Saturday, June 15, 2013

Joburn (Braeburn)

When I first laid eyes on this pretty New Zealand import, I thought, What a great idea! Cross new-fangled Braeburn with heirloom Jonathan for some snap and hybrid vigor.

Alas, disappointment followed. Yes the fruit has something like Jonathan's deep glossy blush, but that's all.

Joburn is not a new breed at all but a sport of an existing variety. It's a redder genetic mutation but otherwise it's just Braeburn.

The samples I bought are on the small side of large and are conical with obvious ribbing. The blush is an attractive dark red with many small light lenticels over a washed-out spring green. 

The blush runs to streaky on the shadow side. The striking vertical stripe shown is not typical.

The flesh is a coarse pale yellow with a green tint that suggests a premature harvest. It's very juicy and has a nice light crunch.

Joburn is sweet with hints of corn syrup, a faint spicy accent, and a whiff of chamomile. These tastes are thin, but the crunch is nice.

Sports are genetic mutations that vary some characteristic of the breed. If a change is beneficial it may be commercialized.

Occasionally the sport has a new flavor or texture but more often it is just redder or hardier or ripens a week earlier or later. Joburn's claim to fame is a redder fuller blush.

I did not make a head-to-head comparison but I based on my tasting notes I'd say these were inferior to standard Braeburns, probably because of being picked too soon. Barring that they ought to be the same.

Visually the Joburns as a group were a little darker, with a blush a little more extensive, than the Braeburns for sale next to them, but there was plenty of overlap, lighter Js and darker Bs.

I do not generally seek out sports for this blog. Still if they are for sale you might be curious to know about them.

I've bought "new" apple varieties only to learn I had a sport of something familiar while writing their reviews. I publish these but do not include them in my catalog of varieties unless, like Lucky Rose Golden, the mutation is profound enough to essentially create a new apple.

Sports are supposed to be denoted by a compound name that includes the name of the original cultivar, e.g. Royal Gala, Red Delicious. In pomological circles the sport part of the name is sometimes enclosed in single quotes: 'Joburn' Braeburn.

Joburn, furthermore, is sometimes sold under the trade name Aurora. To make things even more confusing, Aurora Golden Gala, which is not a sport of anything (not even Gala) but a separate variety in its own right, is also sometimes sold as Aurora.


  1. Just ate a Joburn. I didn't even know it was a Braeburn. The description you gave was spot on. It was bland, but fortunately, it was also pretty crisp - like you said.

    I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't buy another one. I'm not a fan of Braeburns.

    1. My main gripe is these were picked too early.


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