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Eliza apples are large, round to conical fruits with a uniform shape, and have light ribbing surrounding the slender, fibrous brown stem. The skin is smooth, shiny, dry, and green-yellow, covered in prominent white lenticels and dark red-brown blush. Underneath the thick skin, the flesh is fine-grained, crisp, white to cream-colored, and dense, encasing a small central core filled with black-brown seeds. Eliza apples are juicy and crunchy with a sweet, slightly acidic flavor.
Eliza apples are harvested in the fall through early winter and can be stored until the spring.
Eliza apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an early-maturing Dutch variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The uniform fruits are considered to be a premium apple that is commercially cultivated in Europe, favored for its sweet-tart flavor, appealing aesthetic qualities, high yields, and resistance to disease. Eliza apple trees also begin bearing fruit after three years, which is a unique quality that allows growers to produce crops earlier for profit in comparison to other apple cultivars. In Europe, Eliza apples are utilized as a dessert variety and are primarily consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The apples are also commonly seen as decorative items in homes and are often stacked in large bowls on kitchen tables.
Eliza apples are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help boost the immune system. The apples are also a good source of fiber, which can help stimulate the digestive tract, and contain some potassium, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.
Eliza apples are best suited for raw applications as their sweet and sour flavor is showcased when consumed fresh. The apples can be quartered and served on appetizer plates with dips, sliced and dipped in chocolate, or chopped into green and fruit salads. They can also be blended into sauces or simmered into compotes. In addition to fresh eating, Eliza apples can be incorporated into baked goods such as pies, cobblers, tarts, and muffins, or they can be cooked with spices and served as a simple, healthy dessert. Eliza apples pair well with herbs such as rosemary, parsley, and mint, ginger, fruits such as apricots, lychee, oranges, mangoes, and cranberries, caramel, and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. The fresh fruits will keep 1-2 months when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
The Eliza apples featured in the photograph above were found through a local vendor in the Zhetygen village, which is located within the Almaty province of Kazakhstan. The vendor shared that the variety was originally purchased from Poland through an orchard owner in Issyk, which is a town in the Almaty region famous for its apple orchards and grape farms. Each year, the orchard owner invites his family and friends to collect the European specialty apples and allows them to sell the variety locally for a very reasonable price.
Eliza apples are believed to have been first developed in 1974 at Plant Research International in the Netherlands. The variety was created from the septer and orange coke pippin apple, and once released to commercial markets, Eliza apples became a popular variety cultivated for its marketable aesthetic qualities. Today Eliza apples are sold through specialty grocers and local markets across Europe and are also grown through orchards in Central Asia.