Sunday, August 23, 2015

Almata apple

Saturated with color, Almata is a novelty.

Half an apple showing flesh that is a deep saturated red

It's interesting, it's unusual, and it's edible. But Almata is not a compelling pick eating out of hand.

Almata is small and brimming with red. Stunning, really.

The coarse-grained carmine flesh is firm and crisp to breaking. Cut, it looks a little rough, like sandpaper. (Another red-fleshed apple, Pink Pearl, has a similar texture).

The sliced surface smells like cut grass.

Eating Almata is bracing. It is tart with a hint of sour cherry, and some samples include notable bitterness. 

I would suppose Almata might have virtues in cider making.

3 very red apples
These small apples are a little less than 2 inches in diameter.
Though this apple is not all mealy, you can feel its granular structure when you eat it. The skin is chewy. It is only moderately juicy.

Almata is gorgeous, but more of a novelty, at least for eating. It might really add color and flavor to cooking, though.

I should say that Nigel Deacon, writing at Orange Pippin, finds a softer sweeter apple. I can't say which description is more typical, but my samples appear to be ripe, at least.

Here are some more details that might help someone trying to identify this apple.

A very red apple
Where fully expressed, the blush is a ravishing wine-dark glossy purple-tinged crimson. Lenticels are not readily visible.

These round apples are slightly ribbed, and there are often as many as 5 tiny bumps right around the calyx, well within the shallow concavity at the bottom of the apple.

Almata is the work of Niels_Hansen when he was a horticulturalist at what is now the University of South Dakota State University in the early 20th Century.

Hansen drew on an Asian crab apple, malus niedzwetskyana, to create this highly colored variety.

Almata is derived from a Turkic word for apple; m. niedzwetskyana is an endangered subspecies.

Update: Even the tree is red.


  1. Almata makes a really nice pink applesauce. Sweetener is sometimes not necessary.

    1. Pete, do you blend Almata with others, or is it pure Almata applesauce?

    2. My Almata apple gave me its first fruits this summer here in Homer, Alaska. I was not prepared for the gorgeous, dark red skin and pink, pearly flesh, and love the tartness of this lovely little apple.

  2. WOW, i need to taste this Apple !!!

  3. In what is now South Dakota State University.

    1. oops—Thanks, @Unknown! Correction shortly.

  4. I believe that there are 5 trees growing roadside in St Thomas Ontario. The meat reminds me of watermelon for colour.


Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.