Cortland apples are medium to large in size, and often rather flat in shape. They are bright red and covered with dark red streaks; often they are capped with a green blush. Their crisp, finely-grained white flesh is exceptionally juicy with a sharp, sweet-tart, vinous flavor.
Cortland apples are available in the fall through spring.
The Cortland apple is an older American variety of Malus domestica, one of the many offspring of McIntosh apples. It combines the sweet flavor of the McIntosh with the cold hardiness of its other parent, Ben Davis. Cortlands have long been one of the most commonly produced apples in New York, consistently ranking in the top ten in the state.
Cortland apples are low in calories, high in water content and offer a fair amount of vitamins A, C, and B. They also contain a dietary fiber known as pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, and trace amounts of boron, which has been touted for its ability to help build strong bones.
Extremely slow to brown when cut, the Cortland apple is perfect for use in fresh apple preparations. Add cubed apple to green and fruit salads. Slice thin and add to sandwiches, burgers, and quesadillas. Use in lieu of crackers and pair with sweet and savory dips or flavorful cheeses. The sweet-tart flavor of the Cortland apple also shines in cooked preparations. Bake into cakes, tarts, cobbler, quiche and galettes, or slow cook to make soups, sauces, and preserves. Cortlands also make excellent cider and juice apples. They do not store exceptionally well, and should be eaten soon after harvest for best flavor and texture.
The name Cortland most likely comes from Cortland County, New York, a county close to where this apple was developed in Geneva, New York. Cortland have remained popular in New York state and throughout the east coast.
The Cortland apple was developed in 1898 by Professor S.A. Beach at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. It was first distributed in 1915. Over the next decade it quickly became one of the more popularly produced apples in New York State and won many awards including the Wilder medal of the American Pomological Society. Today, the Cortland apple ranks as the 12th most commonly commercially produced apple in the US. Cortland trees are known for their ability to thrive in cold weather and can be found growing in apple growing regions on the east coast, Washington State, Oregon, and Quebec and Ontario in Canada. They are also grown in France and Poland.