What can I say? When I see an apple I have not tried before I am a like a kid at Christmas time. I can’t wait to unwrap the flavor that it inside these wonderful pieces of fruit. Thanks to all the companies that keep releasing new varieties on the world. You keep making it Christmas over and over again.
The newest gift I have received is the Sugar Bee apple. Check out the cute little bee on the PLU sticker.
What is a Sugar Bee Apple?
The Sugar Bee apple is the latest Honeycrisp cross to hit the market place. It is unknown what other apple is it crossed with. This new apple was created by the bees doing their job of pollinating the apple blossoms. A new aple was discovered from that work. That’s the reason for the “bee” name. The sugar comes from this being a pretty sweet apple. A very easy name to say and market. A lot easier than Niedzwetzkyana which remains the only apple variety I cannot pronounce.
Sugar Bee apples ripen near the end of September.They store well so you can enjoy them in the winter.
How is a Sugar Bee Different than a Honeycrisp Apple?
Appearance wise the two apples look a lot a like. I bet the majority of people could not tell them apart. This similar appearance I believe gives them a leg up in marketing the apple. People already love a similar looking apple.
I found the Sugar Bee apple to have a thinner skin than the Honeycrisp. Sugar Bee is more sweet. As far as crispiness, the Sugar Bee is a pretty crisp apple. I don’t think it quite has that same bite as Honeycrisp, but to be honest I think Honeycrisp can be too crisp at times and I simply get tired of eating one, particularly when they are large Honeycrisp.
The big advantage Sugar Bee has over it’s parent is that the quality of the apple lasts longer. Honeycrisp are pretty much available year round now but they aren’t that good after a few months. Once you get winter, the flavor is muted. In a head to head competition between a Sugar Bee and a Honeycrisp done right now, I would bet my money on Sugar Bee being the better apple to eat in January.
Where are Sugar Bee Apples Grown?
The variety was discovered in Minnesota. It is now being grown commercially in Washington by Chelan Fresh. Their growers have found that the apple performs perfectly in their climate (warm summer days, cool evening breezes).
Here is a wonderful produced video by Chelan Fresh about the Sugar Bee apple. Reminds me again why I need to make it out to Washington during apple season one of these years.
Where to Buy Sugar Bee Apples?
As of now Sugar Bee apples are not going to be easy to track down. I was lucky to spot them at a small, upscale grocery chain called Plum Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have heard of them making appearances at Walmart and Whole Foods Market. Chelan Fresh expect a bigger commercial supply in 2019 as more trees come into production.
Have you found any Sugar Bee apples? What apple do you like to eat in the winter months? Leave a comment below, we love hearing from you.