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Red Delicious Apples

It’s the quintessential red apple. A well-known favorite that’s popular for its tried-and-true flavor: mildly sweet and crunchy. Think of an apple and this is the one that pops to mind.

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Red Delicious is one of the most famous American apples, and one of the most widely grown apple varieties. Although the names are similar, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are entirely different varieties. There are a lot of other similarities though: both varieties were discovered in the USA at the end of the 19th century, both need warm climates, both have interesting histories, and both are basically sweet apples.

The Red Delicious Apple variety was discovered in the 1870’s as a chance seedling growing on Jesse Hiatt’s farm in Peru, Iowa. Thinking of it as a nuisance, Jesse tried to chop down the seedling several times, but the tree would repeatedly grow back.  By the time it had grown back for the third time Jesse had decided to allow it to grow and produce apples.

In 1893, Jesse took his apple, which he called the “Hawkeye,” to a fruit show in Missouri. Following the show, Stark Brothers Nursery purchased the rights to market the apple and began to propagate this apple under the name “Stark Delicious.” In 1914 the “Delicious” became the Red Delicious so that it wouldn’t be confused with another apple tree, the “Golden Delicious” that was also marketed by Stark Nurseries.

With its dark and crimson color, sweet and mild flavor, and its strong shelf appeal, the Red Delicious is genuinely the quintessential as well as one of the most famous American red apples. Red Delicious apples are best eaten fresh or used in fresh preparations because their flesh does not hold up well when cooked; also because of their deep crimson-colored skin, the Red Delicious apple is also higher in antioxidants than many other apple varieties.

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