Inventory, 113 ct : 0
SweeTango® apples are a medium to large varietal, averaging 7 to 8 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to conical shape with flat shoulders tapering slightly to a narrow base. The apple’s skin is moderately thick, smooth, taut, and glossy, showcasing russet around the stem cavity and large white lenticels that give the surface a lightly textured feel. The skin also has a pale yellow-green base coloring, covered in large patches of bright to dark red blushing and striping. Underneath the surface, the white flesh is firm, dense, and aqueous, encasing a central fibrous core filled with tiny black-brown seeds. The flesh is also known for its large cell size, creating a cracking, bursting sound and sensation when bitten. SweeTango® apples generally contain around 14.8 Brix, a measurement of sugar, and are comparable in sweetness to a honeycrisp. The apples have a balanced, sweet, and tangy flavor with notable warm nuances of citrus, spice, apple cider, and brown sugar.
SweeTango® apples are available in the early fall.
SweeTango® apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an early-season variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The variety was developed in the late 20th century through the University of Minnesota and is a protected modern apple cultivar grown under strict regulations to ensure a consistent level of quality. SweeTango® is the registered brand name of the Minneiska apple variety, and the name was created from a blend of “sweet” and “tang,” descriptors used to highlight the apple’s balanced sweet-tart flavor. The apples were produced from a cross between the famous honeycrisp apple and the richly-flavored Zelstar!® apple, two varieties also made through the University of Minnesota, and were selected for their early-ripening nature, spice-filled flavor, crisp flesh, and extended storage capabilities. SweeTango® apples are often described as having the uniquely crisp, cracking consistency of honeycrisp apples with a more robust, improved flavoring. Retailers also value the cultivar for its long shelf life, a trait uncommon in early-season varieties. SweeTango® apples are available for a limited season in the early fall and are a versatile variety used in fresh, cooked, and preserved preparations.
SweeTango® apples are a good source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and calcium to protect bones and teeth. The apples also provide vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and other nutrients, including iron, vitamin E, magnesium, boron, zinc, copper, and vitamin K.
SweeTango® apples have distinctly crisp flesh and sweet, spice-filled flavor suitable for fresh and cooked preparations. The apples can be consumed straight, out of hand, or they can be sliced and served on cheese boards, tossed into salads, chopped into slaws, or mixed into fruit bowls. SweeTango® apples can also be combined into salsa as a crunchy element and paired with chips as an appetizer or used as a topping over tacos. The apple’s crisp nature can add depth to parfaits and oatmeal, or the fruit can be blended into smoothies, used as a fresh topping over pancakes and French toast, or dipped whole into chocolate and caramel as a sweet treat. In addition to fresh preparations, SweeTango® apples can be chopped and roasted with meats such as pork chops, sauteed with vegetables as a savory side dish, diced and stirred into creamy soups, or cooked into stuffing. The variety can also be incorporated into desserts such as tarts, pies, muffins, cakes, bread pudding, strudel, and fritters. Beyond culinary dishes, SweeTango® apples can be pressed into juice or used to flavor cocktails, sparkling beverages, and ciders. SweeTango® apples pair well with cheeses such as aged cheddar, blue, pecorino toscana, brie, and manchego, nuts such as Marcona almonds, walnuts, and pecans, spices including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg, maple syrup, vanilla, caramel, and meats such as pork, beef, turkey, and poultry. Whole, unwashed SweeTango® apples will keep for several weeks when stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. In professional cold storage, the apples will keep 3 to 4 months.
SweeTango® apples are known as a “managed” or “club” variety, meaning they are exclusively grown and marketed under one organization. The University of Minnesota gave Pepin Heights Orchards, the largest apple orchard in Minnesota, the sole rights to control the distribution of SweeTango® apples in 2006. Pepin Heights Orchard then established a grower’s cooperative known as The Next Big Thing, or NBT, initially comprised of 45 members only located in the state of Minnesota. Over time, the NBT widened their cooperative to include members across the United States in Washington, New York, and Michigan and in Nova Scotia and Quebec, totaling around 67 different farms. Many of the members of NBT are family-owned operations, and each member pays royalties for their SweeTango® apple license. SweeTango® apples were one of the first “managed” apple varieties in the United States, and though the systematic commercialization of the variety was met with pushback from outside apple growers, NBT was developed to protect the quality, demand, and marketing for the brand. Since the SweeTango® apple's success with their controlled release, several other “managed” apple varieties have been introduced to commercial markets, changing the foundation of the apple industry.
SweeTango® apples were developed through the University of Minnesota and were created from a cross between Honeycrisp and Zestar!® apples. Breeders David S. Bedford and James J. Luby made the initial cross in 1988, and the first seedling was selected in 1999 in a research orchard in Excelsior, Minnesota. The new apple cultivar, originally named Minneiska, was studied and tested for several years before it was officially released in 2006 under strict cultivation requirements managed by The Next Big Thing, a cooperative of licensed farms in the United States and Canada. The cooperative decided to market the Minneiska variety under the brand name SweeTango®, and the cultivar received a patent through the United States Patent Trademark Office in 2007. The first SweeTango® apple was sold on the East Coast of the United States in 2009, and since its release, the variety has been steadily increasing in demand. Today SweeTango® apples are grown under strict regulations in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York of the United States and in Nova Scotia and Quebec in Canada. When in season, the apples are sold through select partners of The Next Big Thing cooperative.
Recipes that include SweeTango® Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.
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