Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jonathan vs. Jonafree smackdown

Jonafree (L) and Jonathan
Jonafree, a new disease-resistant apple, clearly suggests Jonathan, a fine antique that is more than 175 years old. (Jonafree is one fourth Jonathan by breeding.) So I thought to test that relationship by sampling them together.

Jonathan, at right, is a large medium and my Jonafrees are on the small side of medium, though it is hard to know if that is typical. Both have a similar shape with a dark red blush and small light lenticels.

Jonathan is perhaps a shade more attractive, with a more-saturated blush against which which the lenticels are more decorative, but there is a considerable physical resemblence.

(Jonafree's superficial sooty blotch is a token of its life on an organic farm, not a characteristic of the breed.)

Inside both are medium-coarse-grained, though Jonathan is a bit denser and finer grained, white shot with pink highlights. Jonafree is wonderfully crisp and light yellow. Both are nicely balanced but Jonathan is less tart, crisp but less so, and with flavors that are mellower and more cidery.

The flavors of these two apples may share the same general neighborhood of apple taste, balanced and cidery with spice notes. However they are not very alike.

Jonathan is lush, succulent, and fruity, with a little pear; Jonafree is more citric and a bit juicier.

These two go together amicably. If I had one of each I should prefer to eat them in just this way, together. Were I forced to chose just one I should probably prefer Jonafree for its great texture.


  1. Just found your blog--I know I'm going to love it!

    1. Thank you! You have arrived at the liveliest time of the year.

  2. "Small side of medium," is actually pretty big for Jonafree. If not thinned aggressively, they never get any size. Still a tasty apple.

    1. Thanks, Nathan! It is hard for me to know based on one harvest one year from a single orchard. Thus the qualification.

      (The "one year" is 2012. I delayed publishing this a year so that it would coincide with the season for these varieties. But I have not seen either of them yet.)


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