You've probably noticed that your grocery store has more variety of apples these days. It's not just all Red Delicious and Gala apples anymore. That's because the apple industry is constantly working on new varieties of apples to keep up with consumer demand and they're almost ready to introduce a new apple to the world. The Cosmic Crisp will hit grocery stores in early December and we can't wait to try the new apple in town.
There are around 2,500 apple varieties already, so why do we need a new apple variety? Apple growers and plant scientists constantly work to produce fruit trees that are at less risk for disease or changes in the climate like longer summers. They also design food that stays fresh longer and has particular characteristics.
What is a Cosmic Crisp Apple?
For the Cosmic Crisp, Washington State University's outstanding tree fruit breeding program focused on an apple that will last for about six months in storage, doesn't bruise easily and has a higher level of acidity so it doesn't brown quickly after you cut it.
But the WSU team didn't overlook the taste. The Cosmic Crisp apple is tart and sweet, with a crisp texture that makes it perfect for baking or excellent eating on its own. And the apple has a higher level of natural sugar, which means you can cut back on the added sugar in pies and other recipes.
The Cosmic Crisp apple is a cross between an Enterprise apple and a Honeycrisp. WSU has been developing the new variety since 1997 and they shipped the trees to Washington State growers in 2017. Around 6.8 million trees were planted in 2018, and another approximately 5 million trees were planted this year.
Why is it Called a Cosmic Crisp Apple?
The name Cosmic Crisp comes from the apple's appearance. Although it's a bright red, the apple's skin is dotted with lenticels (little white spots) that look like starbursts.
And yes, another trend in apples is creating brand apples or apples that have been trademarked. The Pink Lady apple, developed in Australia and released in the 90s, was the first trademarked apple. Honeycrisp is probably the best-known apple brand, trademarked by the University of Minnesota who developed the apple as part of an apple-breeding program at their Horticultural Research Center.
Although it's going to be another couple of months before you can try the Cosmic Crisp, watch for their marketing campaign to see if the new apples will be in your local grocery store.