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Anyone "jazzed" about new apple varieties?

I bought a new-to-me variety of apple the other day: the Jazz(tm). It's a new apple from New Zealand (although the one I bought was grown in Washington), produced by crossing Royal Gala and Braeburn varietals. To me, it combines the best aspects of both: the firm, crisp texture of a Braeburn with the strong apple flavor of the Gala. Anyone else tried it? Anyone else have any other "new" apples they've discovered this apple season?


(And does anyone even say "jazzed" anymore?)

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  1. I'll be interested to try this "Jazz" apple. My favorite is the Gala, so it will be interesting to taste.

    Last week, I picked up a "Pink Lady", which I had never seen before - the skin was so vibrant! No idea if this is new or been around for awhile...

    5 Replies
    1. re: akp

      I had a Pink Lady a few weeks ago, and it was fabulous.

      1. re: pikawicca

        I've been buying Pink Ladies for several years now, and they are hands-down the best apples for the money. Always crisp, slighty tart but also super-sweet, and, strangely, especially tasty when I leave one in my hot car during the day for a warm apple treat on the drive home. They aren't available for about 2 months each year, and they usually try to replace them with Pacific Rose in the grocery store. That one's very blah; it basically taste like water.

        1. re: pikawicca

          I've seen Pink Lady's/Cripps Pink but haven't tried them. What do they taste like? I know they are a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. Does the Golden Delicious overwhelm the Lady Williams (which is tart and crisp similar to Granny Smith and Jonathan's)?

          Personally I dislike both Red and Golden Delicious, both in flavor and texture.

          1. re: JMF

            I'm not fond of red or golden's either, but I love the Pink Lady variety. They're basically sweet, crisp, and a bit tart, very enjoyable. Also Two River's brewery made a Pink Lady cider a while back that was one of the best ciders I've had.

            1. re: JMF

              The Pink Lady's I purchased this year were tart and very crisp.
              I found last years to be much sweeter.

        2. I had a "Honey Crisp" a couple of weeks ago and can't find anymore! The name is perfect - sweet, juicy and very crisp. It had a nice light "snap" when bitten. The skin wasn't thick, like some. I don't know if it's new, but it's *good*.

          15 Replies
          1. re: EssQ

            I also enjoyed some excellent Honey Crisp apples this fall. Light, juicy, and crispy. They are not tart and the skin is not tough. Similar to a Fuji but a bit better.

            1. re: interference

              Here, here. I got giddy on honeycrisps all Fall. They are just a perfect apple to me :-) I have to say none of them made it into any cooking though - I was too busy eating them with good cheese for lunch every day!

              1. re: jcanncuk

                I love Honey Crisp apples too, but here in the midwest, we can only get them for a while in the fall. Guess I'll have to "settle" now and just eat Pink Lady's!

            2. re: EssQ

              Believe it or not, the 'red snake' is carrying Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, Jazz, and Ambrosia. All have that yellow with a pink blush skin and are mild in their tartness, but have a nice crispness with a thin skin. The Ambrosia is nice for salads. The rest I just like to eat. However, when it comes to a nice wedge of aged Canadian sharp cheddar (okay, Vermont as well) - not that yellowed cheese common in US grocery stores - I still enjoy an apple with a bit more acidity - Red Delicious and Granny Smith.

              1. re: SanseiDesigns

                I love Granny Smith (and Pippin, which is even better) but I hate Red Delicious, even when it's perfect and organic and I've taken it off the tree and washed it, it tastes like "mushy".

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Oh, that is so undfortunate. I grew up in pear/apple country and red delicious is still a favourite when it is crisp, crunchy, sweet, with a hint of 'greeness' to it. I don't care for mushy apples either. Fortunately many producer grocers offer tastes if requested; even the big guys.

                1. re: EssQ

                  and a good thing too. it'll be back next season, but it does not keep. ;-)

                  1. re: EssQ

                    Here in SoCal Trader Joe's has Honeycrisps the size of an infant's head for $1.29 each. Much better than the Fujis we used to get. One out of maybe ten will be a little insipid, but generally they're not only perfectly crisp but taste like the best cider I've ever had. Half of one per person is just right for finishing up breakfast.

                    None of the other new or newish varieties I've tried even come close. And when the supply runs out, well, it's navel orange season!

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      H Mart, the Korean Supermarket chain, has Honeycrisps that size this year. $1.49 lb, and each weighs almost a pound. Actually one is too much to eat by oneself. But they taste so good.

                      1. re: JMF

                        It's strange to me that people are describing Honeycrisps as being big. I buy them fairly often and they've always been the same size as other apples. I've even bought small ones.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          There is no single standard size for apples so I'm a little perplexed also. Apples come in a range of sizes and its up to the retailer to select the sizes that they purchase for sale.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            My regular grocer has normal sized Honeycrisps, but the ones from H Mart are the largest apples I have ever seen. They weigh 14-18 oz. each. I have a difficult time finishing one of these monsters as a snack. Add a hunk of cheddar and it becomes a meal.

                            1. re: JMF

                              A 14 to 18 oz apple as a snack? Anything over 7 oz gets cut in half for me and is two snacks, unless I'm really hungry and expecting the next meal to be several hours away. I usually go crazy buying Asian greens, etc., at Super H Mart and may have never paid attention to their apple selections but I don't think I've ever seen one that big. The biggest apples I've ever taken home, and only because I had no choice, were 10 oz.

                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                              At the stores where I shop, a choice of sizes of Gala - small or large - is pretty common. Occasionally I will also see a choice of sizes of Fuji but for other varieties almost never and large is the default. (Other people's experience even in the same city may be different, I guess).

                      2. I love the Jazz. I just bought a couple myself and really liked it. Very crisp like a granny but also sweet.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            I've always found Fujis to be rather flavorless -- they're all about the texture. This is a much more flavorful apple, IMHO.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I really like Fuji's ... well early Fuji's ... it seems that Fuji's are going the way of Delicious apples. Their popularity seems to be getting the flavor bred out of them. It is pretty hit and miss these days about getting a flavorful Fuji.

                              Even at their best, a Fuji wasn't at all like like a Jazz. A Fuji, to me was a nice sweet apple with a solid texture.

                              The Jazz is the soul of the apple ... the definition of the word apple.

                              OMG ... this is the best apple I’ve had in so long ... if an apple could take steroids to bring it to perfection ... this would be the super-star of apples ... crispy and full of juice ... as fragrant as apple blossoms ... delicately balancing between tart and sweet. Fans of both types of apples would love this. It made me stop and pay attention and have a little respect for what I was biting into.

                              Out of almost a dozen heirlooms, this new apple was the only truly memorable one, though there were a lot of tasty apples ... Swiss Gourmet. Ashmead’s Kernel, Cinnamon Spice, Crimson Gold, Liberty, Candy Crisp, Philo Gae, Sweet Orin, Skinner Seedless and Pacific ... and a few old favs like Spartan.

                              In the middle of this apple orgy, I came across a really great site that seems to list most of the varieties of apples, where they originated, when they are in season and what they look and taste like. Very cool

                              Apple Journal

                              A few examples of the actual descriptions ...
                              with pictures
                              table format without pictures

                            2. Interesting - I always thought the Braeburn was more of a flavor apple, and a Gala more sweet.

                              Im afraid that all of these new varieties are essentially Japanese oriented, about crisp texture and looks more than apple flavor.

                              Honeycrisp for example I find unbearably tasteless.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jen kalb

                                We ate some honey crisp last year in Toronto, right off the tree at an orchard. It was a fantastic apple, with almost citrusy, bright flavors. But the ones I've bought here in stores (in SoFla) are not anywhere near as good.

                                1. re: diablita FL

                                  Yes, they don't age well and are best young and fresh.

                              2. Thanks for the info. If I had to choose, my favorite eating apple is Braeburn, so I'll have to see how these Jazz compare...

                                I've discovered the Black Twig apple this year. I believe it may be the same as Arkansas Blacks?

                                1. One that's often hard to find but soo good is the Winesap. They're a gorgeous dark red, with a complex, winey taste (hence the name). Every once in a while, my mom and I make a trip out to Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville to buy them.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: operagirl

                                    hello, you bring up a great point that sheds light on why folks have very different impressions of the 'same' apple. Winesap is an older (by 100 or more yrs) variety with a relatively short season and limited storage potential. Clearly, the varieties coming from N.Zealand adapt well to the storage/transport technology(which may include paraffin and inert gases) available, and modern breeds developed with commercial potential consider those factors in their hybridisation. The ideal (of course not often practicable) time/place to assess an apple is in its (non-preserved/gassed)season and growing area, so I hope everyone tasting stuff otherwise sees the difference between a fruit's native qualities, and how those qualities hold up or not to transport/storage. cheers of the season

                                    1. re: moto

                                      Stayman Winesaps hold up pretty well in home storage. As with all winter apples, they lose crispness over time while developing flavor. Indeed, winter apples were never supposed to be used when they were rock hard at harvest but allowed to mellow in the fruit cellar. I buy a peck or two from Michigan or Indiana at Chicago farmers' markets in October and can keep them in pretty good shape in a basement refrigerator, not set as cold as the kitchen fridge, into late January or early February.

                                      1. re: Eldon Kreider

                                        My parents have generally been successful carrying over apples such as Jonathans and recently Honeycrisp in their basement refrig into the following summer, as long as there was some moisture in the refrig - their old wetwall refrig was best, but putting the apples in a thickwalled garbage bag and adding perhaps some moistened paper towels works too.

                                      2. re: moto

                                        This is exactly why we love going to the Gizdich Ranch! There, you can always be sure you're buying what's in season in their orchards. Their website even lists the seasonal availability of each variety.

                                      3. re: operagirl

                                        I think winesaps are my favorite. And I like the name too!

                                        1. re: prunefeet

                                          I'm a sucker for Black Twig apples as well.

                                      4. Also there are several varieties of Winesap. The original Winesap is aalmost impossible to find, but Stayman Winesaps are available here and there, and are other winesap crossbreeds, all usually sold as winesap, but with rather different flavor profiles.

                                        1. If you had tasteless Honeycrisps or Fujis, then you've unfortunately just had bad batches. I find that all apples really reflect a lot of seasonal variance. Honeycrips, for example, are an earlier apple than many of the others, so I got the best ones in September, I think. Well, it was the beginning of fall.

                                          Also, if I cheaped out and got conventionally grown ones from Washington or something, they were much blander than when I got the amazing ones from Minnesota or even more local ones from the Farmer's market around here.

                                          The real lesson I've learned is that the fresher and more local the apple, the stronger the flavor. Plus some apples keep pretty darn well, so if you hit up the Farmer's Markets and get lots of apples, you might be able to find a great storage solution and have apples most of winter.

                                          PS. Anyone know anything about the Pinova apple? It's been our family's "holy grail" in a sense... I'm the apple freak, but my brother found these a few years ago at a small market that is since out of business. He said they were the best apples he's ever had, and unfortunately we haven't found them since, so I haven't even tried them.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: annimal

                                            I had a Pinova last month in western Washington state. I bought it because I'd never seen one before. It was great, and, as I remember it, not too different from a Pink Lady. Maybe less tart.

                                          2. One of the best parts about living in Vermont is the availability of heirloom apples that range from cloyingly sweet to super tart. Last week I picked up some Esopus Spitzenburg, Sheep's Nose and Rhode Island greenings at our local co-op...you gotta love them just for the names.
                                            Personally I find most of the "standardized" apples rather tasteless and mealy, why bother.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: chilihead

                                              Can you describe a sheep's nose? I'm imaginging one of the bulbous types but have no idea about its flavor

                                              1. re: thinks too much

                                                I realize this thread has risen from the dead (for Easter, appropriately enough), but since your 2006 question went unanswered: several years ago I went to an heirloom apple orchard in NH (Gould Hill Orchard) and bought 3 of everything, then took notes after ating one fresh, baking one, and making a tartlet with the 3rd. My notes say the Sheepnose is moderately firm, not juicy, mild in flavor, and bland in the tartlet. Its shape is like an elongated Delicious apple, tapering to a rather narrow bottom, so that it resembles a sheep's head in profile. The skin is very dark red. It is not a variety I'd buy again. Some of the heirlooms were cultivated because of when they ripened, how well they stored, and other reasons despite not having premium taste or texture.

                                            2. I miss the Macoun apples already...such a short season. This year, I froze 3 dozen for later use (I'm finally learning).

                                              I'll have to keep an eye out for the new Jazz :)

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                Oh, I love Macouns! I got hooked on an October visit to NJ a couple of years ago, but they're hard to find out here in CA (I do know one specialty apple producer that has them). I actually schlepped several pounds of them back from CT this fall.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  Aren't they a keeper! Love that light crisp, ready to eat bite everytime!

                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                  Huh? You can freeze apples to keep them fresh? Tell me more!

                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                    sliced, frozen indiv, then bagged.
                                                    defrosted to use for pies, sauces, baked crisps
                                                    No issue with aging.

                                                3. ack! you all are making me jealous! I unfortunately started a work/class schedule that prevents me from hitting up farmer's markets and I wasn't able to get so much of the local produce this year... grrr.

                                                  1. I love Northern Spys or crosses of Spys for baking as they are tart and flavorful. You have to find them at a farmers market for the most part. We took a trip to Red Wing MN this fall and hit the apple trail for lots of great apples. Has anyone had Winter Banannas? They have a taste which barely brings to mind a bannana.Grimes Golden are another variety I miss.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: fryrose

                                                      Spies are the best. I had a friend with a winter banana tree, now gone - it was a good apple, not noticeably bananalike though.

                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                        If you ever find Wolf River, they're an even better pie apple than Spy. They're also huge, some of the biggest apples I've ever seen. It's amusing when someone praises the apple pie and asks for the recipe - there's nothing special in the making, it's just a better apple.

                                                        1. re: HenryT

                                                          Our old landlord in Olympia WA grows Wolf River apples, I've never seen them outside of the Northwest.

                                                      2. re: fryrose

                                                        Grimes Golden is still produced although past until next October. Seedling Fruit (seedlingfruit.com) sells them at several Chicago farmers' markets.

                                                      3. Comfort me with apples - Song of Solomon

                                                        Russets are my all-time favorite apple. Brown with a textured skin and so many flavors. They're late in the season, so I wade through all the others.

                                                        Macouns I only like through September; after that they lose their flavor. And honeycrisps are pleasant, but I think they're overrated.

                                                        But there are so many varieties. Northern Spies for tangy tastiness. Arkansas blacks for a dark, crisp beauty. Baldwins. Spitzenbergs. Ginger golds. New York 427's (I've only seen them once and would love to revisit them.) Pink ladies I enjoyed in Australia, and don't for some reason in this country. The floral-scented mutzus. Pippins which don't have as hard a skin as the Granny Smiths.

                                                        1. Last year I went up to Apple Hill (east of Sacramento, CA) and had a mutsu for the first time, and liked it so much that I bought a box (20 lbs.). This year, I went back and got two boxes. Sweet, crisp, juicy, and stores really well. Mutsus are now my favorite apple, displacing fujis. (I don't like tart apples.)

                                                          I recently tried a honeycrisp for the first time, and it was sweet, crisp, and tasted like...soap. I was so disappointed.

                                                          1. Anyone who wants to get "jazzed" about apples needs to read the "Apple" part of Michael Pollan's book _The Botany_of _Desire.

                                                            Then, talk apples! You will see how shortchanged we are in the apple market.

                                                            1. All you apple lovin' CHs have made John Chapman very happy,

                                                              1. Tried Jazz last year...wow great! I also tried a Pink Lady apple and ended up buying the tree at my local nursery...a very nice apple also. Jazz is only sold to apple grower's for production....not sold to home gardener's. But is worth buying for the wonderful flavour. Growing my old european orange pippin graft on semi-dwarf root stock....which i got from a specialty apple co. outta OR. We'll see if it measures up. Does anyone know why Honeycrisp trees vary in coloration and taste so much? I have an early tree 7 yrs. old and 10 yrs. old which look totally different from the store bought honeycrisp and slightly different taste.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: mishkacat

                                                                  A grower who was selling his Honeycrisps at a farmer's market told me that Honeycrisps need to sit for a couple of weeks (as I recall that was the interval) to "cure" into their optimum flavor before being sold/consumed.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    I disagree about Honeycrisps needing to cure. Sure the marketers say they are a long lasting storage apple, but the flavor fades rapidly and the crispiness, juiciness, and other textural components fade after a month. (I consulted to an apple orchard making hard cider a few years ago and worked with the owner who had a MS in Pomology. Marketing vs. reality...) I've eaten them straight off the tree, a week or two old, and several weeks and several months old. They do not improve with age. They lose acidity and get too sweet and 'flabby' as they age, losing crunch and juiciness. Honeycrisp need to be eaten within a month for best flavor and texture.

                                                                    Right now I have been making my way through a bushel that I have been keeping in cold storage, and each day they are losing quality, although at six+ weeks they are still better than any other apple out on the market.

                                                                2. For a foodie site, this thread is surprising: most of the varieties that have been nominated are ones that are low in acidity and very sweet and, for that reason, have been selected by supermarkets to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator palate.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mugen

                                                                    Why don't you say something constructive and share your favorites?

                                                                    1. re: mugen

                                                                      I agree with Ruth. Why don't you suggest some other varieties? Since the thread is about new varieties, the ones discussed are likely going to ones that people can actually find. If you have been able to find others, please share so the rest of us plebes can look for them too.

                                                                      PS: Not trying to be mean. I too prefer tart apples to sweet apples, and would love to learn about some new ones.

                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                        Nice to see this thread revived!

                                                                        I used to like tart apples for snacking back in the day, and I would be happy with a good ol' Granny Smith, McIntosh or Cortland. Crisp and tart, with a clean taste.

                                                                        Now my tastes have changed, and prefer sweeter, crisp ones with a pronounced floral taste. Pink Lady and Gala come to mind, also some others whose names I cannot remember now.

                                                                        However, not all Pink Ladies are alike. I have come across some totally flavourless (and soggy!) ones, and others that are pure heaven. I believe it has a lot to do with freshness and storage, as well as breed. I have a hunch that growers and marketers give different varieties the same names.

                                                                    2. yellow transparent (old variety, pacific nw) is best for pie!

                                                                      we also readily get Ambrosia now for eating - delish all round

                                                                      Ambrosias are not a New Zealand import breed - they are Cdn - http://www.ambrosiaapples.com/the-amb...

                                                                      1. The "Sweetie" from Washington was introduced this year. Absolutely awesome. A very sweet, crisp apple that is a normal size; not like the ginormous over-rated & over-priced Honeycrisp.

                                                                        1. I bought Jazz apples for the first time yesterday and am underwhelmed. Like Honeycrisp, their appeal is more the texture and juiciness than the actual flavor, which is as boring as Golden Delicious. I much prefer Macoun, Granny Smith, and other tart-sweet apples.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            A Pink Lady has firm flesh with tart and sweet happening simultaneously.

                                                                          2. I just picked up some "Pinatas" from WF yesterday. It's grown specifically by Stemilt Growers in Washington state and is a cross between Golden Delicious, Cox's Orange Pippin, and the Duchess of Oldenburg varieties.

                                                                            That said, the flavor was light, too much Golden Delicious in the cross, and has a tough peel that made chewing onerous. I won't pick up any more of these. It's too bad because if the cross showed more of the Cox's Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg I can see it being wonderful, but not maybe something the general consumer would like.

                                                                            1. My favs: Fugi, HoneyCrisp and the KIKU. All of them have a clean crisp taste. For a very unusal home grown New York State apple, try the Macoun. It has a very short season and is hard to find.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: eramah

                                                                                I like the flavor of the Macoun, but it doesn't age well. It gets mushy very fast. Get them fresh and eat them within a couple days, or don't bother.

                                                                                1. re: cantkick

                                                                                  Good point. Like many fruits, they have a prime time for eating and the macoun is one you eat right away...and know your supplier. Thanks for mentioned that point, cantkick. It is important.

                                                                                2. re: eramah

                                                                                  I never heard of them when I lived in western NY, nor when growing up on Long Island, but Macouns are readily available in New England. In the Boston area, if not farther afield, supermarkets have them from September until they are gone, though of course by late October they are no longer crisp. Then again, the ubiquitous Macintosh is a poor keeper, too. I think Macouns have a lot more complexity than Honeycrisps, analagous to the difference between unfiltered apple cider (M) and apple juice (H).

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    I've bought Macouns in western New Jersey and Connecticut. They are now occasionally available out here on the West Coast, too, The problem is, as noted, that they don't keep well. When I buy them I make sure they haven't started to get soft. In addition, according to my favorite specialty apple grower, they're terrior sensitive and also tend to have good years and bad years.

                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      Grey... the Macoun apple is one of the varieties grown at the Alfalfa Farm Vineyards, just off Rte 1 N in Topsfield. They're fabulous right off the tree. There's usually a sandwich board sign on the left at the intersection of North St. and Rte. 1 in the Autumn when apple picking is available..


                                                                                  2. Good to see this thread revived. Last year I tried two new (to me and the NW) varieties: Junami and the above mentioned Kiku. Junami was simply the best apple I'd ever tasted until I tried the Kiku. Both had an exceptional balance of tart and sweet with a very full apple flavor, both very crisp and juicy. Kiku got the slight edge for being sweeter, but the added tartness of the Junami made it, as claimed by its distributor, possibly the most thirst-quenching apple ever.

                                                                                    When I lived in the NE my absolute favorites were Fortune (Red) and Crispin/Mutsu (Yellow).

                                                                                    Personally not a fan of Jazz, Ambrosia or Honeycrisp. None to me live up to their reputations. But I always make it a policy to try every new apple I can find. Pinata was also a disappointment. None of the new varieties seem to have much flavor.

                                                                                    Shockingly, up here we can occasionally get pretty good Red Deliciouses and Macs. Like most everyone, I'd grown up with mealy nasty flavorless samples with tough bitter skins and was blown away to sometimes find them up here that are explodingly juicy, crisp, sweet and flavorful. But you don't run across them every day and even at their best they wouldn't really be my first choice, and you can't really tell if you've got a good one until you bite into it.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                                                      I once read, in a book on apples, that the public gravitates to the deepest red Red Delicious apples, because we are used to equating redder with riper/sweeter when it comes to produce. However, the author claimed that the best RDs are those with striped skins, and brighter, not darker, red. I have found that to be true, for the most part, but with the caveat that after decades of RD disappointment, I buy them only rarely, when there are no better options available. .

                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                        I was going to note that as well, about the lighter stripy skins. It is an almost foolproof indicator.

                                                                                      2. re: acgold7

                                                                                        >>Good to see this thread revived.

                                                                                        I said the same thing upthread too :)

                                                                                        I also like to pick up and try any new varieties I see, but has also been underwhelmed for the last several ones I came across, including Honeycrisp and some others whose names I cannot (and do not care to) remember anymore. Jazz could have been one of them too.

                                                                                        I will look out for Kiki and Junami if they ever arrive in my area.

                                                                                        >> you can't really tell if you've got a good one until you bite into it.

                                                                                        Yes, that is such a dilemma! Unless I could taste one or I am at a farm where the "apple perfume" is all over to ensure they are fresh and tasty, I always only get a few at a time, to lower the risk of being stuck with a lot of crummy ones.

                                                                                        One trick I use, however, to at least make sure they are crunchy, is to lightly flick at the surface with my finger and listen for a crisp "thonk". If you hear a dull thud, the apple is too soft.

                                                                                      3. Inspired by the re-appearance of this old thread, I picked up a Jazz at the co-op just now. My husband and I really like it -- crisp, sweet, and very juicy.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          In defense of the Jazz apple which I like very much, I'd like to point out that the BEST Jazz apple comes from Australia and is grown by the Montague Group. Here in the US, we import Jazz apples surely, but I think we also grow some stateside in the PNW. The Jazz apples from Washington state (for example) pale in comparison ... they're NOT EVEN CLOSE. Perhaps *those* are the apples creating a lot of the dissension here in this thread. Enjoy a good Jazz apple around the start of April. You'll be hooked.

                                                                                          FB link --> https://www.facebook.com/JazzApplesAu...

                                                                                        2. Today I ran across a new (to me) variety called Envy, from New Zealand, a cross between a Gala and a Braeburn. Hard rather than crisp, it was quite juicy with a fairly good balance of tart and sweet and a pronounced apple flavor. Not as punchy as Junami or Kiku, mentioned above, but impressive.

                                                                                          I looked back over my records and found my Junami and Kiku tasting was early this year, Jan or Feb, so if they return we should see them again in just a few weeks. According to last year's press release, while Junami (IIRC a Swiss cross of Elstar, Idared and one other) is harvested in October, it needs to develop flavor in cold storage for a few months and really peaks in January.

                                                                                          1. I've been buying the Jazz for a couple of years now and it's my first choice if available. In all that time, I've only had one batch that wasn't great. I initially thought they were from Michigan.

                                                                                            I also like Pink Lady and Honey Crisp but they're less commonly available at my little neighborhood market and I have to look for them when I go out of the neighborhood to shop.

                                                                                            I've tried the Ambrosia a couple of times but am not really impressed; beautiful looking apples, though. I've had Envy once but it didn't make a big impression.

                                                                                            I gave up on Fuji a couple of years ago, just never could get a good crisp one with good flavor and they tend to be the 9 or 10 oz ones which are just too big for a snack. I don't want an apple to constitute a whole meal and I always favor apples in the 4-5-6 oz range.

                                                                                            Braeburn was awesome when they first came on the scene more than 15 years ago but they went downhill fast and I haven't deliberately bought any in a long time. Occasionally I get one that has wound up in the wrong bin and I didn't catch it until I bite into it - I'm always disappointed.

                                                                                            Jonathan and Winesap were my favorites as a kid but I haven't had a decent one in decades. For a long time I favored tart green apples like Granny Smith but I favor sweeter apples now.

                                                                                            My fall back, most dependable apple is Gala. Not a great apple but seldom really mediocre, either.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: brucesw

                                                                                              I was amazed to find some excellent Jonathans in the NYC Union Square Farmers Market in Late October (Jonathan is a late apple) I think a lot of apples/trees called Jonathan are not the real thing these days. My mother's Ohio orchard sells so called Jonathans that are neither white in flesh nor deep red in color (typically, the color dyes the flesh) and lack the tart, spicy truly apply flavor or the original. Jonathan is a small apple so perhaps its out of favor in the current market for large,apples with a crisp sweet almost oriental-pear like quality..

                                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                Apple sizes, like restaurant portion sizes, have really grown since I was a kid. Ridiculously imo. I favor smaller apples.

                                                                                                Wish I could taste a really good Jonathan.

                                                                                                Footnote to my post above - I shopped at a new store two days ago and picked up some very large Jazz labeled as being from the US. Not as crisp as they typically are and too watery and lacking in flavor. So now I've had two batches of mediocre Jazz apples in two years. Pink Ladys I got also were mediocre.

                                                                                                1. re: brucesw

                                                                                                  bruce -- yeppers, you can buy lots of mediocre apples that weigh nearly a pound now.

                                                                                                  Give me a lilliputian Macintosh or Macoun any day!

                                                                                            2. Today I ran across another new one called Sonya. Almost triangular, it tapers down almost to a point at the bottom. While it had a good flavor and was fairly juicy, it had a soft almost mealy texture, like a long-stored RD. Not at the top of my list -- I tossed it after a couple of bites.

                                                                                              On the upside, the same market had my beloved Junamis and they did not disappoint. Not as firm or crunchy as I remembered, they did deliver on flavor and juiciness. They remain highly recommended if you can find them, surpassed in my memory only by the Kiku, which I will try to confirm if I can find them again.

                                                                                              I keep seeing the Opal around but haven't tried them yet.