If you are looking for a disease-resistant apple good for baking and long-term cold storage, the Enterprise apple is a good fit for those needs. This specially bred apple tree is highly resistant to the most common apple blights and produces slightly tart fruit with a thick skin that easily store for several months.
Enterprise apples are among the 18 cultivars created by the joint breeding program between Purdue University, Rutgers University, and the University of Illinois (PRI) formed to cultivate new apple strains resistant to apple scab. The program is also known as the joint program of the Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey agriculture experiment stations.
Apple scab is a fungus that overwinters and spreads among apple and crab apple trees and leaves fruit and leaves deformed. While someone could safely eat an apple infected with scab as long as the interior was unaffected, it would take a strong and brave stomach to do so.
This particular apple was developed in 1978. It is the product of intentional cross-breeding of several types of apples, including Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Rome Beauty, and it was released to the market in 1990. Also in the Enterprise’s genetic mix is the crab apple, which lends the resistance to apple scab.
While is was specifically bred to have disease resistance to apple scab, it is also unlikely to be susceptible to fire blight, powdery mildew, or cedar apple rust.
How do Enterprise apples taste?
Many people liken the flavor of Enterprise apples to that of a Fuji. It has a spicy flavor that pairs well with cinnamon and other warm flavors. The fruit’s flavor improves with storage and becomes pleasantly tart. It does have a thick skin that becomes a little waxy during extended storage, so most people prefer the Enterprise for cooking rather than for fresh eating.
The appearance of the apple is a bright, glossy red very similar to the McIntosh. A freshly picked or purchased Enterprise apple may have a bit of a bloom on it, but if you polish it, the apple will become very glossy and attractive.
Ways to Use Enterprise Apples
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cooking-apple-frying-pan-734379430Enterprise apples hold their shape well when baked because they have a thick skin, so they are generally chosen for baking project, so you can use them in your favorite apple dumpling or apple muffin recipe.
Enterprises are also great for the comfort-food favorite, fried apples. Fried apples are pan sautéed in a butter, sugar, spice mixture rather than deep fried, and they fall indeterminately between side dish and dessert.
With baked apples, you hollow out the center and fill with sugar, cinnamon, butter, and spices before baking the whole apple in the oven. You will end up with a soft, gooey apple dessert that is hard to beat. Another option is to fill your baked apples with a cheesecake mixture, or, if you are trying to make better life choices, granola and honey for breakfast.
Enterprise apples also make tasty apple chips when you dehydrate the apples. Although Enterprise apples store for quite a long time, dehydrating them will further prolong their shelf life.
Health Benefits of Enterprise Apples
There is a reason mothers and doctors everywhere push apples into children’s hands: they are consistently a low-calorie snack with important nutritional elements. They are free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Enterprise apples have plenty of soluble and insoluble fire, which in addition to controlling cholesterol, helps with digestion. The skin is loaded with Vitamin C. Calorie counters can plan for 70 to 80 calories per apple.
Where to Buy Enterprise Apples
Because these trees are easy to grow and disease resistant, they are very popular nursery stock. If you do have trouble finding them in person, you may have more success online.
While bare root fruit trees may look a little sad when you unpackage them, it is actually the most economical way to purchase a new fruit tree. The tree’s rootball is shaken free of soil prior to packing, so it is much easier to handle, and much less expensive, than a container-grown tree that you may purchase in nurseries.
How to Grow Enterprise Apples
Enterprise apple trees are considered easy to grow, so they are great trees for first-time apple planters. the diseases that the Enterprise apple tree is resistant to are the most common culprits for apple trees that fail to thrive. Because the blights are fungi and spread easily, it is so hard to protect your trees. Many fruit fungi are resistant to fungicide, no to mention they may render the crop inedible, so choosing a disease resistant tree is much easier than conquering a disease.
They grow best in hardiness zones 4-9 and only requires 400 chill hours. Enterprise apples also grow well in cooler climates, making them a great, flexible tree if you are uncertain of your growing conditions.
Appearance and What to Expect in Your New Tree
The growth of this fruit tree ranges depending on which version of the tree you get; they come in dwarf and semi-dwarf. Semi-dwarf rootstock can grow 12-to-15 feet tall and wide, while the dwarf root stock only reaches 8-to-10 feet tall and wide.
Planting and Growth
Plant your apple tree in full sun and loamy, well-drained soil so when you are digging your hole that is at least twice as wide and deep as the root ball, toss in some compost or manure as you backfill if you do not have naturally loamy soil. They do the best in neutral soil (soil pH of 6.0-7.0), and if you have any doubts about the makeup of your soil, check in with your local extension office. They usually offer soil sample testing.
These trees are not self-pollinating, meaning they do need another nearby apple tree to produce fruit. Some apple trees have the ability to produce fruit without another apple tree nearby to pollinate it, but the Enterprise lacks this ability. They produce apples in only 2-3 years after planting.
Enterprise apples bear fruit late in the season, approximately late October, and the harvest will initially have a slightly acidic taste. That taste wanes with storage and turns to the more slightly tart taste .
Enterprise apple trees benefit from aggressive pruning. While it can seem counter-intuitive to chop off fruit-bearing trees, your grit will be rewarded with increased yields and improved tree health in following seasons. Because Enterprise apple trees produce such large crops, failure to prune set your tree up to break under the weight of a big crop on a poorly managed canopy.
Failure to properly prune your fruit trees can lead to needless breakage from inclement weather and can promote the growth of molds and fungi due to decreased air circulation in the canopy.
Enterprise apples are far from the only good baking apple nowadays. Thanks to the professional apple breeding programs across the world, we no longer rely on a chance seedling to create a good apple. Instead, botanists intentionally graft and cross-pollinate trees to give us different apply varieties with specific desirable traits. Other cooking apples that maintain their form and provide a sweet, tart taste are the honeycrisp and pink lady.
Frequently Asked Questions
For how long will Enterprise apples keep?
Enterprise apples will last 3-5 months in cold storage. Remember to keep them in your crisper on the vegetable setting to maintain enough humidity to prevent the skin from shriveling. Do not wash the apples until you are ready to eat. Apples kept at room temperature age much more quickly than those stored in the refrigerator.
How long will it take for my Enterprise apple tree to bear fruit?
You can expect your Enterprise apple tree to bear fruit 2-3 years after planting. To speed up this timeline, purchase the largest bare rootstock available. Remember that a stressed tree is less likely to bear fruit, so be sure to pamper your new tree with proper planting and care in its early days with you.