU

The augur hawk, named Taima, will be ready to lead his team onto the field when the NFL season kicks off after undergoing a short procedure to remove a concerning growth from his left foot.

UNIV course suite reviewed, refreshed

A system-wide committee has updated the suite of one-to-four-credit university student-success courses and processes for the first time in a decade, resulting in several changes effective starting in fall 2023.

Find More News

Subscribe for more updates