Why You Need Patience In Order To Properly Enjoy An Arkansas Black Apple

There are more than 7,500 known types of apples, but the exact number is difficult to determine as new varieties are constantly being developed through genetic modification and cross-breeding. Some of the most popular types include Granny Smith, Gala, Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, and Fuji, but there are rarer types that people also love. Those include the Esopus Spitzenburg, the Newtown Pippin, and of course, the Arkansas black — all with beloved flavor profiles.

Apples are a great food because they make for quick, handy snacks. Many of them are typically eaten right off the tree, or within a week or two of being harvested, but if you want to try the Arkansas black, you are going to need some patience. These unique apples are typically harvested in October or November, and they should not be eaten right away. You should actually put them in the refrigerator and keep them there for a few months. Storing this uncommon variety that way allows for its flavors to fully take form over time.

Store Arkansas black apples to unlock their potential

Arkansas black apples are known for having very dark red or almost black skin. They have a tart, tangy, complex flavor, with notes of almond, cherry, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla, all of which become sweeter and fuller over time. This interesting flavor profile makes them a favorite apple for producing cider, as well as for raw consumption (although, only after being kept in storage). The texture of Arkansas black apples is noticeably crisp, which makes them ideal for being cooked into amazing apple pies and other baked goods.

Arkansas black apples are tough and bitter when eaten fresh off the tree, so cold storage is recommended to improve their taste. Due to their firmness, they keep their texture longer than most other apples, so you will still get a nice crunch if you store them for quite some time. Generally speaking, most apples can last in the refrigerator for a month or so, but it takes at least two months for the full flavors of an Arkansas black apple to come through.

[Image by Calstanhope via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 4.0]

Where did the Arkansas black apple come from?

If you hadn't heard of this tasty fruit before, you aren't alone. It's a rare variety, grown on a small scale. The Arkansas black apple is believed to have originated during the mid-19th century in Arkansas. By the 1920s, Arkansas black apples were being shipped across the nation to various states, having made quite a name for themselves. Circa the mid-20th century, though, their popularity had declined as other apple varieties became easier and cheaper to grow. However, the Arkansas black apple has seen somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, thanks to apple enthusiasts and hobby farmers.

Today, Arkansas black apples are grown not just in their namesake state, but also in a few different regions throughout the country: Missouri, Ohio, and the West Coast. They are popular among fans of heirloom apples, and they are loved for their intense flavor. These apples are also enjoyed because they can be stored longer than many other apple varieties, affording farmers and at-home gardeners a lasting supply.