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black Arkansas apples

A member of the rose family (Rosaceae), the exact parentage of the black Arkansas apple is unknown, but it is believed to be a relative of the Winesap apple. Known as one of the best storage apples the black Arkansas will keep up to four months in cold storage during which time both the flavor and texture of the apple improves.

The skin of the black Arkansas apple is waxy and vivid red to dark purple in color. Its flesh is golden hued and juicy with a fine-grained and crisp texture. Its highly aromatic and sweet-tart flavor mellows and becomes more palatable with storage. The flesh as well will soften with storage, when first harvested the black Arkansas apple is extremely hard, almost to the point that many would find it difficult to eat out of hand.

Nutritional Value

Black Arkansas apples are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases. In addition they contain insoluble fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. They are also a good source of vitamin C and A and contain some potassium and iron.

Serving Ideas

The firm texture of the black Arkansas apple makes it an excellent cooker. It can be baked, sautéed and roasted. Try baked into a pie or bread pudding. They can also be slow cooked and pureed to make soups and sauces. Its aromatic juice lends itself to ciders and jams. The flavor of the black Arkansas pairs well with by winter squash, pecans, cranberries, vanilla, thyme, sage, cinnamon and cardamom.

Geography/History

The black Arkansas apple is believed to have originated in the 1870’s from a Winesap seedling in an orchard owned by Mr.Brathwaite in Benton County, Arkansas. Black Arkansas apples and the apple industry in general thrived in this region until the 1930’s when a combination of a moth infestation, drought and the onset of the great depression nearly took out the commercial apple industry in Arkansas. Today black Arkansas apples are grown in apple growing regions throughout the United States such as California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio and of course Arkansas.

Seasons/Availability

Black Arkansas apples are available in the mid fall to early winter.

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