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Junami apples are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 7 to 8 centimeters in diameter, and have a round, ovate, to conical shape, sometimes appearing slightly asymmetrical. The apple’s skin has a yellow-green base and is almost entirely covered in bright to crimson red blush and striping. The surface is also smooth and waxy with a chewy consistency, showcasing faint yellow lenticels. As the apple matures, it may develop a sticky feel. Underneath the surface, the ivory to cream-colored flesh is dense, somewhat coarse, and juicy with a crisp but not overly firm texture. The flesh also encases a small central core filled with black-brown seeds. Junami apples have a moderate sugar content, typically around 13 Brix, contributing to a sweet, subtly tart flavor with perfumed floral and fruity nuances. It is important to note that the apple’s flavor improves with storage, so most Junami apples are commercially sold a few months after harvest.
Junami apples are harvested in the fall. The apples are kept in storage for a few months and are generally released to commercial markets in the mid-winter through spring.
Junami apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a Swiss variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The mid-season apples were developed in the late 20th century from multiple crosses between marigold, idared, and elstar apples and were selected as a commercial variety for their extended storage capabilities. Junami apples are harvested in the fall, but the fruit’s flavor improves with storage, causing the apples to be released to consumer markets late in the season. This allows the apples to be sold well into the early spring, a season that generally lacks flavorful apple varieties. Apple enthusiasts also favor Junami apples for their sweet and sharp flavor and juicy, semi-crisp flesh. The apple’s true varietal name is Milwa, and the descriptor Junami is a brand name used by growers in Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States. The apples are also known as Diwa®, a trademarked name used in commercial markets in Switzerland. Junami apples are commercially successful in northwestern Europe, consumed as a multi-purpose, fresh eating and cooking apple, and the variety is being sold on a smaller scale in the United States as a specialty cultivar.
Junami apples are a good source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation. The apples also provide phloridzin, a polyphenol found in the fruit’s skin that helps slow the absorption of sugar in the body and contains other amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, boron, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Junami apples have a sweet-tart flavor and crisp, juicy flesh well suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The apples can be consumed, straight out of hand, sliced and coated in butter, cinnamon, and honey as a savory-sweet topping on toast or displayed on charcuterie plates with soft cheeses, nuts, and dried fruit. Junami apples can also be chopped into salads, fruit bowls, and slaws, chilled in the fridge and served as a snack, dipped into chocolate or caramel, or used as a fresh topping over cottage cheese, parfaits, and oatmeal. In addition to fresh preparations, Junami apples can be pressed into juice for smoothies, cocktails, and sparkling beverages, or they can be steeped into an apple-cinnamon tea. The apples can also be sauteed with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to create a soft and rich sauce to pour over ice cream or baked into crisps, crumbles, scones, and muffins. In Europe, Junami apples are grown under strict standards to be sold as a dessert variety. If these standards are not met, the apples are made into juice, wine, compote, or fruit salad. Junami apples pair well with other fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, melon, and grapes, spices including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, honey, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, and dates. Whole, unwashed Junami apples will keep for several weeks to over a month when stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. In professional cold storage, the variety will keep for 3 to 6 months.
Junami apples are one of the only Dutch apple varieties that can be sold almost year-round without being grown in the southern hemisphere. The sweet-tart apples are retailed from November through May, but according to Inova Fruit, the Dutch fruit breeder who markets Junami apples throughout Europe, Junami apples reach their peak sales in April and May. To highlight the variety during this time, Inova Fruit established a Junami promotional campaign in the late spring to reinvigorate sales as a part of the final push of the season. March 1st is World Compliment Day, a day to celebrate positivity, and on this day, Inova Fruit releases Junami apples with specialty stickers that feature a compliment as a surprise for consumers. The marketing campaign also includes social media posts aiming to encourage and celebrate customers for making “smart and healthy choices.” The marketing plan was met with favorable feedback from consumers, and the company decided to launch the campaign as an annual event.
Junami apples were developed in 1982 at the Federal Research Station Agroscope Changins-Wadenswil at Wadenswil, Switzerland. The variety was created by breeders Markus Kellerhals and Alfred Aeppli and was the product of a cross between idared and marigold apples, later crossed with elstar apples. The seedling was selected for commercial propagation in 1985 and was extensively tested, trialed, and observed. In 2005, Junami apples were released to consumer markets in Europe and were introduced to the United States in 2012. The variety was also submitted for a plant patent under the name Milwa in the United States in 2007, and the patent was granted in 2009 under USPP 19,615 P3. Today Junami apples are cultivated and sold throughout Europe, especially in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. In the United States, the apples are exclusively grown and marketed by the Rainier Fruit Company, a company based in Saleh, Washington. When in season, Junami apples are available through farm stands, specialty grocers, and distributors.
Recipes that include Junami Apples. One is easiest, three is harder.