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Zailiyskiy apples are medium-sized, globular fruits, averaging six centimeters in diameter, and have a round to ovate shape with a slender and fibrous, light brown stem. The skin is smooth and waxy, covered in a light bloom, and has a yellow-green base with variegated red blushing. Underneath the thin skin, the flesh is pale yellow-green to ivory, crisp, dense, and aqueous, encasing a central core filled with a few small, brown-black seeds. Zailiyskiy apples are juicy and aromatic with a sweet and sour flavor.
Zailiyskiy apples are available in the fall through early spring.
Zailiyskiy apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a natural hybrid that belongs to the Rosaceae family. Also known as Zailiyskoe, Zaili, Zailiysky, and Zailijskoje apples, Zailiyskiy apples grow on compact trees and were developed at the Kazakh Research Institute of Fruit Growing and Viticulture in Kazakhstan. Believed to be a cross between an aport and a burchardt reinette apple, Zailiyskiy apples are a fall and winter variety that is favored by small farms and home gardeners for its small size and resistance to disease. The fruits also have a balanced, sweet and sour flavor, which makes them suitable for fresh consumption.
Zailiyskiy apples are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system and is a good source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion. The apples also contain some potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, riboflavin, and vitamin K.
Zailiyskiy apples are best suited for fresh consumption as their sweet and sour flavor is showcased when consumed straight, out-of-hand. The crisp and juicy nature of the apple is exemplified when eaten whole, but the apple can also be sliced and served on appetizer plates, chopped and tossed into green salads, or thinly cut and paired with soft and hard cheeses. In addition to fresh applications, apples can also be baked into pies and cakes, dried and mixed into rice, or baked for a sweet and savory dessert. Zailiyskiy apples pair well with cinnamon, raisins, walnuts, and cheeses such as cheddar, bleu, and sheep’s milk. The fresh apples will keep 1-2 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Zailiyskiy apples are a favored home garden variety as the tree’s compact nature is suitable for growth in smaller gardens. Outside of Kazakhstan, the variety has seen an increase in popularity among home gardens in Voronezh, which is a city in southwestern Russia. This increase in cultivation is primarily credited to Yu. V. Kositsyn, who imported a wide selection of fruits from Kazakhstan into Russia bringing awareness to the Zailiyskiy variety.
Zailiyskiy apples are descendants of wild apples native to a region near Almaty and the Tian Shan mountains of Kazakhstan and have been growing wild since ancient times. As apples began to be cultivated in these regions, new varieties were created, and in 1992, the International Science and Technology Center of Moscow established research and development institutes around the world, including the Kazakh Research Institute of Fruit Growing and Viticulture in Kazakhstan. Zailiyskiy apples were created at the Kazakh institute through natural crosses between burchardt reinette and aport apples. Today Zailiyskiy apples are available through local markets in Kazakhstan and through small farms in neighboring countries in Central Asia. The apples are also grown in Eastern European countries such as Latvia.