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Missouri Environment & Garden


Michele Warmund
University of Missouri
Plant Science & Technology
(573) 882-9632

What's New in Apples?

Michele Warmund
University of Missouri
(573) 882-9632

Published: September 11, 2020

With the plethora of apple cultivars available year-round, it's hard to imagine what new size, shape, color, and flavor could be developed. As astonishing as it may seem, there will be new apples with incredibly different flavors available at your local farm markets and orchards this fall. Several new introductions have Honeycrisp as a parent. Honeycrisp apples grown under high summer temperatures like those in Missouri are not generally of high quality. However, this limitation is overcome when Honeycrisp is crossed with another heat-tolerant cultivar, resulting in crisp, juicy, and flavorful apples.

Figure 1 A basket of Ludacrisp apples. Photo credit: Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA).

One of the most anticipated new apple cultivars is Ludacrisp (Figure 1). These large apples have a scarlet red peel and crisp texture, but it's most striking feature is its flavor. Ludacrisp apples have a tropical-like flavor similar to Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The flavor drivers are pineapple, grape, and strawberry. This cultivar was discovered at in Pataskala, Ohio. Sweet Sixteen is one of the parents of this cultivar, but the other is unknown. While the name of this apple and its unique flavor may seem ludicrous to some, it will surely be unique. Ludacrisp apples will be available in mid-October.

Figure 2 An Evercrisp apple ready for harvest. Photo credit: MAIA.

Evercrisp apple is a cross of Honeycrisp and Fuji that originated in Roann, Indiana (Figure 2). Fruit grown in full sun is nearly all red, while slightly shaded apples have a yellow background color at peak harvest in mid-October. It has a sweet flavor and a hard fruit texture. The first Evercrisp apples came to market in 2018, but its availability is growing as trees in commercial orchards mature. It consistently ranks high in taste panels with cultivars grown in Eastern production regions in the United States.

Figure 3 A Sweet Zinger apple. Photo credit: MAIA.

For those who appreciate a slightly tart apple, look for Sweet Zinger (Figure 3). It has an orange-red peel and a honey-citrus flavor. This fruit ripens in October and is generally available for a short time in markets. Also, these apples tend to have a short shelf-life so refrigeration is recommended. This cultivar originated from a Goldrush and Sweet Sixteen cross.

Figure 4 A Summerset apple. Photo credit: MAIA.

Two other releases that will have limited availability in the Midwest are Summerset and Rosalee. Summerset ripens in mid-August and has a short two-week harvest period (Figure 4). It is a Honeycrisp x Fuji cross, with large fruit size, a crisp texture, and tangy flavor. While Rosalee has similar parentage as Summerset, it ripens in mid-October. Rosalee has a medium fruit size, red skin color with prominent dots, a floral flavor, and a firm fruit texture (Figure 5).

Figure 5 A Rosalee apple. Photo credit: MAIA.

Ludacrisp, Evercrisp, Sweet Zinger, Summerset, and Rosalee were all developed by the Midwest Apple Improvement Association, which consists of grower-members from the United State and Canada. Thus, apples will be available for purchase, but trees of these cultivars are not sold to non-members.

Scarlet Crush originated in Winchester, Illinois. It is a Honeycrisp x Cripps Pink cross that ripens in late September. The peel color is a pinkish-red color with a sweet flavor and a citrus-like note. Ruby Darling is another new apple selection from Illinois. It is a Honeycrisp x Gala cross ripens in early October. It has a medium to large fruit size with a crisp texture. Like Honeycrisp, these apples are juicy and have a sweet and sub-acid flavor. Scarlet Crush and Ruby Darling trees can be purchased from Stark Bro's Nurseries and Orchards Company.

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REVISED: September 19, 2020