Apple Gardener FAQ

These are the most common questions we are asked by home gardeners. We hope our information and the resource links we provide help you find the information you are seeking.

Thank you for your interest in apples developed by the University of Minnesota.

What is the most popular U of M apple?

Without a doubt it is the Honeycrisp Apple. Explosively crisp, juicy, and with a sweet-tart taste, Honeycrisp is a true favorite. This exceptional apple has been honored as a significant technological discovery in the 2006 Better World Report and is the Minnesota State Fruit. It's worth waiting for Honeycrisp Apples that ripen late in September to mid-October.

What are the names of the newest University of Minnesota apples?

Rave® / First Kiss® brand apples from the MN55 cultivar, are the newest apples from the University of Minnesota. Extraordinarily juicy, this spritely tart and deeply colored apple ripens early-to-mid August but will store for up to five months post-harvest. 

Four other apples have been introduced in recent years.

The Zestar!® Apple has a sprightly sweet-tart taste with a hint of brown sugar. It is an unusually crunchy, crisp and juicy early season apple.

The SnowSweet® Apple has a delightful sweet taste, with a slight tart balance and rich overtones. A unique characteristic is the fruit's snowy white flesh is very slow to oxidize and turn brown after cutting. SnowSweet® can be sliced for snacking or cut for salads well in advance and the apple pieces still maintain a white appetizing appearance. SnowSweet® ripens late in the season.

SweeTango® Minneiska Apples are juicy and sweet with hints of fall spices. This apple's flavor, balanced by vibrant acidity, dances to a long and satisfying finish on the palate. It also inherited the crisp texture of Honeycrisp and juiciness of Zestar!®.

The Frostbite™ Apple was named by 8 Minnesota consumers in a 2008 contest. Frostbite™ is a unique, small apple that is extremely sweet. It's flavor has been likened to sugar cane and molasses. It is extremely cold hardy and is an exceptional apple for cross polination. Frostbite™ will ripen in late September to mid-October, but because of its recent introduction, fruit won't be available to consumers for several years.

Where can I buy a tree to plant?

Your best bet for purchasing one or just a few trees is to contact your favorite garden center and specifically ask for the University of Minnesota variety you want. In Minnesota, if you shop early, the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Summer House will have a selection of varieties. Plus, many retail nurseries and garden centers in Minnesota carry new Zestar!® and SnowSweet® apple trees.

What if I want to buy a number of apple trees?

Large quantities (typically a minimum of 100) of patented University of Minnesota varieties must be ordered from a Licensed Wholesale Nursery.

Do I need to have more than one apple tree?

Yes. Apple trees need neighboring trees to enhance pollination. Plus, you need at least two different varieties.

How far apart should I plant my trees?

Trees should be planted no closer than 15 feet apart and no further than 100 feet of each other.

Where should I plant my trees and what do I need to do to help them produce good apples?

The University of Minnesota Extension website provides great information that will help you.

When will U of M apples be available?

This listing of varieties includes a picture and brief description of available University of Minnesota apples. Average ripening times are included.

Where can I buy U of M apples?

Within Minnesota, a great resource is the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's MN Grown Directory. Buying from a farm market will not only provide you with great, fresh apples, buying locally will also help the environment and local economy.

If you don't have access to a farm market, please ask your local grocer for the specific University of Minnesota variety you would like.

Where can I pick apples?

An exceptional resource for finding pick-your-own orchards anywhere in the United States can be found at the All About Apples website.

How can I learn about the nutritional value of apples?

The United States Apple Association provides information for consumers on the health benefits of apples.

Where can I find recipes for apples?

The U of M and the U.S. Apple Association both provide an extensive catalog of recipes.

How do I freeze apples or make applesauce?

Tips can be found on this U of M Extension site.

SnowSweet® (Wildung cultivar), Zestar!® (Minnewashta cultivar), SweeTango® (Minneiska cultivar) and Rave®/First Kiss® are registered trademarks of the University of Minnesota. Frostbite™ is a trademark of the University of Minnesota.