Pink Lady apples are among the most popular apple varieties, with a distinctive pink blush and a tangy, zesty flavor.
Explore the history of the Pink Lady apple, its taste and texture, and the many different ways you can use it in your cooking and baking.
Keep reading for tips on where to get Pink Lady apples and how to grow them so you can enjoy this delicious and versatile fruit all year round. Whether you’re looking for a snack, a dessert ingredient, or a flavorful addition to your cheese board, Pink Lady apples are an excellent choice for any occasion.
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Where Pink Lady Apples Came From
Pink Lady is a brand name, and Cripps Pink is the actual variety of apple. Only the finest Cripps Pink apples are sold under the Pink Lady brand. The Pink Lady has been around since the 1970s. John Cripps began developing the apple on his farm in Australia. The Cripps Pink is a cross between the Lady Williams apple and Golden Delicious apple. These apples grow worldwide, usually in a hot climates such as Australia or parts of South America.
John Cripps was a horticulturist born in England but moved to Western Australia to work for the Department of Agriculture. Throughout the mid-1900s, he worked on developing different varieties of plants. In the 1970s, he naturally bred the Lady Williams and Golden Delicious apple. The result was a beautiful pink apple that became popular worldwide.
The characteristics of a Pink Lady are similar to both of its parent apples. Golden Delicious is a softer, juicy, very sweet, and golden-yellow apple favored for eating and baking. Lady Williams is very red, crisp, and has a sharp and tangy flavor. Pink Lady has the best of both worlds: sweet and tart, crisp and juicy, with blush pink skin. It’s a beautiful and versatile apple variety.
Another cross between Red Delicious and Lady Williams led to the Cripps Red apple. This apple, while also tasty and multi-purpose, is red rather than the trademark blush color of the Pink Lady brand. The Cripps Red is sold as the Sundowner apple and is similar to the Pink Lady in taste and texture. Both varieties can be substituted for each other in baking.
What Pink Lady Apples Taste Like
Pink Lady apples are one of the best varieties for eating or serving. That’s because they have a beautiful round shape and color. This variety is high in acid, making it slow to turn brown when cut. It’s versatile enough in flavor and texture to use for almost anything.
All Cripps Pink apples have the same taste characteristics, but only the most perfect apples are sold as Pink Lady. The apples are sweet-tart, tangy, and have a zip to their flavor that some describe as almost fizzy. They are high in acid and sugar, giving them the perfect balance of zippy tartness and sweet taste.
Cripps Pink apples aren’t overpowering in their flavor. They have mild but refreshing flavors of honey, spice, and rose. The crisp texture of the variety will set off the flavors when you bite into the apple. A Pink Lady is most flavorful at room temperature. The flavors are pronounced initially but will mellow as the apple is stored.
These apples pair well with fresh and creamy cheeses. Goat cheese, gorgonzola, and gouda are all suitable matches for the tart and tropical flavor of a Pink Lady apple.
How to Use Pink Lady Apples
Pink Lady apples work great for almost anything. Pink Lady is a versatile type of apple. Its high acid and sugar make it fantastic for eating and in dishes.
Because the variety has medium-crisp flesh, it is perfect for baking in your favorite apple recipe. It will break down enough for a sweet, soft apple pie filling while staying intact sufficiently to give the dessert a tender bite. The tart and sweet flavors of the apple hold their own in a baked dish. The tang of the apple also works well in salads and main dishes.
Pink Lady apples are a good choice for entertaining. The bubbly burst of aromatic apple flavor that you get when biting into a Pink Lady makes it a perfect choice for pairing with drinks or cheese. The pink skin and white flesh look gorgeous on a charcuterie board – a platter of cheese, fruit, and your favorite meats or crackers.
Cripps Pink apples are also often used to make light dessert wines or sparkling ciders. The high-acid variety’s zippy, tangy apple flavor is often the perfect addition to a rose wine. The juice lends a slightly tropical citrus note to ciders and wines.
Because the Pink Lady apple has its trademark blush pink skin, if can make pink pie filling or apple butter. Just cook the apples with their skin on and blend them well, and you’ll have colorful and tasty apple desserts that will surely delight family and guests.
Use Pink Lady apples in your next baking project. Here are a few recipes that will highlight the distinctive Pink Lady characteristics:
- Pink Lady Apple Pie
- Bloomin’ Apples
- Pink Lady Cheese Board
- Pink Lady Apple Galette
- The Best Apple Crisp
- Spiced Brown-Butter Apples
- Perfect PinkLady Apple Sauce
- Caramel Apple Cookies
- Apple Chicken Salad
Where to Get Pink Lady Apples
Cripps Pink apples grow best in warm climates. they are one of the varieties that take the longest time between when they bloom and when they are harvested. Because they have a long growing season, they need at least 200 days of warm weather. They’re challenging to grow in areas with spring frost or short summers.
Anyone can plant a Cripps Pink tree. However, only certain regions can grow Pink Lady apples as their climate can produce apples that meet brand requirements. Therefore, you find Pink Lady brand name apples coming from growers in Australia, South America, regions of France and Italy, and Washington State in the United States.
If you live in one of these areas, you may be able to find Pink Lady apples at an orchard or farm near you. Take the chance if you can get these apples fresh off the farm. The apples are crisp and full of flavor right off the tree.
If you can’t find these apples locally, don’t worry. They are shipped to grocery stores worldwide and stay fresh for over two weeks in the refrigerator.
Remember, Pink Lady is just a name under which the best Cripps Pink apples are sold. If you can’t find Pink Lady apples near you, check if your local farmer’s market sells any Cripps Pink. A Cripps Pink apple won’t be as perfect in color and flavor as a Pink Lady, but it will have the same wonderful sweet-tart flavor and a gorgeous pink color.
Where to buy Pink Lady Apple Trees
Pink Lady apple trees can be found at local or online nurseries such as Stark Bro’s or Nature Hills Nursery.
How to Grow Cripps Pink Apples
You must live in a particular approved climate to grow the trademark Pink Lady apples. These apples are strictly quality-controlled as they represent the variety. Therefore, you must obtain a license if you want to call your apples Pink Lady. However, anyone who lives in a warm area can grow a Cripps Pink tree. These apples ripen late in the fall and grow best in hot weather.
These trees are not the easiest to grow. They are prone to several diseases, including apple scab and fire blight. These diseases are difficult to treat but can be warded away with preventative measures, including fungicides, careful pruning, and planting the tree in a proper location.
Cripps Pink trees should be planted in full sun and well-draining soil. The tree is most fruitful if planted near to another cross-pollinator such as a crabapple tree or another apple variety.
This type of tree takes about 3-5 years to reach full size and bear fruit. A mature Pink Lady tree is usually 12-15 feet tall. Prune the trees when young and then one to three times a year as it grows. It is suggested that growers remove the top leaves from the tree once the fruits are beginning to ripen so that the sunlight will give the fruits their trademark pink color.
Fun Facts About Pink Lady Apples
Pink Lady apples are said to be named after a cocktail. John Cripps saw the color of his new apple and named the fruit brand after a cocktail that one of his favorite book heroes enjoys. The Pink Lady cocktail actually gets its name and color from cherry syrup.
Pink Lady apples are strictly quality-controlled as they are the name of the Cripps Pink variety. In order for a Cripps Pink to qualify for the name, they must have firm flesh, the trademark blush pink skin, and sugar content of at least 15%.
Pink Lady apples are a popular multi-use choice for eating, entertaining, and baking. The brand is quality-controlled so every Pink Lady apple you buy is sure to be the perfect mix of sweet and tart. Next time you’re looking for fruit, keep the Pink Lady apple in mind.
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