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Meigetsu apples are large, round to conical fruits, averaging 7-9 centimeters in diameter, and have broad shoulders that taper to a narrow base. The skin is smooth, matte, firm, and yellow-green, covered in brown speckling and pink-red blush. Underneath the surface, the flesh is pale yellow to white, crisp, dense, fine-grained, and aromatic, encasing a small central core with black-brown seeds. Meigetsu apples are crunchy and juicy with honey-like sweetness and contain low acidity.
Meigetsu apples are available in the late fall through the winter in Japan.
Meigetsu apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a rare hybrid that belongs to the Rosaceae family. The variety was created in Gunma, Japan, in the 20th century and was selected for its sweet taste, firm consistency, and high resistance to disease. Also known as Gunma Meigetsu, if cultivated in the Gunma prefecture, and sometimes labeled as Nanamitsuki and Gunma Matsuki in regional markets, Meigetsu apples are a specialty variety that has become widely popular in Japan for its rarity. Meigetsu apples are not commercially cultivated due to their pale skin, easily showing imperfections and scars, and less than two percent of apple production in Japan is dedicated to Meigestu apples.
Meigetsu apples are a good source of fiber, which can help stimulate digestion, and are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and increases collagen production. The fruits also contain vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
Meigetsu apples are best suited for raw consumption as their sweet flavor and juicy flesh are showcased when eaten fresh, out-of-hand. The golden apples were bred specifically for fresh eating, and the flesh can be sliced and tossed into green salads or chopped and mixed into fruit bowls. Meigetsu apples can also be sliced and layered into sandwiches for a sweet crunch, blended into smoothies, sliced and used as a topping over toast, or chopped and stirred into oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt. In addition to fresh eating, Meigetsu apples are sometimes used in jams or compotes for their honeyed flavor. Meigetsu apples pair well with carrots, celery, dark chocolate, cheeses such as cheddar, blue, goat, and brie, green tea, cinnamon, honey, and maple syrup. The fresh apples will keep 1-2 months when stored in a cool and dark place, such as the refrigerator.
The name Meigetsu means “beautiful moon” in Japanese. Like other rare specialty fruit, Meigetsu apples are traditionally given to colleagues, friends, and family as gifts in Japan and are a sign of friendship. The fruit is often beautifully wrapped in ornate boxes, and when given as gifts, the fruit is seen as candy-like treat or dessert rather than a source of nutrition. Some families even travel in the fall to local farms in Gunma to hand-pick pick the fruits directly off of the trees. Harvesting the rare variety provides families with valuable fruits that can be later wrapped and given as more personalized gifts.
Meigetsu apples were created at the Gunma Agricultural Research Station in the Gunma prefecture, Japan, in the 20th century. The variety is a cross between the Japanese akagi and fuji apple and was released to local markets in 1991. Today, Meigetsu apples are cultivated in limited amounts and primarily localized to farmer’s markets, roadside fruit stands, and specialty grocers. Within Japan, the variety is specifically grown in the Gunma prefecture, Aomori prefecture, and Nagano prefecture.
Recipes that include Meigetsu Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Salt and Lavender||Apple Slaw|
|Recipe Girl||Apple Endive Salad|
|Blessed Beyond Crazy||Healthy Apple Salad|