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Smitten® apples are a medium to large varietal that has an ovate to round shape with prominent ribbing creating an angular, blocky appearance. The apple’s skin has a bright yellow base, overlaid with a combination of orange-red blush and streaks. The surface is also smooth, lightly dotted with lenticels, and sometimes slightly greasy, creating a sticky texture. Underneath the skin, the yellow to ivory flesh is fine-grained, moderately juicy, firm, and dense with a crunchy, cracking consistency. The flesh also encases a central fibrous core filled with tiny dark brown seeds. Smitten® apples have a sweet, subtle spice-filled aroma and contain a high concentration of citric acid and sugar, often above 15 Brix, contributing to a balanced but complex taste. The apples have a sweet-tart flavor with subtle fruity, floral, cider, and wine-like nuances.
Smitten® apples are grown in both hemispheres, providing almost year-round production for commercial markets. The apples are grown in New Zealand and Australia from April through July and in the United Kingdom and North America from October through December.
Smitten® apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a modern apple variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The bi-colored apples were created in the late 20th century in New Zealand under the name PremA17 and were released to commercial markets in the early 21st century as a multi-purpose cultivar, suitable for fresh eating and cooking. Smitten® apples were developed as an improved variety resistant to disease, easy to grow, and produces quality, complexly flavored fruit. In the modern-day, the variety is expanding in cultivation, being commercially grown in both hemispheres, and the apples are heavily promoted as a crisp, juicy, and sweet-tart fruit.
Smitten® apples are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation. The apples also provide potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, calcium to strengthen bones and teeth, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and lower amounts of iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, boron, and phosphorus.
Smitten® apples have a dense, crunchy texture and sweet-tart flavor suited for a wide array of fresh and cooked preparations. The apples can be consumed straight, out of hand, or they can be sliced and served on appetizer platters with dips and soft cheeses. Smitten® apples can also be immersed in caramel as a candied snack, drizzled in chocolate, sliced and layered into grilled cheeses, other sandwiches, and on toast, chopped and tossed into salads, oatmeal, and grain bowls, or used as a fresh topping over hot dogs, pancakes, and desserts. Beyond fresh eating, Smitten® apples have a firm flesh that can be incorporated into cakes, crisps, cobblers, strudels, pies, galette, and muffins. The apples can also be simmered into sauces or sauteed and served over pork and chicken dishes, sliced and used as a topping on focaccia, or pureed into jams, butter, and applesauce. In addition to culinary dishes, Smitten® apples can be mixed into sangria, blended into smoothies, or sliced and dried into chips. Smitten® apples pair well with meats such as poultry, turkey, beef, and pork, fruits including coconut, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and pomegranate, cheeses such as cheddar, brie, goat, and camembert, and herbs including rosemary, mint, and sage. Whole, unwashed Smitten® apples will keep several weeks when stored in the refrigerator's crisper drawer or kept in cold storage.
Smitten® apples are promoted as a modern cultivar heavily marketed to attract the attention of millennials. The apple variety has been recognized for its unique marketing campaign using bold graphics, slogans, and buzzwords to generate press among the saturated apple market. Smitten® apples are famously known for their slogan “Once bitten, forever smitten,” and the apple’s logo features two pink “x’s” in their name, symbolizing two kisses. The “x’s” are also meant to represent the “t’s” in “Smitten.” In New Zealand and Australia, Smitten® apples are annually promoted as a snack on Valentine’s Day, continuing the marketing theme of love and having lasting favor for the fruits. Smitten® apples also have their own social media pages, releasing press announcements, recipes, and unique facts to interact with the consumer. One of the key features shared in brand messaging is apple’s creation using non-GMO, traditional apple cultivation methods. The apples are said to have a “wild apple coloring,” despite being created through a research facility, and the apples are exclusively grown to ensure quality and standards are being met for optimum sustainability, flavor, and texture.
Smitten® apples were developed by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, or PFR, in 1995, in partnership with Prevar, a company established to commercialize new apple cultivars created by PFR. The variety’s exact parentage is unknown, but PFR has mentioned that the apples are descendants of a breeding lineage comprised of braeburn, gala, fiesta, and falstaff apples. Smitten® apples were trialed and researched for several years under the name PremA17, and in 2005, the apples were released to commercial growers in New Zealand. In 2010, PremA17 was renamed Smitten® apples as a part of a marketing campaign developed by Seventeen Limited, a collaboration between six New Zealand marketing firms. The variety was introduced to the United States in 2011 and was licensed to Pegasus Premier Fruit in Washington State, where over 50,000 Smitten® apple trees were planted. By 2014, three different companies based in Washington were committed to growing Smitten® apples, and several other growers in Michigan, New York, Quebec, and Ontario also began planting the variety. Today Smitten® apples are grown in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. The sweet-tart apples are exported from these regions to provide an almost year-round supply to commercial markets, and the apples are sold through distributors and select grocers. In the United States, Smitten® apples are also sold directly to the consumer through their online website.
Recipes that include Smitten® Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Well Plated||Apple Cider Chicken Skillet|
|Lauren's Latest||Apple Cheddar Chicken Salad|