Jazz apples are known for a sweet, crisp flavor that is likened to a sensorial explosion, making them a sought-after new product in grocery stores. Legal restrictions make them unavailable to home gardeners, so these apples are an exclusive, which can translate to expensive, snack.
New Zealand botanists created the Jazz apple in the 1980s by cross breeding two other popular apple varieties – Braeburn and Gala. Jazz apples became available to select commercial orchards in the 1990s, but do not expect to see them at your local orchard or nursery.
Trademark and Legal Restrictions
Unlike other fruit trees widely available for purchase, Jazz apples remain under trademark restriction. Jazz™ is the trademarked brand name for the cultivar of apple generically known as Scifresh. Growers market their fruit under the Jazz™ name rather than the generic name.
Enza continues to regulate the production and marketing of Jazz apples. Enza controls a global restriction, meaning that any growers, even international, do so only at the license of the company.
To maintain the license to grow Jazz apples, growers must demonstrate strict quality control. Only a handful of orchards in the United States, specifically Washington State, are licensed for this tree, so it is unlikely that a home gardener would find a true Jazz apple tree for purchase.
Apples like the Jazz that are under trademark restriction are commonly called club apples because only a limited number of specially selected growers are permitted access to them. This ensures quality control but also limits the supply to prevent the prices from being driven down by many competitors.
Apples commonly found in supermarkets are non-club apples, or open apples, like Gala, Jonathan, and Red Delicious. Most apples resulting from hybridization like Honeycrisp and Cortland are also open apples.
Jazz apples are one of a handful of new club cultivars beginning to land in supermarkets after finally reaching commercial production since being developed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Open apple growers may experience market pressure from club apples in upcoming years at the club apples have the benefit of strong grower and brand organization to launch marketing campaigns and to collectively compete for shelf space in stores.
Club apple growers argue that the trademarked fruit encourages research and development of new apple types because companies do not want to spend millions to develop a new fruit only to have it immediately available for everyone else to grow.
How Does a Jazz Apple Taste
Jazz apples combine the best traits of its parent apples. The white flesh is juicy and quite crisp upon harvest. In fact, it is so crisp that some with weak teeth have difficulty biting into it. To soften slightly, put the apple in cold storage. The taste will be sweet-tart, low acid, and have hints of pear.
Enza markets the apple with the description that it has a “crunchy tangy sweet juice invigoration.”
Fruit with a brighter red coloration will have a superior taste than those that are lighter or that have large amounts of yellow.
Critics of the apple judge the taste not to live up to marketing hype and disapprove of the modern trend of creating sweet apples to satiate current culture’s sugar addiction.
How to Use a Jazz Apple
Jazz apple producers market the apple as one expected to hold up particularly well after baking. It is also known for having a consistently excellent taste and is most suitable for eating plain.
Jazz apples will work well with any baked good like pies, tarts, crisps, and dumplings. Consider how to highlight and showcase the flavor rather than drowning it in competing tastes – perhaps pair it with blue cheese on a charcuterie or use it as a chip for dips.
Where to Get Jazz Apples and Jazz Apple Trees
Jazz apple trees will not be available to home gardeners. Orchards interested in planting the tree must get a license from Enza.
Although Jazz apples are available year-round due to being grown in North America, Europe, and South America, it can be challenging to find in stores. The official website for Jazz apples includes a store locator to help you find a retailer near you.
How to Grow Jazz Apples
Nurseries cannot legally sell true Jazz apple trees, and any saplings claiming to be Jazz™ are most likely a similar but not identical tree. The growing conditions recommended for Jazz apples are trade secrets and part of the quality control required of all licensed growers.
As a home grower, you should not plan to grow your own Jazz™ trees from the seeds of fruit purchased from supermarkets.
Apple trees require pollination of the blossoms in spring from nearby apple trees. The resulting fruit maintains the characteristics of the tree that it grows on. The seeds from that fruit will be a new apple that combines the traits of the fruit-bearing tree and the other tree that supplied pollen.
The botanists that create brand new cultivars carefully limit each tree’s pollen exposure to specific other trees to create a consistent new tree, and this process is repeated over and over again to develop new strains that have desirable characteristics from each parent plant.
Jazz apples are grown in both the northern and southern hemispheres, so consumers can find them in supermarkets throughout the year.
United States and United Kingdom harvests provide supply October through April. Growers in Chile and New Zealand harvest and export Jazz apples March through September.
Store purchased Kiku apples in the refrigerator to maintain maximum freshness. To extend the life of your apples, invest in refrigerator storage solutions to protect the produce and to minimize gasses that contribute to the aging of fruit and vegetables.
Apples in particular produce a large amount of ethylene, so keeping them separate from other produce will extend the life of other food in your refrigerator and help reduce food waste.
If you like to store fruit in a crisper drawer, drawer liners can cushion the fruit to prevent bruising and also absorb moisture to maintain quality as long as possible.
Is your crisper already full? Create additional fruit storage on your refrigerator shelves with a few fruit bins. These bins will shelter fruit and other produce from being jostled, and it also has a raised tray that keeps moisture away from the produce.
For refrigerators lacking in space for a bin or dedicated crisper, apple wraps are also an option for extending the life of individual apples. They absorb the ethylene and protect each individual apple. Produce storage bags will perform a similar function.
The nutrition of Jazz apples is similar to that of any other apple. One apple will meet one-fifth of your daily fiber needs, and it also contributes 13 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs.
Many other apple trees accessible to home growers will yield sweet, crisp fruit that holds up well for baking. Consider the Ambrosia, Honeycrisp and Cortland trees for excellent fruit production at home.
Amateur gardeners can also turn to cultivars related to the Jazz. These include the Royal Gala and Braeburn.
To sample the exclusivity of a trademarked apple, home growers can obtain Cripps Pink apple trees. Cripps Pink is the generic name for Pink Lady apples, which are a trademarked apple from Australia known for an effervescent quality.
Enza produces another trademarked apple, the Envy, which features a sweet, floral taste.
Fun Facts about Jazz Apples
Jazz apples are sometimes called the lawyer’s apple because of the legal restrictions limiting growth and access to the tree.