One of the perks on being a food blogger is that on occasion I will receive some insider information or something type of food or beverage for free.
This past weekend, I was shopping at the Produce Station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, taking pictures of their heirloom apples that had for sale. One of the employees, I believe he said he was the owner, came over and talked with me. He wanted to show me another type he had in his truck that he had not gotten out yet.
He wanted to show me the inside of the apple. So he cut one open and exposed a vivid red flesh apple. My family with me owed and awed at it's beauty. He gave me one to take home to try.
This variety of apple is called the Niedwetzkyana.
What was that?
Niedwetzkyana. Rolls right off the tongue.
As the hard to pronounce name might suggest this apple was first discovered in central Asia. It is also known as the Manchurian Crab. Yes this is a crab apple variety. It actually is a common ancestor of many of the crap apple varieties that are around today.
I have never seen nor heard of this variety before. One of the reasons may be that it is considered one of the most threatened apple species in the world today (this is according to Global Trees Campaign Central Asian Regional Tree Red Listing workshop in 2006). This makes me even more fortunate to get a hold of one.
I also want to point out that this variety is ready for harvest in most areas near the end of September.
My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)
Tartness : 3
Apple Flavor: 3
Overall Feeling: I have to say this was one of the most interesting apple experiences that I have had. An absolutely beautiful apple inside and out, but not the most tasty apple. This was definitely the most dry apple I have had. It made the texture of the apple kind of chewy. It wasn't soft or mealy, but I think the lack of moisture made the texture not the most desirable. For being the ancestor of many crap apples varieties this one wasn't very tart, it was more on the sweet side.
As for uses, I was told a lot of people like to dry out these apples and use them as decorations as they are so beautiful. Or make apple chips, which I have done with red fleshed apples before.
I have also heard they can work well in pies but I haven't had once again since this one apple. Since they are dry, you won't end up with too much juice, so it will keep your crust nice and crisp.
I am growing them in my yard, and have found that I was harvesting them way too late, and they were dry as you described. I just harvested them now, here in the first week of August, and the texture and flavor are much better.
Naila (former USDA person from MI)
Apples of Antiquity carries it and now some others are carrying primary tree crosses like Greenmantle CA. There were a series of apples and other fruits imported by N Hansen to plains, later USDA ARS to make more home orchards possible in trying conditions with original plants collected from fruit origins(apple, pear, nectarine etc). Most are lost or lost their names. But the research was dropped as massive supply wiped home orchards after WWII. BUT for HOME orchards-go for it. THESE puppies can sometimes survive in VERY trying conditions where common ones fail. MOST fail when black walnut seed in and toxins wipe gardens and orchards-I went after MSU Extension re this. But recall-what purpose? To eat fresh, to dry, to store, to make into apple butter or sauce(mixed) etc for EACH KIND. MAY work in Detroit area? but I was investigating for Kansas orchard, and I found some other primary crosses which MAYBE HOPE HOPE are Black Walnut toxin RESISTANT, the bane of home growers in Michigan.
The Niedzwetzkyana is a large bright red apple with brilliant red flesh. Only a handful continue to survive in their native highlands of Kyrgyzstan. Flavor is a bit sweet and tart. Fairly vigorous growing tree with apples ripening at end of summer beginning fall. Makes great apple pies that resemble pies made from cherries and pressed fruit
provides scarlet cider. The Niedzwetzkyana has striking fall colors in our nursery and orchard!
Redfield Geneva, (Wolf River x Niedzwetzskayana Red Crab) 1938 NY 1938 medium size, classic shape, rich, tart, moderately, astringent, 5 on the sweet-tart scale EARLY SEPT RIPEN Redfield apples were developed from a 1938 cross done at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station Geneva, New York, between Wolf River apples and Niedwetzkyana apples. Pink to dark red skin with some russetting, and inside, dark, slightly dry red flesh. The Redfield is not ideal for fresh-eating, but great baking, cider, vinegar and jelly. Jelly has high in pectin. It also produces a haunting red juice when pressed producing bitter sweet cider. Merits: Tree: very hardy (ironclad, to z2 or 3); bronze leaves and red blossoms qualify it as an ornamental; highly resistant to scab; Fireblight: 3. Fruit: red juice, excellent for colorful cider blending; makes good tasting, eye catching pies. Faults: Tree: not highly productive. Fruit: quickly browning flesh: not recommended for fresh eating
Winekist Dakotas 1949 The Winekist apple variety was introduced by Carl A Hansen, Brookings, South Dakota back in 1949. The Winekist is a medium-sized, red fleshed apple with good flavor, though extremely tart. The tree and fruit show a close resemblance to the Red Vein Crab apple trees. The fruit is larger and superior flavor to the Red Vein. The fruit is medium size with skin that's deep crimson with small white dots. Wonderful for cider and the red-fleshed apples make great dark-pink tart applesauce. As with most summer apples they only keep for a few days so eat immediately or make apple sauce or cider. Tree is naturally semi dwarf so will do well in a garden.