Curious to know more about the Atlas apple? Or is this your first time ever hearing about this Titan of the apple world? Either way, we’ve got everything you need to know right here. Read on to discover what you need to know about this legend-worthy fruit!
History of the Atlas Apple
The Atlas apple has its roots in Canada, where it was first grown in Ottowa around 1898, though it didn’t make its true debut until closer to 1924. Its origins in this unforgiving climate are likely the cause of its remarkable resistance to wintery precipitation. It’s assumed that these apples are a mix of either Manks Codlin X an unknown variety or Winter Saint Lawrence X Duchess Oldenburg.
Characteristics of the Atlas Apple
These apples are somewhat similar to Gala apples—likely to be a more familiar apple to you—in terms of appearance, though they’re definitely a few shades paler. They sport familiar red streaks trailing down a wan greenish-yellow base, and there’s a noticeable flush of pink buried in the skin. The size of these apples is worthy of their mythical namesake; they’re known as one of the larger apples you’ll find anywhere, so you can expect them to make for a filling fruit!
Taste of the Atlas Apple
Despite their namesake, these apples are nothing to shrug off—though if you prefer a sweeter snack, these aren’t the apples for you! Atlas apples lean decidedly closer to the savory side of fruit, with a definite bite to their flavor that can leave a coppery taste on the tongue.
Atlas Apple Tree Traits
The Atlas apple tree’s traits—say that ten times fast!—are pretty unique for a fruit tree. They’re suited to the rougher weather and colder temperatures of northern countries, proving themselves as trees tough enough to hold up the sky—or at least to hold up plenty of fruit! Not even snow and ice can take down this sturdy sapling, and its impressive ability to stand up to the elements is one of the many things that sets Atlas apples apart from other apple varieties.
Uses for the Atlas Apple
As mentioned above, the Atlas apple’s size makes for a filling one-stop snack if you’re not afraid to try your tongue against its savory bite. This is not an apple for the sweet-toothed among you, but you’ll find its delicious, robust flavor rewarding nonetheless. While it’s brilliant for use in both savory and sweet recipes, it shines just as brightly all on its own, and no matter which way you choose to dig into an Atlas apple, you’re sure to find yourself satisfied!
Even though apples aren’t often the first thing to come to mind when considering recipes that lean toward the savory side, the Atlas apple’s aromatic taste makes it a fabulous apple to cook with, even in dishes other than dessert. It’s a notoriously difficult apple to track down, especially in the US, but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, you’ll have plenty of options to utilize a newfound ingredient! If you manage to track down these apples, try them out in an apple and gouda grilled cheese, apple and cheddar puff pastries, or our savory apple onion tart!
When baking with the Atlas apple, you’ll want to let these fruits ripen as long as you can to achieve maximum sweetness, so keep them away from damp and heat to ensure they keep as long as possible. Just make sure you don’t wait too long—there’s nothing worse than opening up a rotten apple! That’s the last thing you want to toss into your recipes.
When it comes to apple sweets, we all have our favorites. Apples are a classic addition to all kinds of cakes, pies, tarts, pastries, and just about any baked good you can think of! We recommend trying out an Atlas apple substitution in our apple cider cake, old fashioned apple crisp, apple coffee cake, or apple pancakes! All of these recipes are easy as pie (pun absolutely intended), and your whole family is sure to get hooked on them.
When is the Atlas Apple in season?
The Atlas apple comes into season during late fall-early winter, which makes sense when taking into consideration where they were first grown. As mentioned before, these apples thrive in the cooler months, which makes them the perfect candidate for some holiday baking!
Where is the Atlas Apple grown?
Unfortunately for those of us living in the US, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to find these particular apples—not even at a farmer’s market, and certainly not in any ordinary grocery store! These apples are mainly grown in their country of origin, Canada; they can also be found in the UK, though they don’t seem to flourish quite as well there.
There are websites where you can order Atlas apple tree saplings in the UK, but it’s unlikely any of them ship to the US, as it’s quite difficult to ship plants in the first place, let alone to ship them internationally. However, if you do enough digging, there’s always a possibility you’ll discover a way to get your hands on some of these elusive apples (contact this nursery in New York, for instance)!
Final Thoughts on the Atlas Apple
While they’re mostly considered out of reach for US consumers, the Atlas apple is still a fascinating fruit to learn about, and it’s something to watch out for the next time you’re in Canada or the UK! Maybe you can find one to eat as a healthy vacation snack.
Did we miss anything about the Atlas apple? Have you been lucky enough to try one when you’ve been abroad? Let us know in the comments below!
Excited for more apple content? Visit our apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!