Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jazz. vs. Kanzi smackdown

Jazz (L), Kanzi
Jazz, at left, has the same parents as Kanzi.
Today's match pits Jazz (left), a Gala x Braeburn cross, against Kanzi, a, um, Gala x Braeburn cross.

So strap yourself in for some real sibling rivalry.

But wait, how is it that the same parents produce different offspring? The same way that human parents do. Like us, apples are heterozygous. Every cross is unique.

Nonetheless, Jazz and Kanzi seem closely related.

Both varieties are large, though mine are not huge. Both are only slightly ribbed, both partially blushed over a yellow tinged with green. Both have light lenticels that tend to shrink and fade in the most-saturated part of the blush.

The two apples are modern varieties, bred for durability and to satisfy modern tastes for sugar.

Both are glossy, though in Jazz's case (and maybe Kanzi's too) I suspect with more-than-natural wax or lacquer.

So, similar. But compared to Jazz, Kanzi is more tapered. Jazz's peel is a little dimpled around its lenticels.

Kanzi's blush has a bit more orange in it, though the two shades are quite close in the most-saturated parts.

Jazz's calyx is open, while Kanzi's is shut tight. And Jazz's sweet cider aroma is more pronounced.

The beauty contest is a dead heat, but it's what's inside that really counts.

There Kanzi is sweet balanced by tart, crisp but not hard or dense, with coarse-grained juicy yellow flesh.

Jazz is denser, harder, and more crisp. Its flesh, though also yellow and coarse-grained, is perhaps finer than Kanzi's and not quite as juicy.

Jazz's flavors are stronger, better, more assertive, and fuller. Kanzi is slightly more acidic.

These are similar, but not identical, choices, making Kanzi a Jazz alternative for those averse to hard dense apples.

However, Kanzi suffers in this comparison, at least when both are eaten together.

Returning to Kanzi after a mouthful of Jazz makes Kanzi seem thinner of taste and emphasizes its extra acidity in a way that is not appealing.

This isn't really fair. Kanzi solo is nicely balanced, even sweet, and quite good.

But Jazz is better.


  1. Kanzis only showed up for the first time recently at my local grocery store. I bought a few because they were something new and because they were cheaper than the Jazz apples.

    I didn't do a side-by-side comparison but had noticed that the Kanzis reminded me of a less-dense, less hard Jazz overall. I thought they were good apples, better than the Jazz that are currently at the grocery store.

    I do think I prefer Jazz overall, though as I've just mentioned, the Jazz right now are a little disappointing. I don't know if it's how they have been stored or just the end of the season, wherever they are from; but the Jazz available right now are few in number, frequently with blemishes or scrapes/dents, and more expensive than Kanzis.

    Overall, if the price were the same I think I would choose Jazz over Kanzi, but Kanzis are a good substitute for the moment.

    1. Hi, Nina! Truly April is when even the best keepers can't help but feel a little tired. It's a long way since the fall.

      In about a month we should see some relief in the form of apples from New Zealand, Chile, and other points south. The same varieties for the most part, but fresher.

      They are picking some of these apples right now.

  2. A fun read..." but Jazz is better". Love it!

  3. awesome post.. i love it.. :) jazz is better ^^

  4. I Agree, Kanzi tastes crisp, fresh and a bit watery.
    Jazz tastes crisp, sweet and aromatic, a bit like candy.

  5. It's interesting that there seems to be some variety in the size of Kanzi apples. Where I live (Germany), Kanzi apples are extremely small, they're among the smallest apples you can buy. Jazz are medium sized. Here, you can easily distinguish them just by their size. When you buy them pre-packaged, Kanzi always come in 8-packs instead of the usual 4 or 6 because they're so small.

    1. @Anon,in most cases size is just a result of agricultural technique such as thinning of blossoms. Your distributor just just getting the small ones.

      There is a chain of markets here that sells bags of small Jazz or Pinata or other varieties as "baby apples." Nonsense but brilliant marketing.


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