Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zestar *

I'll cut to the chase: these tasty, light apples are last week's mystery apple named.

The following tasting was without reference to my earlier description in the Adventure of the Scarlet Blush:

Medium-sized light green-yellow apple with a partial red blush that is streaky in spots. There are small spots that are dark green over the green and light colored against the blush. Very slight ribbing.

Fine-grained white flesh with a hint of green, juicy, crisp, and light. Sweetness tempered with some tart; sugar and banana notes, a tiny bit of spice, and mild astringent finish.

Note the unusual whiff of banana. And if you like, compare the two photos side by side.

Case solved. Also, if these apples are still around next week you should stop by Dick's Family Farm at Farmers market and get a few. (Nagog Hill Farm has them too.)

A note on the name: There seems to be some use of the name "Zest Star"--say that three times fast. "Zestar" is correct.

According to one source, these were originally dubbed "Zesta" before that plan ran into trademark issues with a cracker manufacturer. The marketing geniuses went back to the drawing board and gave us this. Perhaps "Zest Star" was an interim step.


  1. I picked up a Zestar from our market this weekend (late August). I cut up the apple in four sections and gave it a sniff. It smelled very tart. I am not a fan of tart apples so I passed on the taste test. My wife tried the apple and stated that it was indeed quite tart. The gal at the stand said it was similar to a Honeycrisp - which I happen to like - which made me think it was a crunchy and sweet early variety. It could be that this particular sample was picked a bit early or maybe my wife and I just do not like tart apples for eating fresh.

  2. Matt, no, not very Honeycrisp-like. I bet that gal says that about all her apples.

    Still, Zestar is reasonably sweet. I think you got an early one. (True, it is the end of August, but sometimes you have to ignore the calendar and listen to the fruit.) I'd bite again next week.

  3. Thank you for not including the ! that seems to be an official part of Zestar!'s trademarked name. Perhaps it was overcompensation if the story that trademark infringement issue with Zesta crackers is true, but apple names do not need gimmicks. SweeTango, of which Zestar is a parent, is even worse.

    1. John, some African (and one Australian) language uses the exclamation point for the "click" consonant. Other than that, it is punctuation.

      Nobody tells me how to punctuate except the Chicago Manual of Style. See also this discussion.

      By the way: John Henderson keeps an impressive catalog of apples online at two interrelated web pages, described here.

  4. Adam-- As I get ready to bring in the watercolors and send in the text file for a second edition of Apples (WW Norton), I go along with sticking to the twenty-six letters of our version of the alphabet rather than appending punctuation and little Rs in a circle. Great site, by the way. ( If you care to mention a last name, I'd like to mention it--I mean, you-- in the book.)

    1. Roger, that is very generous of you. I have been in touch via the email address that is on your profile page. Should that misfire, I hope you will reach me via mine, which is on mine.