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Honey Crisp Apples

  • d

Strolling through the farmers’ market this afternoon, I happened upon a stash of the most revelatory apple, a relatively new variety called Honey Crisp. Perfectly named, these may be the perfect eating apple – sweet, crisp and juicy. They cost more than all of the other varieties available, but are definitely worth it (buck-fifty a pound compared to buck-twenty for other types in NYC Union Sq. Greenmarket). My past favorite has been Macoun for eating (and Northern Spy for baking), so it didn’t surprise me that googling it revealed that this variety was bred from Macoun and Honeygold. The Honey Crisp definitely improves upon those types – it has a lasting crispness that allows the flavors to jump out with every juicy bite while retaining all the full flavor of the Macoun. No idea how the apple cooks up, but they’re so good I’ll likely just be eating them out of hand. Overall, the feeling you get eating one is that of overwhelming freshness and approaching autumn – dunno when apples started getting so expensive, but if any apple is worth 65¢ apiece, this is certainly the variety you want to keep an eye out for.

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  1. Yes! We had a few last year and LOVED them. Next time we went food shopping there weren't any to be found, and I haven't seen them this year.

    1. I just discovered them this year in our local farmer's market and they came from a local orchard (I'm in southeastern PA). I've never tasted a more delicious apple-- Very crisp, sweet, with a touch of tart/spiciness. I'm now spoiled for life for any other apple!

        1. Honeycrisp are $2.25/lb here in the land where they were developed at the U of MN. I've seen them for $6 a half peck at a farmers market and I paid $7 for a peck at an orchard that apparently went out of business. It'll be 5 years before my two trees start producing in the backyard. I've been buying them for four years now, and my trees have been in the ground 2 years.

          1. Ah, those were the good old days: $1.50 per pound back in Oct 2002.

            Now you can find them in several of the markets in Manhattan, but you'll pay a lot more than that. This week I've seen them at Westside Market on 14th st for $2.99 a pound, and at Whole Foods Union Square for $3.99 a pound (organic) or $2.99 a pound (conventional, NY-grown). Haven't been to the Union Sq farmer's market recently, so can't comment on the prices there.

            I never thought I'd see the day I'd even consider paying $2.99 for an apple! But they're worth it. The best-tasting apples I've ever had.

            4 Replies
              1. re: racer x

                not even full apple season yet but jfood has been buying all sorts of apples for $1.49-$2.00 per pound all summer.

                1. re: racer x

                  $2.99 is a little much, hit your farmers market they should be somewhat cheaper. But yes they are worth it. I stumbled upon these beauties last week at the farmers market, they were huge had to try them. So far they are the best apple I have ever had.

                  1. re: Ginger Bread Man

                    I'm still getting them for 99 cents at my local Spanish grocery chain. Guess that will be their normal price, most other apples are 69 cents.Glad people mentioned they're good keepers because I'm piling them up in my crisper compartment. I love throwing chopped apples into all sorts of dishes in the fall, so nice to have around for that too.

                2. I knew someone who bought the house of the guy who developed this apple in MN, so I had them quite a while ago.

                  They are a really, really great apple. And they also keep FOREVER in your fridge!

                  1. I keep trying to decide between honey crisps and mutsus. Both wonderful, crisp, sweet, but not coying. Just saw the first mutsus this year. Seems like they were a bit late.

                    1. Honeycrisp are my absolute favorites, but get them while you can, as they are one of the first apples of the season and, in Chicago at least, are only available for a month or so.

                      1. They've been available for about a decade in New England, and widely available in the past 5 years. A good dessert apple, along with Macouns among the best of the mid-season apples. But the palms still goes to the late-season apples like Baldwins, Winesaps, Pippins and Russets.

                        1. Just found them this year at WalMart - think they were less than $2/lb. We've been eating them out of hand and now I just made a crisp with them. Loved them raw and now anxious to see how they do in baking. I like my apples extra crisp so always look for those types.

                          1. These are by FAR my favorite apple and for that matter, converted me from someone who'd occasionally eat an apple because I should, to someone who could easily live off these things. I liked them ok, but they just weren't my favorite fruit were apples. The first time I had one of the HC's a few years back (I'm in Nova Scotia), I was hooked.

                            I've noticed them showing up in the grocery stores from time to time, but they are far smaller than the market stall variety, which I can barely finish one of without feeling stuffed, those are massive.

                            Every time they come out in the fall, I go nuts for them. And the short time they're around, always puts me in mind of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer was going nuts for those peaches.

                            I have never cooked them, but I almost think it'd be a shame to. ..they are just so wonderful on their own. Now I think I'll go see if I can get some !

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: im_nomad

                              Love HC. Been getting them for $2/lb here in Portland at the farmers' market. Just outstanding.

                              Yes, when Kramer waits all year for the "Mackinaw peaches from Oregon"...no such thing...we have lovely peaches, but no such variety.

                            2. Just tried my first honey crisp apples last week. I think I found a new favorite! It's too bad I hear their harvest period is ending soon for the season. I fell in love too late!

                              1. I used to get them from a farmers market in Jersey City. They were the biggest, fattest, juiciest apples I ever had. They used to sell them for $1.99 lb. Unfortunately since Morton-Williams opened up, Lefrak Mgmt (which owns half the property there) wouldn't renew the farmer's market contract. My heart is broken.

                                1. Honeycrisp apples are the BEST!!! I live in UPstate NY (Near Syracuse)We are able to buy them at aroadside stand for $.99 a pound!!! I kid you not! Also there is an Apple Festival this weekend here so they are really cheap there!!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gramreid

                                    Just got a bunch at Bishops Orchard in Guilford CT. Paid $2.00/lb but worth it

                                  2. They showed up last week in South Dakota at the grocery stores. Prices right now are about $1.69 a pound but they will be $3.50 a pound in a few weeks. None of the local growers have them. Does anyone know where we could get a honeycrisp tree in spring?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: blackpointyboots

                                      So how do honeycrisps compare to Fuji apples?

                                      1. re: PegS

                                        Similar in appearance and texture. Fuji are more tart.

                                        1. re: PegS

                                          I'd say that fujis have generally heavier flesh. Honeycrisps are lighter, but pack a wallop of a crunch.

                                          1. re: PegS

                                            I actually think Fujis are more sweet, but not in a cloying way, more in an "red apple sweet" way ... if that makes any sense.

                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                              Honey Crisps mixed with an heirloom like a 20 oz blessing makes a wonderful apple pie, especially if served with a wedge of Grafton VT chedder cheese.

                                          2. I just bought them at Wegman's in Downingtown (PA) for $2.99/lb. They're everything I look for in an apple -- crisp, sweet-tart, and bursting with flavor. Although I haven't cooked with them, I'm sure they can stand up to heat as well.

                                            1. They are my very favorite eating apple, but they have become very expensive this year, for what ever reason I don't know. We grow them in Michigan, and they are $1.99 a lb at the farmers market!!

                                              1. I was at Costco today and they were selling an 8 pack. They were 99 cents a pound and tasted great!!!!

                                                1. yay ! finally got mine and had my first one this morning straight from the annapolis valley orchards in Nova Scotia.

                                                  also got a few of another variety to try that I can't remember the name of....very pale yellow (not the ginger gold's)..haven't tried them yet.

                                                  1. jfood went to a Cub food store in MSP last night and they were $2.49/lb. Aren't they grown out here? In CT they are $1.49.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      They are grown out here. I think Cub is expensive for everything. You can get them cheaper at some farmers markets or even Target. I will stick with the Costco ones for 99 cents a pound,

                                                    2. I just bought them at the commissary (military grocery store) for $2.29/lb which is RIDICULOUS. That means that I paid $2.08 for two medium sized apples. I much prefer the larger and sweeter fuji apples, however these are incredibly crispy. I just don't see what all the fuss is about ):

                                                      If they were a bit sweeter than I'd prefer them to the fuji, but the fuji wins hands down at least for me

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: bitsubeats

                                                        Maybe all honeycrisps are not alike. Maybe even some honeycrisps are not really honeycrisps?
                                                        Shortly after posted about them above, I returned to one of the stores where I usually buy them and bought some more. They looked smaller and were not nearly as sweet or crispy as the ones I had bought before from the same store, even though the little label on them was the same. I also bought some Fuji apples to compare them directly and thought the Fujis were sweeter.

                                                        I'm wondering whether there was a switcheroo somewhere along the way between the farm and the market (recall the recent threads about mislabeled fish). Or is this just a case of some farms, even some specific trees or tree lines, yielding tastier versions of the same fruit varietals?

                                                        1. re: racer x

                                                          You answered your own question there...

                                                          Fruit; apples, peaches, winegrapes, they all all produce differently from year to year, day to day, and plant to plant. They all have a different interplay with soil, sunlight, and irrigation. Great growers have the know how to produce awesome crops. Sometime the weather helps them, other times it is their greatest enemy.

                                                      2. Yes, I bought a honeycrisp this weekend and totally enjoyed it today for my 4 o'clock p.m. healthy snack while still at work...paid f'ing $2.49 per pound for it and it was really too big for me to eat so I gave 1/2 of it away to a co-worker...does anyone else out there HATE how big apples and baking potatoes are now??? I mean, the baking potatoes sold individually in our Publix could feed 4 people, I kid you not...no wonder Americans are so overweight, even our produce is super-sized. If I buy a BAG of apples, then they're all mealy (here in Florida, I think it's a mistake to buy apples in bulk...cold storage is hit or miss depending on the grocery store.)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Val

                                                          lucky you, my apple was kind of small and yes I agree with apples being way too big. very rarely can I finish a fuji apple in one sitting.

                                                          1. re: Val

                                                            I for one do not hate how big honeycrisps can be, it's one of the things i love about them.

                                                            I'm pretty sure big apples and potatoes are not contributing to the weight problems of America.

                                                          2. I love honey crisps!!! Discovered them last year. They're fantastic.

                                                            1. I've tried Honey Crisp a few times this season, and although I like them, they're not as crisp and sweet-tart as my old standby Braeburn.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Jocelyn P

                                                                honeycrisp, the name of the apple, is one word.

                                                                cheese; cake; cheesecake-- three distinct and different foods

                                                                honey; crisp; honeycrisp-- three distinct and different foods

                                                                a honey crisp is a naturally sweetened crumb topped dessert. HONEYCRISP (one word) is the name of the apple.

                                                                sorry to insist on getting the name right. my mom sold this apple for the u of m when it only had a number, no name, before it was the state fruit, before any of you had heard of it, so i suppose i feel like it's a relative or something. ;-P

                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeycrisp

                                                              2. One word or two, they're delicious. But expensive this year.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                  I actually can't tell you how much I paid for mine...and i'm not sure I cared !

                                                                2. A newer variety is now appearing in eastern Massachusetts - SunCrisp - a cross between Golden Delicious (the eastern kind) and Cox Orange Pippin. Huge, hard, very meaty (somewhat grainy in the sense that your teeth marks show), with a lot of the bouquet of late season apples. Because it has a bit of the wonderfully scabby skin of the pippin/russet family of apples, it's not likely to be sold in supermarkets because too many Americans don't realize how wonderfully that family of apples (once the dominant type of American apple) is.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                    Just bought some Suncrisps today at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC--my first encounter with this variety. They caught my attention because they were right next to the Honeycrisps (which was what I came for). Delicious! As a footnote to the pricing discussion: the Honeycrisps were $2 per pound and the Suncrisps were $1.75. Almost seemed like a bargain, since Honeycrisps were $2.99 a couple of weeks ago at a farmers' market in upstate NY.

                                                                  2. Finally got some honeycrisps today at Sweetbay Supermarket for $1.99 a pound. This is an exceptionally good batch from Washington--perfect size too; definitely not too big. While slicing it I was hit with the aroma of apple cider, and that's exactly how it tasted. Concentrated, sweet with a punch of tang. It's one of the quintessential flavors of autumn.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: EmmaToo

                                                                      Just finished eating one...thought my little brother was nuts when I saw how expensive they were compared to what else is available, but I'm hooked now!

                                                                      1. re: teenytinytina

                                                                        I found them today in Brooklyn $1.39 per pound. I had to buy a bunch.

                                                                    2. I thought since it's the season, I'd revive this thread.

                                                                      My local cheap-y grocery store advertised Honeycrisps this week at $.99. But when I looked this morning, they were nowhere to be found. Just stopped at my local tiny farmstand this afternoon for some tomatoes, and they had a small basket of Honeycrisps for $1.75 a piece. Since it was in my brain, and I remembered this old thread, I bought two. Just ate half of one, and I am in love! It tastes like it was dipped in honey! I only ate half because I am hoarding the rest until tomorrow, when I hope I can get more.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Honeycrisp apples are fine. I've nothing against them. I just wish Honeycrisps hadn't taken over 60 percent of all available MSP grocery store apple shelf space. I want my tried and true Haralson apples, dagnabbit. The formerly ubiquitous Haralson is now almost impossible to find thanks to the popularity of the Honeycrisp.

                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                          Just the opposite here, although maybe not for long! I've heard about these for years and was so stoked to find them, thought I'd never see the day. Wonder where they're coming from?

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            I went back to the store that advertised them at 99 cents, and a friend I ran into found them away from the other apples. I bought 8 and it came out to about $5, so about 1/3 the price. They advertise their apples as NY State: the farmer I got them from was closed due to the rain so I couldn't ask him, although I eventually will. Anyway these are actually juicier, although the honey flavor is very slightly less. So glad I've been seeing these posts for the last few years or I would never have tried them.

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              WOW! I am incredibly jealous! I can only find them around here at $2.99/lb! Stock up!! haha
                                                                              Honeycrisps are my absolute favorite apple- Im so excited that they are back!

                                                                      2. Found them for about $2/lb at costco last weekend. They are outstanding.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Soup

                                                                          Thank you so the Costco heads-up! I'm on my way on Monday, hope the one in Vegas I go to has them.

                                                                          I just love Honeycrisp apples. Totally worth the extra $$ to me.

                                                                        2. For those who wonder how Honeycrisps do in cooking, they hold their shape very well, so contribute body to pie filling when mixed with a flavorful-but-soft apple like Macoun. The apples I'm buying in MA this season are juicy but with watered-down flavor compared to most years, doubtless another victim of the poor growing conditions this summer.

                                                                          Honeycrisps are great for juiciness and texture but I prefer the tartness of Macouns - the true apple analog of the Mackinaw peach, if you ask me. Macouns are at their best for just a few weeks beginning in mid-September, maybe even shorter a prime season than Macintoshes, and are not keepers. Honeycrisps are very good keepers, so you can stock up when they are in supply, using them at your leisure..

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            Yeah, our local apples are watered down in flavor; I am hoping that late-season varieties will be more influenced by the relative dryness since August began.

                                                                            My favorite new apple variety is SunCrisp. They are a late season apple. Then ones I had last year were incredible - when fresh, very hard, meaty, incredible bouquet. I happily ate them through the winter, and then I found one in my crisper on Memorial Day weekend this year and it was STILL good - just a hint of alcohol to it and about the texture of a Macoun. I love late season apples (Russets and Pippins) but I've never had a keeper past winter like this. Anyway, I won't be shocked if this year's late season apples are subpar.

                                                                            Western NY state, by contrast, is having its best apple year ever, according to my family in Rochester.

                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              I like the Russets too. I often overbuy - one year, which had a fairly mild winter, the following apples spent the winter in a cooler on my porch, and though soft , 5 months later were still usable for applesauce: Yellow Newtown Pippin, Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Pomme Gris, Wagener, and Granny Smith (all from Gould HIll in NH). Pomme Gris are a treat - tiny russet with crunch and taste akin to Bosc pears. I also love their Chestnut Crabapples but have no idea if they keep as I eat them right away.

                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                I've also heard that Michigan is having a bumper apple crop this year due to the cool and somewhat damp summer we just...enjoyed (NOT).

                                                                                We've bought some honeycrisps from the farmers market and they've been darn good. Still marginally more expensive than other apples, though.

                                                                            2. these have started to make their appearance in the grocery stores around here now, but they're smaller than the annapolis valley apples that will be on their way shortly. I've been happily eating the supermarket variety , but I can't wait to find the ones that are half the size of your head !! They sell them at the store just down the road and i've been watching it like a hawk, lol.

                                                                              I never price them, because I love them so much, I honestly don't care. Like greygarious..I have cooked with them too, with satisfactory results.

                                                                              1. tried the new sweetango apple (honeycrisp crossed with zestar). very sweet and nice-- made a little splash at the farmer's mkt. i still prefer honeycrisp but some relatives liked the sweetango better. folks might want to check out this new apple variety as it hits the markets in their areas. :)

                                                                                http://www.sweetango.com/

                                                                                1. I adore honey crisp apples. Just bought some at one of the DC farmers' markets last week. They were HUGE, crisp, and incredibly honey-ish. Yum.

                                                                                  1. I love apples, but I am in love with Honey Crisp apples. I look forward to them all year and will pay an ungodly price for them.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: KristieB

                                                                                      Oh dear. I think you are in danger of being spanked by soupkitten in very short order.

                                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                                            LMAO!!! omg i did sort of tweak out about the one word 2 word thing, but on many of my better days i'm not such a stick in the mud pedantic dweeb! it's supposed to be one word but everybody knows what everyone else is talking about. it's all good!

                                                                                            does everyone think i'm totally nuts? wait--don't answer that, please! ;-P

                                                                                    2. All the Chowhounds were raving about the Honey Crisp Apple, so we had to try them. The results of our taste test, with our 4 family members:
                                                                                      3 of us felt like it was a nice, average apple. My wife was more impressed, but for all her enjoyment, it did not shake Gala Apples or Fuji Apples from the top of her favorites list.
                                                                                      The Honey Crisp is too big. Maybe too much of a good thing. About halfway through eating the apple, I thought, "will this apple never end?" From there, finishing it was more of a chore. My favorite remains the humble Macintosh.

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                        Give them another try next year. Certainly in the northeast, the cold and wet weather through July means the apples are large but have watered-down flavor. Perhaps the later-picked varieties will fare better but the Honeycrisps, Macouns, and Empires (my favorites) are not optimal this season.

                                                                                        1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                          I know what you mean about the Honey Crisps being too big. The ones I bought recently are all well over a pound. I can only eat about a half at a time. Still they are really, really crispy with just about the right amount of sweeteness. I'm also a fan of Fuji and Granny Smith Apples.

                                                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                            I know how you feel. They are ungodly big some years. The first year I discovered them they were a nice, manageable size. A little larger than a tennis ball. The past few years they have been larger.

                                                                                            1. re: KristieB

                                                                                              Btw, eating them with peanut butter helps the oversized problem. That bit of fat makes it easy to eat the whole apple.

                                                                                            2. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                              Like most fruit, you may have to try a few of them before you fully realize what they should taste like. The one I ate yesterday wasn't very good, in general though, they have been great.

                                                                                              1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                They come in all sizes. I just picked up 5 lbs and it worked out to be about 14 apples. I have seen the giant ones, and know what you're talking about, but they are not all huge.

                                                                                                I'd rate my faves as:
                                                                                                1. Honeycrisp
                                                                                                2. Fuji
                                                                                                3. Muthu

                                                                                                For eating, I could never finish a Macintosh. Wouldn't even consider them an eater. The flesh is not firm enough for me.

                                                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                  I get Macintosh at the farmstand near here that they grow themselves and they are as juicy as anything, yet really crunchy. Almost too juicy. But the ones you buy in the grocery store....especially if it's not the beginning of the season, I never touch them.

                                                                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                    I'm with you on the #1 and #2 favorites of Honeycrisp and Fujji apples! I'm not familiar with Muthu apples though. What are they like?

                                                                                                    Also, someone recently mentioned a delicious wine-ish tasting apple to me, and I can't recall the name! Anyone know what it might be?

                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                      Winesap? Only available just about now.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                        That's probably Mutsu (also called Crispin). A large, firm, yellow-green apple.
                                                                                                        As to your other question, perhaps Winesap?

                                                                                                        Wherever you live, it's worth finding out what local orchards are growing because none grow EVERY variety. What you find in supermarkets is grown because it looks attractive and travels well. There are delicious varieties that keep very well, but aren't grown commercially because they aren't pretty and the powers that be don't think we'll buy them. Pomme Gris, for example, is a small Russet type (non-shiny brown skin, like a Bosc pear) with great crunch and an apple-pear taste.
                                                                                                        Apples are very hybridized, which means if you plant seeds from your favorite fruit, what grows won't be that same apple. Commercial orchards create their stock by grafting, an when they get an accidental unnamed new variety they may choose to continue it - the Honeycrisp's history is one of major serendipity. The original tree had been deemed unpromising but accidentally NOT dug up. Ignored, it produced some fruit. Someone picked a few and forgot one atop a fireplace mantel. Some time later, someone noticed it, realized that although it had been subjected to a lot of heat it was still firm, and tasted it. Last year when I bought some from a grower, he told me that the Honeycrisp is unusual because it needs to sit outdoors for a week or so after picking in order to "season" it and develop the flavor.

                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                          Maybe winesap, but I'm not sure. I think I would have remembered that name.

                                                                                                          And I do try to buy from local orchards (Washington DC/Virginia area) as much as possible. The local honeycrisps are outstanding, but I don't think the red delicious or Rome apples are anywhere near as good as the ones I've had in New York state.

                                                                                                          That is interesting about the honeyrisps becoming "seasoned". The few that I've bought at the supermarket seemed a lot less flavorful than the ones I've been buying at farmers' markets, and it could be due to not only being refrigerated during transport, but also possibly because they aren't yet ready to eat.

                                                                                                        2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                          My bad -
                                                                                                          Mutsu apple is what I meant. A tiny bit less crisp than a fuji. I only do super crisp apples. I just can't eat soft ones. Ultra crisp or it's for cooking, imo.

                                                                                                          1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                            Mutsu! OK, thanks. I need to try it. I love crisp & crunchy apples too.