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The Crimson Gold Apple

A rare variety, the Crimson Gold apple was once almost lost for good! But these small, sweet, golden-blush apples made a comeback, and we’re so glad they did. They may be small, but they’re mighty. These apples pack a punch with all sorts of health benefits and they’re great for baking and cooking or just a sweet, healthy snack.

Keep reading to see what’s so impressive about the Crimson Gold apple. 

Several Crimson Gold apples against a white background.
Crimson Gold apples.

History of the Crimson Gold Apple

In 1944 an American apple breeder named Albert Etter developed the Crimson Gold apple in California. Etter wanted to breed an apple variety from the crab apple variation but with a sweet flavor since most crab apples are sour and bitter. This led to his famous project of developing the Crimson Gold apple. Unfortunately, Etter passed away in 1950 before a patent could be finished for his newfound apple. 

Before being rediscovered in the 1970s, the Greenmantle Nursery took over Etters old farm and came across a small branch that looked like it was still producing fruit. After watching over the grafted tree branch, it indeed grew a small apple that looked just like Etters Crimson Gold. 

Etter’s noted the apples could be boiled for hours without breaking down. They proceeded with the test and knew that the apple was, in fact, Etter’s original creation after a few hours. 

Little known fact: Etter named the apple “Little Rosybloom,” but it was officially renamed the Crimson Gold apple in the late 1970s by a California-based apple nursery.

Characteristics of the Crimson Gold Apple 

Being a hybrid of the Crab Apple variety, these apples reach about 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, have a golden yellow base, and are covered in dark ruby red-toned patches. Known for their thin skin and crisp cream-colored flesh, the Crimson Gold apples have a high sugar content that balances their acidic counterpart. 

Red apples against a white background.


The Crimson Gold apple was created for its sweet and tangy taste. Unlike most crab apples, they have a more significant sugar content that gives the apple the sweetness most desire for baking and snacking. 


When choosing the best apples for baking, it’s always nice to have an apple with a sweeter taste. You can incorporate the Crimson Gold apple in your baked goods, sauces, and more! 

Closeup of a caramel apple tart.
Caramel Apple Tart

Want some recipes the Crimson Gold Apple would work great with?

Sweet Cinnamon Apple Squares

Rustic Apple Tart

Apple Chicken Melts

These apples are excellent raw, even your kids are going to love them because of how perfectly sized they are! They’re great to toss in your lunch box and bring to work or for a quick mid-day snack. 

Health Benefits

Apples may be one of the healthiest, most widely loved fruits on the planet; it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like them. They’re full of vitamins and nutrients that aid in heart health, diet, and even lowering things like your cholesterol. Apples are known to help support a healthy immune system as well. Who doesn’t love a good for you snack that keeps you feeling full and aid in good health? 

Red apples with gold hearts on them.

Growing a Crimson Gold Apple Tree

This semi-dwarf apple tree does need a bit of special care if you decide to plant one in your backyard! Keep reading to see the requirements of these fantastic apple trees.  For all you’ll need to know to successfully plant and grow your tree, visit our comprehensive guide on growing apple trees.

Growing Zones 

The Crimson Gold apple grows best in USDA zones 5 to 10. 

Size and Spacing 

Crimson Golds are semi-dwarf apple trees that once fully mature reach a size of around 12 to 16 feet high. When planting your trees, make sure you leave approximately 12 to 16 feet of space between your Crimson Gold apple tree and any other type of tree. 

A person digging with a shovel and another planting a tree.


These apple trees need a nearby pollinator for them to produce fruit. Flowering Crabapple trees do a fantastic job as a pollinator for the Crimson Gold apples. But as long as you have a different variety of apple trees with the same bloom period, your Crimson Gold trees should bloom anywhere between 2 to 4 years. 

Pests and Diseases

All fruit-bearing trees are prone to pests and diseases. Identifying what condition is harming your tree and how to help dramatically increase the chances of keeping your apple tree healthy for many years to come. One incredible perk of the Crimson Gold apple tree is it is very disease resistant. As for pests, the most common are aphids, mites, and beetles. There are many ways to rid your trees of these pests, both organically and using pesticides. 

Please read our blog, 10 Apple Tree Diseases. Here, you can find information on identifying and treating the most common apple tree diseases. 

Bloom Time and Harvesting 

After having their chill requirements met and spring finally turning the corner, the Crimson Gold starts to bloom mid-season which can be anywhere from April to May, depending on your climate.

Red apples growing on a tree.

Harvesting season starts late, typically late September to early October. Once harvested, you can keep these apples refrigerated for up to 4 months!

Tree Care

Caring for a Crimson Gold apple tree is a large commitment as these trees can live for 25 plus years. And if you wish to enjoy a harvest year after year, you need to learn how to care for your new tree properly. 

In this article, you can learn all about the care that goes into maintaining a healthy Crimson Gold apple tree. These guides will tell you all you need to know about spraying and pruning.

Where to Purchase a Crimson Gold Apple

Where To Buy a Tree

Finding a Crimson Gold apple tree can be a bit complicated. This is a scarce apple tree to come across, and your very best bet would be to reach out to specialty apple growers or online retailers. 

Where To Buy the Fruit

Crimson Gold apples most likely won’t be found in the bins at your local grocer. But, don’t fret! Some specialty produce stores may be able to get some in stock for you to enjoy. You may also come across a few online shops with them in their inventory, but they may be challenging to find because of their rarity. 

Three crab apples against a white background

Wrapping up the Crimson Gold Apple 

By now, you probably can’t wait to try one of these great little apples! Being one of the more rare varieties, it’s an apple that’s ardently pursued by its fans for its crisp and sweet flesh and beautiful thin skin.

Have you tried a Crimson Gold apple? We’d love to hear from you 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!