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The Shizuka apple is large in size and round or conical in shape. The skin is fairly soft and buttery, with a pale yellow-green background overlaid with a red-orange blush that may cover a large portion of the surface. The high-quality flavor of the Shizuka apple tends toward sweetness rather than acidity, sweeter than its sibling Mutsu. The texture of this variety is light and crisp, comparable to Honeycrisp or Jonagold. The Shizuka apple tree is large, vigorous, and a heavy cropper, though somewhat susceptible to various diseases.
Shizuka apples are available in the fall.
The Shizuka apple is a modern Japanese variety of apple, botanical name Malus domestica. Shizuka was created from a cross of the Golden Delicious apple with the Indo variety. It shares the same parentage, though not all of the same qualities, as the more well-known Japanese apple Mutsu (also known as Crispin). The word “shizuka” means quiet or calm in Japanese.
Apples contain few calories and no fat. One medium apple has about 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. The fiber in apples, particularly in the form of pectin, lowers cholesterol levels and protects the cardiovascular system. Apples also contain phytochemicals, which protect cells from damage, carbohydrates, and small amounts of protein.
Shizuka apples are best for eating fresh, drying, or even making into juice. Slice into salads or for snacks such as kebabs—this variety does not brown quickly once cut. Pair with other fruits such as apricots or pears, cheeses such as cheddar or ricotta, or with nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds. Cooking Shizuka apples results in a textured puree, making it a good variety for applesauce. Shizuka apples are not a long-lasting storage variety, and will keep for a month or two in cool, dry storage.
Apple development and growing has a prominent place in Japan, especially in the northern prefecture of Aomori. Farmers and apple breeders in Japan have developed more than 20 varieties of apples and counting for market in Japan as well as across the world. The most well-known Japanese apple in the United States is the Fuji. Mutsu, the sibling of Shizuka, was created at an Aomori research station in the 1930s.
Apple breeder Tsuneo Murakami developed the Shizuka apple in 1969. It was released to market in 1986, and is now grown in apple-growing regions in Japan and the United States.