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Cheekie™ apples are a medium to large varietal, averaging 6 to 9 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical to oblong shape with broad, flat shoulders tapering to a narrow base. The apple's skin is semi-thick, smooth, and taut with a light sheen, showcasing a bright yellow coloring covered in a red, red-pink, to dark red blush. The blush varies in transparency on each apple, depending on the amount of sun exposure during cultivation, and the golden yellow base may show through the blush, giving some transparent patches a red-orange hue. Underneath the surface, the cream-colored to ivory flesh is firm, dense, and crisp with a bursting, juicy crunch. The flesh also encases a small central fibrous cavity filled with tiny black-brown seeds. Cheekie™ apples have balanced sugar and acidity levels, creating a sweet, slightly tart flavor with distinct tropical nuances reminiscent of passion fruit.
Cheekie apples are available late summer through fall.
Cheekie™ apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a New Zealand variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The specialty apples are a type of club variety protected by a trademark to ensure the variety is only being grown by specific producers. Cheekie™ apples are exclusively cultivated and exported through Freshco, a New Zealand-based company, and are offered in the United States as a premium apple cultivar through Freshco's partnership with Sage Fruit. The variety was created sometime in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and was selected for commercial production for its bright coloring, texture, and flavor. Despite their international availability, Cheekie™ apples are challenging to find in the United States and are a premium, seasonal apple offered through select retailers and distributors. Cheekie™ apples are primarily consumed as a fresh eating, also known as a dessert apple, and the variety can also be incorporated into various cooked preparations.
Cheekie™ apples are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, antioxidants to protect the cells against free radical damage, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and calcium to protect bones and teeth. The apples also provide vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and other nutrients, including iron, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, vitamin K, boron, and zinc.
Cheekie™ apples have a sweet-tart taste suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The variety is primarily consumed straight out of hand to savor its distinct tropical nuances, or the apple can be sliced and displayed on appetizer platters with soft cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, and fresh herbs. Cheekie™ apples can also be sliced and dipped into chocolate, caramel, and nut butter, layered into sandwiches for added crunch, or topped on toast as a refreshing element. The apple's crisp nature complements ingredients in salads, slaws, and granola, or they can be chopped and served as a fresh garnish over breakfast dishes, grain bowls, and fruit medleys. In addition to fresh preparations, Cheekie™ apples can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, complementing roasted meats, root vegetables, casseroles, and stuffings. The variety can be simmered into sauces, cooked into jams, jellies, butter, and preserves, or minced and stuffed into dumplings. Cheekie™ apples can also be baked into pies, bread, crisps, crumbles, turnovers, tarts, and muffins or layered into parfaits. Beyond culinary dishes, Cheekie™ apples are popularly pressed into juice and stirred into cocktails, spritzers, fruit punches, or smoothies. Cheekie™ apples pair well with herbs such as parsley, mint, rosemary, basil, and thyme, cheeses including goat, parmesan, feta, and cheddar, nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans, and spices including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. Whole, unwashed Cheekie™ apples will keep for several weeks when stored in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.
Cheekie™ is a trademarked brand name used for a proprietary apple variety. Brand names are often created for club or managed apples as a part of an extensive marketing campaign to attract consumers and entice them to try the new variety. Apples are one of the few produce items in grocery stores that are marketed by their varietal or brand name. Each apple is known for its varying flavor, texture, and appearance, and consumers will seek out specific varieties to fit their needs. Club apple varieties arose in the mid to late 20th century to meet this demand differentiation, as growers partnered with marketing firms to distribute and advertise the new cultivars. Honeycrisp was one of the most successful club cultivars of the late 20th century, and each new club variety is exclusively grown to control quality and the apple's availability to maintain demand. In regards to Cheekie™ apples, the variety is heavily marketed as an apple grown in the fresh, natural environment of New Zealand. The word Cheekie™ is also a play on the English slang word "cheeky," a term used throughout England, Australia, and New Zealand. Cheeky is a word generally used to describe something that is playful, sly, or lighthearted.
Cheekie™ apples were developed through Freshco, an export company based in Auckland, New Zealand. Freshco was established in 1989 and partners with growers in Auckland, Hawke's Bay, and Nelson as well as packing houses and cold storage facilities to offer premium apple varieties to countries worldwide. The history of the variety is mostly proprietary, but it was revealed that Cheekie™ apples were created from a cross between Granny Smith and Splendour apples. Today Cheekie™ apples are grown in New Zealand and in the United States through a partnership between Freshco and Sage Fruit in Washington State. Sage Fruit is located in Yakima, Washington, and the region is said to share a similar climate with New Zealand, producing natural, richly flavored apples. Cheekie™ apples are found in limited quantities through retailers, grocers, and distributors throughout the United States and New Zealand.
Recipes that include Cheekie Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Pepper Bowl||Homemade Apple Juice|
|Healthy Kitchen 101||Carrot Apple Celery Ginger Juice|
|The Food Blog||Apple Cheddar Muffins with Rosemary|