Alps Otome Apples
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The Alps Otome apple is very small in size, comparable to a crab apple. However, unlike a crab apple the Alps otome is sweet in flavor and able to be eaten out of hand. The vibrant red-pink skin is not smooth and the overall appearance is similar to a Red Delicious.
The Alps Otome apple is available in the end of summer through the early fall.
The Alps Otome apple’s scientific name is Malus domestica cv. ‘Alps Otome’. It is commonly known as the “mini apple” due to its diminutive size. This apple, along with cherries, strawberries, and roses, belongs to the Rosaceae, or rose, plant family. Its small shape puts it in the “crab” group of apples.
Like all apples, the Alps Otome is a wonderful addition to the daily diet as it is high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
The Alps Otome apple is an excellent dessert, or fresh eating, apple. Its slight size is perfect for taking on a hike, tucking in a lunchbox, or even stowing in a pocket. In Japan the apple is ideal for the popular “ringo ame,” or candied apple. (See below for a ringo ame recipe.)
The Alps Otome apple, a chance Fuji seedling, originated in the Japanese city of Nagano. It was introduced by K. Hatagoshi in 1964. The tiny fruit grows on appropriately small trees that are only about one and a half meters tall.
Apples have been widely grown in Japan since the Meiji Period (which began in 1868). The Alps Otome apple’s parent, the Fuji apple, is the island nation’s most popular apple. It was developed in the Aomori Prefecture, which produces more apples than any other Japanese region. Today Japanese orchards grow so many apples that many of them are exported.