All University of Minnesota Apple Varieties

Since the apple breeding program began at the University of Minnesota in 1878, nearly 30 apple varieties have been released. Some University-developed varieties are no longer available, so we have listed all the current U of M varieties, many of which you can purchase from local nurseries and orchards.

Early Season Apples

Beacon apples

Beacon

  • Bright red apple with soft, juicy flesh and a slightly tart flavor
  • The tree is hardy, vigorous and susceptible to fire blight
  • Introduced in 1936
  • Ripens mid- to late August

Centennial crabapple

Centennial Crabapple

  • Large, red over orange crabapple that is excellent for fresh eating and sauce, but does not store well
  • The tree is very hardy, even in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3
  • Introduced in 1957
  • Ripens mid- to late August

Rave apples. Sold as First Kiss apples in Minnesota.

Rave® and First Kiss®

  • Extraordinarily juicy, this spritely tart and deeply colored apple ripens early but will store for up to five months post-harvest
  • The First Kiss® name identifies Minnesota grown fruit
  • Hardy to Zone 4A
  • Introduced in 2017
  • Ripens mid- to late August

State fair apples

State Fair

  • Striped red, juicy, moderately tart fruit good for eating and cooking
  • The fruit will store for 2 to 4 to weeks
  • The tree is susceptible to fire blight and somewhat prone to biennial bearing
  • Introduced in 1977
  • Ripens mid- to late August

SweeTango apple

SweeTango®

  • Juice and sweet with hints of fall spices, and deep red coloration over a yellow breaking background
  • This apple's flavor, balanced by vibrant acidity, inherited the crisp texture of 'Honeycrisp' and the juiciness of 'Zestar!®'
  • Introduced in 2008
  • Ripens early September

Zestar! apples

Zestar!®

  • Large, crunchy, juicy red fruit with a sprightly sweet-tart flavor
  • Excellent for both fresh eating and cooking. The fruit will store for 6 to 8 weeks
  • The tree is vigorous, upright and very susceptible to apple scab
  • Introduced in 1999
  • Ripens late August to early September

Mid-Season Apples

Chestnut crabapples

Chestnut Crabapple

  • Large, russeted crabapple with a rich, nutty flavor
  • Best for fresh eating or sauce
  • The fruit stores for 4 to 5 weeks
  • Introduced in 1949
  • Ripens early September

Red Baron apples

Red Baron

  • Medium-size red and yellow apple with juicy flesh and a mild sweet flavor
  • Good for fresh eating with a storage life of 4 to 5 weeks
  • The tree is hardy and resistant to fire blight
  • Introduced in 1970
  • Ripens mid-September

Sweet Sixteen apple

Sweet Sixteen

  • Crisp and juicy with an exotic yellow flesh and a very sweet, unusual sugar cane or spicy cherry candy flavor
  • The fruit stores for 5 to 8 weeks
  • The tree is very vigorous and fruit may be subject to premature drops
  • Introduced in 1977
  • Ripens mid- to late September

Triumph apples

Triumph®

Limited Tree Availability, Fruit Expected in 2025

  • Medium sized red fruit with a well-balanced flavor that is pleasantly tart
  • The tree has medium vigor, good fruit adherence and excellent scab resistance and good shelf life
  • A great option for direct market and organic producers
  • Ripens mid to late September

Honeycrisp apples

Honeycrisp

  • Large, dappled red fruit with a well-balanced flavor, outstanding crispness, and juiciness
  • Best for fresh eating and salads as the flesh is slow to brown
  • The tree has low to medium vigor and excellent scab resistance
  • Fruit will easily store 7 or more months, a benefit for small commercial growers
  • Ripens late September

Late Season Apples

Honeygold apples

Honeygold

  • Golden to yellow-green fruit that is sweet, crisp, and juicy
  • Excellent for fresh eating and also good for cooking
  • The fruit will store for 2 to 3 months
  • The tree is easy to manage but susceptible to fire blight
  • Introduced in 1970
  • Ripens late September

Haralson apples

Haralson

  • Firm texture with a complex tart flavor
  • Good for fresh eating and cooking, especially good pie apple
  • The fruit will store for 4 to 5 months
  • The tree is of low vigor and easily trained
  • Tends to be biennial bearing
  • Fruit may be prone to watercore and russeting
  • Introduced in 1922
  • Ripens late September to early October

Frostbite apples

Frostbite™

  • Intensely sweet, firm and juicy flesh
  • Stripped maroon-red and gold-yellow, 2 1/2" diameter fruit
  • Fruit may be prone to russeting
  • Excellent for cider
  • Introduced in 2008
  • Ripens late September to mid-October

Regent apples

Regent

  • Appealing red-striped apple with a well-balanced flavor that is good for eating and cooking
  • The fruit will store for 4 to 5 months
  • Tree is moderately vigorous and easily trained
  • Susceptible to apple scab and of moderate hardiness
  • Introduced in 1964
  • Ripens early to mid-October

SnowSweet apples

SnowSweet®

  • Savory, sweet tasting apple, with a slight tart balance and rich overtones
  • Amazingly slow to turn brown when cut
  • Appealing, large, bronze-red blush fruit
  • Excellent for fresh eating, snack trays, and salads
  • Introduced in 2006
  • Ripens mid-October

Fireside/Connell Red apple

Fireside/Connell Red

  • Very large fruit with a sweet flavor and fine-grained flesh good for fresh eating, salad, and baked apples
  • The tree is vigorous and weeping
  • Introduced in 1943
  • Ripens mid-October

Keepsake apple

Keepsake

  • Very hard and crisp with yellow flesh and an exotic sweet, spicy flavor
  • Good for fresh eating and cooking
  • The fruit will store for 6 months
  • The tree is of medium vigor and easy to manage
  • Introduced in 1978
  • Ripens mid-October

Prairie Spy apples

Prairie Spy

  • Large, firm, dense fruit that is excellent for baking and long-term storage
  • The tree is very vigorous and productive
  • Introduced in 1940
  • Ripens late October

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All University of Minnesota apple releases

The University of Minnesota apple breeding program has released 29 apple varieties since the research began. Some of the varieties listed below are no longer common or commercially available.

Variety Year released
Minnehaha 1920
Folwell 1922
Wedge 1922
Haralson 1922
Flame crabapple 1934
Beacon 1936
Prairie Spy 1940
Minjon 1942
Fireside/Connell Red 1943
Victory 1943
Chestnut crabapple 1946
Redwell 1946
Oriole 1949
Lakeland 1950
Centennial crabapple 1957
Northland crabapple 1957
Regent 1964
Honeygold 1966
Red Baron 1970
Sweet Sixteen 1977
State Fair 1977
Keepsake 1978
Honeycrisp 1991
Zestar!® 1996
SnowSweet® 2006
Frostbite™ 2008
SweeTango® 2008
Rave® / First Kiss® 2016
Triumph® 2022