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The Mutsu Apple Tree

The Mutsu Apple tree (also known as the Crispin apple tree) is one of the most popular apple varieties. These apples are delicious directly off the branches, and they have a tart yet sweet flavor that adds a flair that’s extraordinary to many cooked dishes.

Closeup of greenish red apples in baskets from Mutsu Apple trees
Mutsu apples in a baskets.

One reason the Mutsu Apple tree is so popular with home growers is that it is a prolific producer and produces fruit after the first year of growth. For apple pie, the Mutsu apple is a chef’s favorite because of its unique texture and coarsely-grained flesh. Also, these apples are significantly larger than many other apple varieties.

History of the Mutsu Apple Tree

The Mutsu Apple tree was created in Japan in 1948 as a cross between a Japanese Indo apple and Golden Delicious apples. The name for Mutsu Apple trees comes from Japan’s Mutsu Province.

Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics

Mutsu apples are fruits that are deliciously eaten out of hand or cooked. Their flesh can be greenish-yellow to white and has an exotic taste.

In terms of shape, these apples can be conical, round, or oblong. Mutsu apples are medium to large in size.

Fruit from the Mutsu Apple tree is harvested in late September, and the great thing is that these trees can fruit the first year of planting. Sometimes these trees produce fruit biennially.

Planting Zones

These trees grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8, although some growers have had success growing Mutsu Apple trees in Zones 9 and 10 as well. Mutsu Apple trees are hardy down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more information on growing this tree, read our article about “How to Plant Apple Trees.”

Size and Spacing

At maturity, the Mutsu Apple tree is between 12 and 15 feet tall.

The width of a mature tree is between 12 and 15 feet (3.5-4.5 m.). Keep this in mind and space your trees accordingly if you’re planting more than one tree or planting your Mutsu Apple tree alongside other trees in your yard or orchard.

Ensuring that Mutsu Apple trees have good air circulation will also make them less susceptible to disease. The Mutsu Apple tree should be spaced well away from buildings.

Pollination

The Mutsu Apple tree is not a cultivar that is self-pollinating. Because of this, you will need to have another apple tree nearby for pollinating. Here are some good choices.

Tree Care

Orchard row of trees with yellowish green apples that resemble the Mutsu Apple tree

Apple trees need well-drained soil and the Mutsu Apple tree thrives in average to loamy soil.

When you’re ready to plant your Mutsu Apple tree, dig a hole that is the same depth as your tree’s root ball and minimally twice the diameter. Put the tree gently into the hole and spread its roots out evenly into the hole.

Then, fill the hole back up with soil. Tamp the soil down and mulch to keep it nice and moist. Water the tree well to help it settle.

For more information on growing apple trees, reference our guide: “How to Plant Apple Trees.”

Sunlight

Like other apple tree cultivars, the Mutsu Apple tree thrives in full sunlight and needs at least six hours per day in full sun.

For best results, ensure that your Mutsu Apple tree has access to early morning sunlight. This is the drying sun and will help keep your apple trees healthier overall.

Watering

For optimal results and harvest, keep the soil around your Mutsu Apple tree evenly moist.

This tree can tolerate some periods of drought once it is established. However, you will probably experience a crop reduction if your tree doesn’t get at least 12-15 gallons of water every week from May through September.

If you don’t get plenty of rain, you will need to water your Mutsu Apple tree about once a week. To know when to water, check the soil to a depth of about two to three inches. If the soil is dry at that depth, your tree needs water.

Fertilizer

To fertilize your tree, apply a 10-10-10 formula general-purpose fertilizer in early spring. If you fertilize your trees, be sure to apply your fertilizer before the foliage begins to emerge on the trees. For ratios, follow the label on the bag or box.

Mulching

When you mulch your Mutsu Apple tree, the mulch will hold in moisture and help keep the root system cool during the warmer months.

Spread your mulch in a layer that is three to four inches deep. Spread it out about three feet from the edge of the canopy.

Pruning

During the first few years after planting, your apple tree will need minimal pruning. When your Mutsu Apple tree is mature, yearly pruning is recommended. To prune, remove any shoots that grow beneath the graft bud of the tree. Also, be sure to remove any diseased and dead limbs.

To learn more about pruning this tree, read “Pruning Apple Trees: The Home Grower’s Complete Guide” on our website.

Diseases & Care

Crispin Apple trees are sometimes susceptible to diseases that afflict apple trees. For example, you will need to keep an eye out for blister spot, cedar apple rust, fire blight, and powdery mildew.

You can spray insecticidal fertilizer that will help protect against aphids, fungus, and other pests.

To learn about disease-resistant apples, you can also reference “Disease Resistant Apple Trees.”

Common Uses For the Mutsu Apple Tree

Closeup of a Mutsu Apple tree branch with four apples.
Mutsu Apple tree branch with apples.

Mutsu apples are excellent eaten fresh they keep for several months in a cold crisper. These delicious apples are some of the best apples for apple pie because they retain their firmness when cooked.

Because they’re juicy, Mutsu apple juice is excellent for mixing with other juices for a complex juice blend or homemade apple juice.

What Do Mutsu Apples Taste Like?

Mutsu apples are highly prized because they have a complex flavor that has notes of sweetness, spice, and honey. They’re also super juicy.

Cooking

As we’ve noted, Mutsu apples hold their shape wonderfully in cooking, so they are a favorite with people who love cooking with apples. Apples are wonderful for making various quick breads and you can find several muffin recipes on our website, including Healthy Apple Muffins.

The Mutsu apple holds up beautifully in baking, and since it’s such a large apple, you can usually make an entire apple pie with three apples.

Another delicious way to enjoy cooked Mutsu apples is apple cider. Our Apple Cider Rye Cocktail will hit the spot in cool autumn evenings. To make this delicious cider, you first have to prepare an apple cider concentrate. The concentrate keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month. Rye whisky and oranges make this cocktail a winner.

Eating Raw

Mutsu apples are delicious eaten raw and the longer they’re in the crisper, the sweeter they become.

You can also use Mutsu apples for salads such as Apple Cabbage Coleslaw or Apple Chicken Salad. Creamy and Sweet Cinnamon Apple Salad is another favorite, and the Mutsu apples give a surprisingly sweet/tart crunch to a salad.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Mutsu apples can be stored for three to six months, making them excellent keeping apples that become even tastier over time.

Canning

One popular way to can Mutsu apples is by making apple butters. Beautiful jars of homemade apple butter are nice to have on hand for holiday gift-giving.

Chutneys are another favorite. You can try our Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney recipe for a nice addition to recipes. This interesting recipe uses onions, ginger, orange juice, ground mustard, chile flakes, and more, creating a surprising flavor to meat dishes.

Freezing

Most home food preservers enjoy canning and drying apples, but you can also freeze your apples. Frozen apples are ideal for applesauce or baking.

You can freeze them whole if you need to. Wash your apples well and put them on a cookie sheet in your freezer with space between the apples. Once the apples are frozen, transfer them to freezer bags.

Alternatively, you can freeze apple slices to have on hand for quick recipes.

Apple Pie Filling

Bakers love to have prepared apple pie filling available for holiday baking. The good news is that you don’t have to can your apple pie filling if you find the process daunting. You can freeze it and it will be just as delicious as canned varieties.

Keep in mind that some spices lose their flavor when frozen, so you can add the spices just before baking

The Spruce Eats has a comprehensive guide to various apple freezing methods.

Drying

Mutsu apples are nice and firm, so they’re ideal for drying because they will hold their shape well.

Dehydrating apples is easy and provides a great snack. When you have dried apples on hand, you have a healthy alternative to junk food like granola bars, potato chips, and other generally unhealthy and sugar-laden snacks.

There are two different types of dried apples: dried apples and apple chips. The difference between them is how the apples are sliced and the length of the drying process.

Oven-Dried Apples

If you have a food dehydrator, you’re in luck. However, you can also use your oven to dry apples.

One of our favorite ways to dry apples is by making simple oven-baked apple chips. To make these apple chips, simply dry sliced apples in your oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour on each side. If you like, you can sprinkle your apple slices with cinnamon before drying them.

Recipes for Mutsu Apples

Chefs and home cooks love using apples in main dishes like White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Pork Chops. Since Mutsu apples hold their shape so well, they stand up nicely in this recipe.

Try Old Fashioned Apple Crisp that calls for delicious and hearty rolled oats, brown sugar, and apple pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Other favorites include Caramel Stuffed Apples, Apple Dump Cake, and Apple Oatmeal Cookies.

Here is a list of even more wonderful apple recipes on our website to try with your Mutsu apple harvest.

Health Benefits of the Mutsu Apple

Like all apples, the Mutsu apple packs a powerful nutritional punch. One medium-sized Crispin apple only has about 100 calories, and apples contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.

One of the most important nutritional benefits of apples is that they’re an excellent source of dietary fiber, which softens stool and increases its weight and size. This is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. One apple contains approximately four grams of fiber, which is 17% of the recommended daily intake for most individuals.

In addition to the beneficial fiber in apples, you can also enjoy these nutrients if you eat an apple a day.

  • Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6

Moreover, studies show that apples help with the following health issues.

For more information on the many benefits of eating apples, read “Health Benefits of Apples.”

Where To Buy The Mutsu Apple Tree?

You can shop for your Mutsu Apple tree with local nurseries to see if they have it, or you can order it online at Amazon. Because of restrictions, it may be difficult to find someone who will ship to certain states.

For other apple tree varieties, check out the huge selection at Nature Hills Nursery.

Where To Buy the Fruit

In late fall, watch for Mutsu apples at specialty markets and local farms and orchards.

Closeup of yellow green Mutsu apples for sale.
Mutsu apples for sale.

Wrapping up the Mutsu Apple Tree

Apple trees are wonderful trees to have around. When you have apple trees in your yard or orchard, you get to enjoy delicious apples and you also have excellent shade trees. The Mutsu Apple tree is an excellent addition to any home grower’s property.

The Haralson Apple Tree
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