The Frostbite™ apple (MN447 variety) is a novelty apple for a special niche. It is extremely cold hardy, small in size, unusual in appearance, and very sweet. People either love or dislike Frostbite™. It is great for cider or people with a real sweet tooth.

Frostbite™ offers a distinctive late season option. 


  • Intense sweet taste - The Frostbite™ apple packs a punch. It's almost tangy, very sweet, and juicy. Biting into a Frostbite™ is almost like biting into a piece of sugarcane. Savoring its juice tastes almost like molasses melting in your mouth.
  • Small, late season sweet - By its late harvest season, Frostbite™ fruit is only about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. At maturity, it has a stripped maroon-red skin over a gold-yellow background. Its firm and juicy, cream colored flesh, delivers small, intensely sweet bites. This apple is great for making cider.
  • Growing & storing cautions - Frostbite™ has a tendency to get russeting (cracks around the top of the apple), which can attract wasps and other pests. The cracks also make the apple susceptible to mold during its relatively short storage life.
  • Rarely bitten by cold - The Frostbite™ apple is extremely cold hardy. It has performed for decades in USDA Zone 3b (-30 to -35°F). This durability allows Frostbite™ to thrive in northern climates where very few good quality apples can grow.
  • Apple breeding star - Frostbite™ has been a key apple in the U of M's breeding program since the 1920's. Its extreme cold hardiness and unique flavor make it an excellent apple to cross with other varieties. Frostbite™ is a parent to Keepsake and Sweet 16 apples and a grandparent to Honeycrisp.

Growing availability

Nurseries began grafting trees in 2008 and trees were ready for sale in 2009 for 2010 planting. Mature fruit became available to the public around 2014.



  • Malinda open pollinated
  • Grandparent of Honeycrisp and parent to Keepsake and Sweet 16

Ripening season

  • Late. Late September to mid-October.
  • Usually 1 to 3 weeks after Honeycrisp.


  • Fruit size: Small to medium. 2.2 to 2.6 inches (5.6 - 6.6 cm)
  • Skin color: 80 to 95% maroon red over yellow-gold background. Striped pattern of coloration. Often dappled appearance. Sometimes russeted.
  • Flesh color: Cream to light yellow.
  • Flavor: Sweet. Aromatic. Very unusual. Flavor has been compared to sugar cane and molasses.
  • Texture: Firm, but crisp and juicy
  • Storage life: 3 to 4 months in refrigerated storage (34 to 37°F)
  • Culinary uses: Cider, desserts, dried chips, fresh eating


Frostbite™ is a registered trademark owned by the Regents of the University of Minnesota.