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Ourin apples are moderately-sized fruits with a somewhat uniform oval to conical appearance. The skin ripens from green to yellow when mature and is firm, taut, and semi-smooth with prominent lenticels, creating a slightly bumpy, rough texture. Depending on the amount of exposure to sunlight during cultivation, the skin may also bear a light pink to orange-red blush. Underneath the surface, the flesh is pale yellow, crisp, aqueous, and soft, encasing a central, fibrous core with small, black-brown seeds. Ourin apples are aromatic with a strong, honeyed fragrance, and are favored for their delicate, light texture. The apples also have a very sweet, mildly tart flavor with notes of pineapple and pear.
Ourin apples are harvested in the fall and winter in Japan and can be stored through the early summer.
Ourin apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a modern Japanese variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. The cultivar was created from multiple generations of natural breeding, with the most recognized cross being between the indo, another Japanese apple, and the golden delicious. Ourin apples, also known as Orins and Ohrins, are considered to be one of the most popular dessert apples in Japan and are favored for their juicy, soft flesh, sweet flavor, and light coloring.
Ourin apples are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, which can help boost the immune system and stimulate digestion. The fruits also contain some vitamins A and B, boron, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Ourin apples are best suited for raw applications as their yellow-green flesh and sweet flavor are showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The flesh can be sliced and mixed into green or fruit salads, pressed into juices and ciders, blended into smoothies, chopped into coleslaws, or sliced and served with dips, nut butter, and chocolate on appetizer plates. Ourin apples can also be cooked into compotes, jams, and preserves, or combined with tart apple varieties for use in baked goods such as pies, cakes, muffins, and bread. Ourin apples pair well with oranges, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, carrots, spinach, and avocado. The fresh apples will keep 1-2 months when stored whole and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Ourin apples are the third-most commercially grown apple in Japan and are particularly popular in the Nagano prefecture. Within the prefecture, the apples are consumed as a dessert variety, and some families will even pre-order bulk quantities of the cultivar to secure a steady supply before the markets sell out. The name Ourin roughly translates from Japanese to mean “king of apples,” and despite their yellow-green skin, which traditionally signifies a tart apple such as the granny smith, Ourin apples are commonly consumed for their very sweet flavor as a stand-alone, after-dinner treat. In Japan, Ourin apples are also given as housewarming gifts to friends and family as a symbol of hospitality, respect, and goodwill.
Ourin apples were developed at the Aomori Apple Research Station in the 1940s, which is located in the Tohoku region of Japan. The variety was introduced to the commercial market in 1952, where it became one of the most popular fresh eating varieties in Japan. Today Ourin apples are primarily cultivated in the Aomori, Fukushima, and Nagano prefectures in Japan and are sold through fresh local markets across the country. The variety is also grown and sold in British Columbia as an organic apple.
Recipes that include Ourin Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.