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Kiku apples are known for their sweetness. On a scale of tart to sweet in terms of taste, Kiku apples are one of the sweetest apples available today. They are crisp and juicy with a firm flesh, like its Fuji apple parent. These apples are ruby red with light colored stripes, similar to a Gala. Kiku apples are large, and can grow to be up to five inches in diameter.
Kiku apples are available almost year-round, from mid-fall to late summer.
Kiku apples (Malus domestica) are considered by some to be the sweetest apple in the world. Apple sweetness is measured on the Brix scale—while most apples have a Brix of 12 to 14%, Kiku apples are higher, at 16 to 17%. Kiku is a trademarked name sold by only a handful of growers worldwide. It is considered a ‘sport’ (or natural mutation) of the Fuji, different mostly in appearance and size.
Apples are a very nutritionally-valuable food, with plenty of important nutrients such as dietary fiber, Vitamins C and B, and boron. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in apples are key to preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Apples do not contain sodium, fat, or cholesterol, and are low in calories.
Eat Kiku apples fresh, out-of-hand or add slices to salads or a grilled cheese sandwich. They also pair well with peanut butter as a snack. The crisp apples can be used for pies and tarts; their shape holds up well when cooked. Kiku apples make a naturally sweet applesauce. These late season apples keep well—at least three months—in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
The name Kiku is Japanese for “chrysanthemum,” playing on the roots of this apple’s origin in Japan.
Kiku apples were discovered in 1990 by Louis Braun, an Italian apple grower who found them growing on a Fuji apple tree in a Japanese orchard. He noticed a red sport, a natural mutation on an apple tree that causes a branch to grow with fruit that look different than the rest. Braun bought the rights to the apple and began growing it in Italy. The sweet Kiku was introduced to the US Market in 2010. Today, select growers around the world have permission to grow these sweet apples. Though primarily grown in Italy, they are also grown by CMI in Washington State, Applewood Orchards in Michigan, and Rice Fruit Company in Pennsylvania. Imports to the United States come from Chile and New Zealand. They grow well in warmer climates.
Recipes that include Kiku Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
People have shared Kiku Apples using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Sharing allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.
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