The exotic European beauty

In Europe right now, there’s an apple so designer that it has own logo, slightly confounding website, and elaborate product launch plan. If you like apples at all, it’s hard to see how you wouldn’t want to at least try the Kissabel, which comes in three varieties with flesh that ranges from crimson to salmon, and reportedly boasts distinct berry notes. (And if you like Instagram at all, it’s hard to see how you wouldn’t want to take a picture of one.)

Developed in France, the Kissabel has the first teaser video I’ve ever seen for a fruit. Like the Cosmic Crisp, the Kissabel was developed the old-fashioned way, through years of cross-pollination, grafting, and trial and error. It’s just for the European market this year, but distribution is slated to expand around the apple-eating world over the next few years.

Ancient treasures

Whether driven by climate change, disease or the simple human demand for novelty, the produce aisle is going to look quite different in a few short years. You can get weird with your fruit right now, though, if you’re willing to step outside the supermarket.

The Hidden Rose is a heirloom variety of apple with pink flesh.
The Hidden Rose is a heirloom variety of apple with pink flesh.

Where I live, in Vermont, Scott Farm Orchard collects and cultivates heritage varieties of apples, pears, quince, and medlars, and I’ve been enjoying their often ugly apples all fall, including two pink-fleshed varieties that are extremely photogenic.

I can see one of them, the Hidden Rose, becoming a star, with its green and pink skin and bright pink flesh—on Instagram someone called it a Lilly Pulitzer apple. The Niedwetzkyana though, is tart and starchy, good for beautiful pies but not for taking a big crunchy bite out of. And they don’t have the staying power of an apple bred for the international market: Mine bruised, browned, and got soft very quickly, as do a lot of heirloom apples.

Eating these old-school apples—the vintage store gems of the fruit world—helped me understand why commercial growers who want to ship apples around the world are always seeking out a new and better apple that blends durability with deliciousness. Still, it’s fun to imagine being the first person to discover a tree laden with an ancient apple variety.

An earlier version of this article referred to the new apple being grown in Washington State as the Cosmic Crunch, rather than the Cosmic Crisp, the correct name. 

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