Friday, September 30, 2011

Crimson Crisp *

True to its name, this medium-to-medium-large apple has a lovely pure red blush.

The color, a shade less orange than in my photo, can be deep and even dark on the sunward side but unlike some well-colored varieties is not purple.

Tan lenticels, though numerous, are so small as to be hard to see, making for a very red apple.

The fruit is classically shaped with some ribbing.

Also true to its name, this apple has wonderfully breaking crisp flesh, light yellow, which is firm and dense, even hard, and more fine-grained than coarse. It holds a lot of juice and has a very good sweet-tart balance.

Crimson Crisp's flavors are simple and refreshing: cane sugar and distant hints of melon, orange, and spice.

What makes this apple fun to eat is its texture: breaking chunks of crunchy, juicy fruit. Grab some if you can, they are very satisfying.

This apple was developed cooperatively by several university fruit and horticulture departments, as detailed in this two-page article in Horticultural Science 41(2) Apr 2006 465–6.

The genealogy of this variety, diagrammed on the second page, is interesting in that you have to go back several generations before finding Crimson Crisp ancestors that would be generally recognized.

This variety is said to have a good shelf life. I'll bet it would do well in controlled storage.

Note to apple industry: Could we get some of these in supermarkets in winter and spring? Just something to break the monotonous sweet of so many modern varieties.

A niche, sure, but I'll bet they would sell like hotcakes.


  1. Thanks for the great review of CrimsonCrisp. I just picked a bag of them here at Purdue and will pick again next week. They really hang well on the tree and they are resistant to apple scab. Have you ever tasted the PRI apple Pixie Crunch?

  2. Anna, not everyone lives near a world-class apple-breeding orchard! Alas.

    But do tell about Pixie Crunch.

    By the way I am serious about wanting to buy these in the off season, if someone will store and ship them to New England. Why should ENZA-bred apples get all the love?

    There is an untapped market for a good crisp apple that does not taste like it's been marinating in sugar.

  3. Pixie Crunch is a smaller apple, perfect for a snack or a child's lunch box. It is crisp and sweet but not cloying.

  4. Just picked my first Crimson Crisp! Very nice crunch and flavor.

  5. Hi! I just ate one yesterday, from a friend's home orchard. What a great apple! It reminded me of Honeycrisp, only smaller, a bit harder and with more acidity... In other words: better ( to me ). To me, the only thing that could make it better would be stronger aroma.

    1. Bonjour, Jessica! That is quite a blog you have there.

      You seem to like PRI apples—Goldrush, Williams' Pride, and now Crimson Crisp. Do you find these easy to care for?

    2. I'm new at growing fruits... But yes, they are very easy to care for. I only give my trees compost in spring and they are very healthy and productive, on Bud 9 rootstock. They do have some Cedar apple rust, but it doesn't affect the fruits. I enjoy your blog quite a bit!

  6. I love eating CrimsonCrisp. At their very best, they remind me of SweeTarts candy (which I love too). Sadly, the record amount of rain this year has pretty much wiped out the mid-Atlantic crop, and according to my local farm stand, only 10% of the crop made it through. If I had known that earlier, I would have bought 20 of these the first week I saw them this year.


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