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Mutsu apples are medium to large fruits, averaging 7 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a somewhat irregular, conical to round shape with lopsided shoulders. The skin is smooth, firm, and waxy with a yellow-green hue, and a few dark brown lenticels are dotted across the surface. The skin may also contain some brown russeting around the stem that is edible. Underneath the surface, the flesh is ivory to white, subtly crisp but still soft, grainy, and aqueous, encasing a central core filled with tiny, black-brown seeds. Mutsu apples are known for their sweet-honeyed flavor mixed with sharp, tangy, and acidic notes.
Mutsu apples are harvested in the fall and can be stored through the early spring.
Mutsu apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a mid-season variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. The cultivar was created in Japan, named after the Mutsu province, and is a cross between a golden delicious and an indo apple. Mutsu apples are a popular dessert variety in Japan and are colloquially known as the “million-dollar apple.” The variety has the unique ability to be cultivated in a number of ways to create different skin colorings, and these color variations allow the apples to be sold for high prices in Japanese markets. Mutsu apples are also known as Crispin apples in the United Kingdom and are favored as a culinary pear for their aromatic, coarse flesh and sweet-tart flavor.
Mutsu apples are a good source of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive tract. The fruits also provide vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can boost the immune system and repair cell damage, and contain trace amounts of boron and potassium, most of which are located in the apple’s skin.
Mutsu apples are best suited for both raw and cooked applications, such as baking and roasting. The crisp, sweet-tart fruits can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or they can be chopped and added to salads, sliced and layered into sandwiches, or quartered and served with nuts, cheeses, and dried fruits on appetizer plates. Mutsu apples can also be pressed into juices and ciders or dried for extended use. In addition to savory applications, the sweet and delicately spiced flavor of the Mutsu apple is sought after as a dessert variety in the culinary world. The apples can be hollowed out and stuffed, battered and fried, or baked into bread, pies, cobblers, and muffins. Mutsu apples pair well with meats such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, cranberries, rosemary, pears, beets, rice, maple syrup, cinnamon, and honey. The fresh fruits will keep 3-6 months when stored whole and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In Japan, the skin of the Mutsu apple can be manipulated during cultivation to create three different colored apples. If the apples are left to grow naturally in full sunlight, the skin remains yellow-green and are labeled as Sun Mutsu in local markets. Sun Mutsu apples are very common in Japan and are an easily recognizable variety. They are also the sweetest version of the apple as the excess sunlight allows for the highest developed sugar content. Red Mutsu apples are grown in bags and are exposed to sunlight about a month before harvest to develop a bright red hue. This coloring is considered a specialty variety and is highly desirable in Japanese markets. Silver Mutsu are apples never exposed to sunlight to create a very pale-yellow hue.
Mutsu apples were developed at the Aomori Research Station, located in Kurioshi, Japan, in the 1930s. The variety is a hybrid of indo apples and golden delicious apples and was introduced to the United Kingdom and the United States in 1948. Mutsu apples were later renamed to Crispin apples in the United Kingdom in 1968 as a part of a marketing campaign to promote the specialty variety among apple enthusiasts. Today Mutsu apples are still grown in Japan in the Aomori, Fukushima, and Iwate prefectures and are also cultivated in Europe and the United States.
Recipes that include Mutsu Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.