Honeycrisp apples were first grown and produced in Minnesota in 1991. They originated from the cross-pollination of a macoun and honeygold apple that was part of a program developed by the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center. Growers who want to plant honeycrisp trees must obtain a license from the University of Minnesota. Though there are many honeycrisp orchards in the United States, certain geographic areas such as in Wisconsin, Illinois and Idaho are ideal for optimal growing.
Honeycrisp apple trees ripen from early September to late October, and will stay fresh if kept in storage until April of the following year. In Minnesota, the optimal harvest is the last week in September, which tends to produce apples with a strong flavor as compared to the apples harvested a few weeks earlier, which have a milder taste. Honeycrisp trees are sturdy, which allows the apples to hold well on the tree and decrease the number of drops. Growers recommend that you store the apples in the crisper section of your refrigerator to maintain crispness.
Appearance and Uses
A ripened honeycrisp apple is typically medium to large-sized and has a strong red color with yellow and green hues. Some honeycrisp apples also have small whitish dots across their surface. Honeycrisp apples are eaten as a snack or dessert, and are also used for baking pies and to make applesauce.
When selecting honeycrisp apples at the grocery store, look for ones that are firm, with no soft spots. Check the skin to ensure the surface is smooth and that there are no blotches, indentations or cuts. Hold the apple to confirm that it has good weight and doesn't feel soft to to the touch. Do not buy apples with dark spots or wrinkles, which may indicate improper storage.
A ripe honeycrisp apple has a sweet flavor with a low level of acidity and sourness. When you bite into the apple, the piece should break off crisply into your mouth with a significant amount of juiciness. The apple's inner flesh should be a slight cream or tan color, which indicates optimal freshness. Honeycrisps that are picked too early may taste sweet, but lack the crispness of a ripened apple.