The Snow Apple used to be one of the most popular Apple cultivars in North America. The changing times have transformed this into one of history’s most delicious hidden gems that is now waiting for a comeback.
Our guide will set you up with everything you need to know from the history of the Snow Apple Tree all the way to delicious recipes you can make with a fruit you grow in your own backyard.
History of the Snow Apple Tree
The Snow Apple tree is an incredibly old and historic apple cultivar.
The Snow Apple can trace its roots back to the 1600s in France. Sometime during the French colonization of Canada, this variety of apple tree made its way to what is now Quebec. During the 1800s, the Snow Apple was Quebec’s most widely grown apple variety. However, as times changed, the Snow Apple fell into obscurity and is one of today’s most delicious hidden gems.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Snow Apple comes down to the tree’s characteristics.
Snow Apple Tree Characteristics
The Snow Apple tree has a few unique properties that need to be kept in mind. This tree is heavy branching. This means that the tree will grow lots of branches in a dense pattern. This apple tree also remains relatively small, which makes it a great choice for home gardens that need to keep tree size in mind.
If you plan on growing a Snow Apple tree in your yard, you need to make sure you’re growing in the right climate.
Learning how to grow the Snow Apple tree starts with learning its planting zones.
The Snow Apple grows best in zones 3 through 8. As its name suggests, the Snow Apple is winter hardy and can handle colder environments as well as harsher winter weather.
Size and Spacing
Snow Apple trees can grow up to 12 feet tall and have a spread of 10 to 12 feet.
This is a very modest size when it comes to an apple tree. Other apple cultivars only get this small if they are dwarf varieties. The Snow Apple is a relatively small tree.
This makes it a great choice for growing on smaller plots of land. The Snow Apple requires somewhere between 10 to 15 feet in between itself and other apple trees. Make sure not to overcrowd your apples if you want consistent harvesting and a tree that can grow to its full healthy size.
Unlike many of the common apple cultivars that you can find in people’s backyards, the Snow Apple is not a self-pollinator.
This means that you will need to have a complimentary apple tree nearby in order to pollinate your Snow Apple. Cortland, Braeburn, and Lodi are all great choices for Snow Apple pollinators.
Fruit Tree Care
Planting your Snow Apple is only the first step in becoming an amateur orchardist. After you’ve got your Snow Apple in the ground, you’ll need to know how to take care of it.
If you’re familiar with taking care of apple trees, you’ll find no surprises when it comes to the Snow Apple. This apple tree needs full sun in order to stay happy and healthy. Try planting this apple tree somewhere where I can get a full day’s worth of sunlight and you’ll be setting yourself up for a bountiful harvest.
Here’s a quick tip for your gardening in general.
Whether you’re probably propagating a cutting, transplanting a potted plant, or planting that new Snow Apple tree in your yard, plants typically require much more water when they are establishing themselves than after they’ve taken root in their new environment.
Once your Snow Apple is settled in, it requires well-drained loamy soil in order to stay healthy.
Our guide on pruning Snow Apples will give you everything you need to know to stay up-to-date on taking care of this particular apple tree.
Here’s the quick guide to get you up to speed on the basics. We mentioned earlier that the Snow Apple is a heavy branching tree. This means that you’re going to have a little bit more pruning ahead of you than with other apple cultivars.
As with many other varieties of apple, you want to prune the Snow Apple in late winter or early spring before buds start to appear. Pruning this tree on a yearly basis helps promote a yearly harvesting. If you do not regularly prune your Snow Apple, it will start to bear fruit inconsistently or every other year.
Diseases & Care
You can take a look at our in-depth guide on apple tree diseases and care to get prepared for whatever might come your way, but here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect with the Snow Apple.
The Snow Apple has a strong resistance to both mildew and bacterial canker. This is a relatively hearty apple cultivar. However, this apple tree is especially susceptible to apple scab. You’ll know your tree has apple scab if brown lesions start appearing on the fruit and leaves.
Pests are another problem for the apple tree.
Snow Apple trees are just like any other apple when it comes to handling pests. You’ll need to look out for beetles, mites, and aphids most of all. There are many different approaches to handling apple tree pests ranging from chemical sprays to holistic gardening techniques.
Common Uses For The Snow Apple Tree
The Snow Apple has more unique properties now that we’ve gotten to the tasty center of this topic. You’ll need to know a few special tips and tricks if you’re looking to make the most out of cooking the Snow Apple.
What Does The Snow Apple Taste Like?
The fruit of the Snow Apple is slightly smaller than you might expect. However, it packs a spicy and sweet flavor that can’t be beat. Many people even describe the Snow Apple as having a slight strawberry taste and aroma. This makes it one of the most unique apples when it comes to cooking.
Snow Apples do not handle well in storage. This means that you’ll want to cook or preserve yours right away. Snow Apples are a great choice for a wide range of cooking options. Because of their small size, they make a great choice when it comes to being roasted or sliced.
Snow Apples are a delicious treat to eat raw. You’ll get to experience firsthand their rumored strawberry tones if you can find one growing right off the branch.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Snow Apples don’t store well in their whole or fresh state. This means that if you want to make your Snow Apples last through the season, you’re going to want to can, freeze, or dry. frozen Snow Apples can be cooked later in the winter for a refreshing mid-season treat.
A Few Cool Snow Apple Recipes
The Snow Apple makes for a great treat on cool days. This also means that these apples go great in recipes that have that winter or autumnal nostalgia to them. This recipe for sweet cinnamon apple salad or these delicious homemade apple fritters are great places to start when cooking Snow Apples.
Health Benefits of the Snow Apple
If you’re looking to dodge those winter blues, the Snow Apple might be your new secret weapon.
Not only are these apples packed with nutrients, they are also a healthy alternative to sugary snacks. Snow Apples make a great tree during colder days when flu season is right around the corner. The Snow Apple, like many other apples, is associated with a stronger immune system.
Apples have also been associated with better health outcomes for people with diabetes and heart health problems. Apples are also associated with improved dental hygiene and better digestive health. No matter how you slice them, apples are a great choice for improving your health.
Where To Buy The Snow Apple Tree?
We mentioned earlier that the Snow Apple has fallen out of favor through the course of history. This makes it a little bit more difficult to find. While some online retailers stock the Snow Apple, you might have to do a little searching in order to find one to grow in your yard.
Local orchards in colder climates are also fans of the Snow Apple. This makes for a great apple tree in hobby orchards so those can also be good places to look if you are trying to hunt down one to grow in your own yard.
One tip for trying to find an apple tree that might be a little bit more difficult to find than the more common cultivars is reaching out to retailers who sell other varieties of apple tree. Even if a website doesn’t mention the Snow Apple, or happens to be currently out of stock, they might be able to either special-order them or let you know when they’ll be back in stock.
We’re here for a Snow Apple revival and you’ll be able to find one for your yard in no time at all.
Where To Buy Snow Apples
Here’s where things can get a little tricky.
In the eighteen-hundreds, you couldn’t go through Quebec or other northern parts of the continent without finding Snow Apples in season. However, apple production standards have changed and new cultivars have climbed to the top of the ladder, pushing the Snow Apple to the side.
This means that you will be in for a little bit of a challenge if you’re looking to try out a Snow Apple before you by the tree. You’ll have to employ a little bit of craft if you want to find these apples while they’re still in season.
One time-honored technique is to ask your local specialty produce store to order them for you. Grocery co-ops and organic grocery stores are very familiar with special ordering produce for their customers. You might be able to go to your local shop to order some Snow Apples for you so you can try them out for yourself.
If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, you can take a road trip up through Quebec. Orchards in this area still have Snow Apples and you can find them growing in season right off the branch.
You can find other apple trees for sale at Nature Hills Nursery.
Wrapping up The Snow Apple Tree
There are countless varieties of apple tree that have been overshadowed by some of today’s more popular and commercially successful apple cultivars. The Snow Apple used to be one of the most famous and successful varieties of apple tree, but today it is looking to make its comeback.
This is a tree that can handle the cold and is resistant to some of the most common diseases apple trees face. It readily grows in most North American climates. People who get to taste Snow Apples say it has a faint hint of strawberry as well as spicy and sweet tones. This apple is a cook’s best friend.
Nothing warms up your garden quite like the Snow Apple tree.