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The Koru Apple Tree

Koru Apple trees are a new apple cultivar that is currently only available to commercial farming operations.

Group of Koru apples on white background.
Koru apples.

You have probably seen Koru Apples popping up in grocery stores all across the country. These apples have a unique flavor as well as a noticeable crunch and a resistance to browning.

Here’s your guide for everything you need to know about growing the apple tree and cooking with the Koru Apple. 

History of the Koru Apple Tree 

The Koru Apple was discovered by chance or so the legend goes.

Legend has it that the Koru Apple was discovered after some apple scraps were thrown into a rosebush in New Zealand. This is a very romantic way of telling the origin story of this particular cultivar. This apple is a cross between a Braeburn and a Fuji. It was discovered in New Zealand in 1994.

This apple quickly became a smash hit in New Zealand. It’s unique flavor was something unlike what people had ever expected from apples. In 2013, the Koru Apple made its way to the United States.

This apple has quickly become popular throughout the country. Thanks mostly to its unique flavor, the Koru Apple is now a staple of grocery stores all across the country.

Here’s a fun fact about the Koru Apple you might not have been expecting. Koru is a Maori word that symbolizes life, strength, and growth. This is a very appropriate name for an apple that inspires people with it’s interesting flavor and provides all of the health benefits people have come to expect from apples. 

Koru Apple Tree Characteristics

The Koru Apple tree grows vigorously in nursery settings. These apple trees are tall and have a healthy spread, but can easily be controlled through pruning and chemical means. Orchardists who grow the Koru Apple have noticed its similarities with Gala apples in terms of how it grows and the condition of the tree.

Apples in a commercial orchard setting similar to Koru apples.
Apples in a commercial orchard setting.

Planting Zones 

We’ve got a full guide on how to plant apple trees that can help you with all of the fine details of starting an orchard of your own. If you’re looking for the quick ins and outs of what it takes to grow a Koru Apple tree, then this section will help you out.

Koru Apple trees do best in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7. Koru Apple trees were originally grown in New Zealand and do best in areas of the country that have similar climates.

There are a few more things to keep in mind if you are considering growing the Koru Apple tree. 

Size and Spacing

Koru Apple trees are susceptible to overcrowding. If you attempt to grow too many Koru Apple trees next to each other, they can start to compete which leads to a smaller harvest.

This apple tree has many characteristics that it shares in common with Fuji apples. You’re going to want to give these apple trees plenty of room so that they do not have to compete for sunlight or other resources. 

Pollination

Koru Apple trees require good pollination in order to ensure a healthy harvest. If these trees are inadequately pollinated, farmers can be forced to deal with misshapen fruit. While the fruit will still taste good and the tree might produce as much as it normally would, the misshapen nature of the fruit makes it much harder to sell. 

Koru Apple Tree Care

Now that you know all of the ins and outs of growing a Koru Apple tree, here’s how you take care of one.

Sunlight

The Koru Apple tree is a full sunlight tree. This means you’re going to want to plant them in an area that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Watering

Koru Apple trees do not require as much watering as other apple cultivars. Once these trees are established in their soil, they require minimal watering and a well-draining soil. As they are getting established, they might need a little bit more water than they normally would. Be careful not to overwater your Koru Apple trees. 

Pruning 

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide on pruning apple trees, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few quick tips that you can use to keep a Koru Apple tree in shape.

Pruning apple trees not only helps them produce fruit on a consistent basis, it also helps gardeners control the overall shape of the tree. You want to prune to promote a healthy harvest as well as to shape the overall tree. 

Diseases & Care 

Our guide on apple tree diseases and care can help keep the tree doctor away. The details of this are that the Koru Apple tree has very similar resistances and weaknesses as the Gala apple. This includes a solid performance against apple rust and mildew. This apple tree has untested performance against fire blight. 

Pests 

Pests can quickly spoil even the best apple harvest. You’re going to want to keep an eye out for aphids and beetles in particular. Both of these types of insects feed on the apple tree itself and can lower its ability to produce fruit in the coming season. 

Common Uses For The Koru Apple Tree 

Koru Apples are good for about every purpose you could think of using them in. Their distinctive flavor causes them to stand out when compared to more mild apples. This means that despite the fact they can be cooked in virtually any recipe, you might want to give one a taste before you throw it into your favorite apple recipe.

What Does The Koru Apple Taste Like?

The Koru Apple has a unique flavor that could have only been discovered by chance.

These apples have a noticeable crunch when you first bite into them. You’ll also quickly notice that these are one of the juiciest apples you’ve ever tasted. Koru Apples have a sweet and spicy flavor. There are also hints of vanilla in the taste of these apples.

Cooking

Koru Apples are very slow to brown. This means that they’re going to be a great choice for cooking. While other apples will start to brown much quicker, the Koru holds on to it’s color for much longer. This is a great choice for recipes like salads that rely on apples holding onto their color.

Koru Apples are also a great choice for baking, sauteing, and turning into jams or apple butter. 

Eating Raw

It used to be next to impossible to find Koru Apples here in the United States. Thankfully, these apples are getting much more popular and can now be found all throughout North America.

You can find Koru Apples at most grocery stores in the country. These samples will have been shipped halfway across the world which means that their flavor will be slightly less bright and vibrant than apples that are fresh off the branch.

If you’re looking for the best raw Koru Apples you can find, you need to start calling around to your local orchards. Some commercial operations in North America have started growing Koru Apples. This means that it’s possible to find a local apple orchard growing this particular cultivar.

Local apples are always the freshest and that means they’ll have the best flavor. 

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Koru Apples can be used in a wide range of culinary applications. This means that they are a great choice for people looking to preserve apples throughout the season.

Koru Apples make a great choice for drying. These apples can become great apple chips. You can also use these apples and recipes that make jams and preserves that can be canned and preserved for months on end.

The Koru Apple is specifically designed to brown far more slowly than other apple cultivars. This means that this apple is an ideal choice for people looking to freeze their apples. The Koru will retain much of its fresh flavor and will be a nicer color than apples that brown more quickly.

So, what kind of recipes can you make with a Koru Apple? 

Find Your Culinary Strength with these Koru Apple Recipes

The Koru Apple can be used in a wide range of recipes. If you’re looking for an apple that not only has a unique flavor, but can also be a great vehicle for culinary exploration, then this is the apple for you.

The Koru Apple is a great choice for the classics of apple recipes like this simple 4 ingredient applesauce and these old-fashioned apple crisps. If you’re looking to take on something a little bit more exciting, this savory apple tart is a great recipe for Koru  apples. 

White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Porkchops, a good recipe for Koru apples.
White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Porkchops (click for the recipe).

Health Benefits of the Koru Apple Tree 

You might have already guessed by the translation of the Maori name of this apple tree, but this one is packed full of health benefits.

Apples are full of nutrition and low on calories. This means if you’re looking for a healthy alternative TO processed snacks, the apple is a great first place to explore.

Apples are also rich in compounds that have been linked to improved outcomes for diabetes, heart health, and even cancer. These include antioxidants and phytochemicals. Snacking on raw apples fresh off the branch as well as using apples in a variety of recipes are both great ways to improve the overall health of your diet.

Where To Buy The Koru Apple Tree

It might be very difficult to find a Koru Apple tree for sale.

These apple trees are native to New Zealand which means that the vast majority of them are grown on the other side of the world. It’s very difficult to ship fully grown apple trees across the world which makes them hard to acquire here in the United States. In addition to this, the Koru Apple tree is an officially licensed apple cultivar.

Since the Koru Apple tree is currently only sold to approved nurseries who distribute these trees to approved orchards, it’s going to be very tricky for everyday individuals to get their hands on a Koru Apple tree. Typically, only approved commercial farming operations acquire quarter apple trees in North America.

While it might not be impossible for private individuals to get a Koru Apple tree to grow in their yards, it will be very tricky and there might be a few hurdles to jump through.

Where To Buy The Koru Apple 

The Koru Apple tree hails from New Zealand. Today, up to 85% of the Koru Apples in the United States are still imported from  New Zealand. However, there’s good news for people looking for Koru Apples here in the United States.

These apples are widely available in grocery stores throughout the country. You can find Koru Apples at your local chain grocery store as well as specialty produce retailers from coast to coast.

If you’re looking for a more natural experience, you can even find Koru Apples growing in your local Orchard. The amount of Koru Apples grown in the United States has steadily increased from year to year. This means that people are finding these apples and their local orchards more and more frequently. You can call around to your local orchards to see if anyone is growing corn to apples so you can try them fresh off the branch.

Wrapping up The Koru Apple Tree 

With everything we’ve learned about the Koru Apple, it certainly lives up to its Maori namesake.

These apple trees are hardy and can withstand many of the common diseases and pests faced by apple cultivars the world over. The fruit of this tree has a unique flavor that can surprise people who have been sampling apple cultivars for years.

If you’re looking for an apple with an exciting new approach to a classic fruit, you should give the Koru Apple a try. 

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