Skip to Content

The Cosmic Crisp Apple

Cosmic crisp apple makes this apple sound very spacey, doesn’t it? However, this out-of-this-world experience is available right here in the United States. Once you taste and take one look at this fruit, you’ll see why this hybrid earned its name.

Cosmic Crisp Apple

The skin of this fruit has white lenticels that give it the appearance of stars speckled all over the skin. Instantly, when you bite into the apple, you’ll see why it received the “crisp” part of its name.

The people granted the privilege to grow these trees is very limited, so you more than likely won’t be able to grow the Cosmic crisp apple tree yet unless you live in a certain area and are a commercial grower, you won’t be able to grow it for quite a length of time. However, people all over the country can enjoy the apples in the meantime.  

History of the Cosmic Crisp Apple / Cosmic Crisp Apple Tree 

The Cosmic crisp apple is a cross between the Enterprise and Honeycrisp bred at Washington State University via their breeding program. Bruce Barritt and Kate Evan led the group with one goal in mind — to breed this fruit tree to produce the ideal blend of flavor and texture via natural fertilization. It was a work in progress since 1997.

After more than two decades of cross-pollination and taste tasting, they finally perfected it. In 2019, growers started planting these trees in Washington state. Total, at that point, growers planted 12 million trees. In 2020, consumers finally were able to get a taste of this creation. Initially, this fruit was only available in Washington state, seeing as how this is the only state where people can grow this fruit. 

Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics

Cosmic Crisp Apple

Like most apple trees, a Cosmic crisp apple tree has dark green leaves with only one lobe with an elliptical shape. There are three sizes of this tree: mini dwarf, dwarf, and semi-dwarf. The mini dwarf tends to reach a height of six foot while the semi-dwarf usually reaches around 16 feet in height. The mini-dwarf only gets around six feet. 

Now, time for the best part. The tree produces large red apples with specks on them. Before the fruit, though, this tree develops bright white, five-petaled blossoms. 

Planting Zones 

As of now, the only place where this apple is grown is in Washington state, which has growing zones four through eight throughout the state, though a majority of the western and southern portion of the state is between seven and eight. On the other hand, a majority of the northern part of the state is in zones four, five, and six. The middle region is predominantly in growing zone six.  

Once the fruit is available to the general public to plant, the growing zones will most likely be from zones four through eight. 

Although this tree isn’t on the market yet, keep on the lookout for our update blog when the tree does become available for planting by the general public. 

Size and Spacing

The tree doesn’t get very tall as mentioned above. The tallest version of the Cosmic crisp apple tree grows 16 feet tall is all. Since you can’t grow them, if you ever go to Washington state to see the orchards, you’ll notice that young plants are kept within feet of each other. However, if left to grow to full size, these apple trees would be stretched several feet apart from one another to ensure that each apple tree receives adequate sunlight. 

Pollination

Bee Pollinating an Apple Tree
Bee pollinates apple tree flowers on a sunny spring day

Although some apple trees are self-pollinators, meaning it doesn’t need a partner, this isn’t one of them. In order for this tree to bear fruit, it requires two trees. One of the trees must be a female tree, which means it produces female flowers that have ovaries. On the other hand, the male tree produces pollen, which must meet with the egg of the female tree. 

Tree Care

Since you can’t plant the Cosmic crisp apple tree, you may want to try the Enterprise or Honeycrisp apple tree instead. While neither of them is identical to the Cosmic crisp, these parent trees are to closest you’ll get to the Cosmic crisp as of now. You could also choose to plant the seeds of the Cosmic crisp, but you won’t actually get the Cosmo crisp, either one fruit or the other. 

Sunlight

Apples require a great deal of sunlight to bloom and fruit. Without enough sunlight, you’ll notice that a Cosmic crisp from a seed, Honeycrisp, or Enterprise won’t produce a large yield or won’t produce fruit at all. 

Watering

No matter which apple tree you grow out of the aforementioned ones, your tree requires routine watering especially when the water is dry. Ideally, you should water your tree once per week. The watering should provide the tree with water that saturates the ground about seven inches down. This ensures the roots receive the water. 

Pruning 

Pruning any of the trees should include removing any dead branches as necessary. You also want to remove any decayed or diseased branches when you notice them. When pruning, it’s important to lob off any broken branches as well. 

All other trimmings should be in the spring only. Focus on removing any vertical branches and leave five to seven main branches to bear fruit. By only leaving these few branches, they’ll grow strong enough to support the weight of the fruits. 

While this is a general overview, we’ve created a detailed guide to help you with the pruning process of both the Enterprise and the Honeycrisp.

Diseases & Care 

As of now, growers aren’t sharing all the care information about the Cosmetic crisp. If you decide to get one of its parent plants, you’ll receive an apple tree that’s fairly disease-resistant. In fact, the Honeycrisp apple is resistant to scab. They, however, are susceptible to fire blight when they’re young. Enterprise apple trees are resistant to a number of issues, including powdery mildew, fire blight, scab, and cedar apple rust.

If you would like more information about keeping your tree healthy and any issues that they’ve vulnerable to, visit our Cosmic crisp apple tree diseases and care blog. 

Pests

Insects are notorious for eating apples, especially codling moths, plum curculio, and maggot flies. Mammals like raccoons, mice, and deer will have no problem snatching your apples, no matter which tree you grow. 

Common Uses for the Cosmic Crisp Apple 

Apple Panckaes
Healthy Apple Pancakes (click for recipe)

The Cosmic crisp is a juicy, firm apple. It’s a meaty fruit with a sweet taste. However, it becomes tarter when you bake it. It’s similar to a baked pear in terms of its sweetness. 

It makes an excellent pie or apple chips. Try making apple dumplings, a tart, or a cake from these apples. This cinnamon apple salad is a unique creation that works well with apples like the Cosmic crisp. However, if you plant the Enterprise or Honeycrisp, you could use those as well for the salad. You might want to try an apple slaw with these apples since they’re sweeter when they’re raw. 

Another example of what you could use any of the apples for is a thickened apple and cinnamon mixture. Pour it over a cake, pancake, waffles, ice cream, French toast, or yogurt. 

If you love apple butter, try this recipe with your Cosmic crisp apples. 

Since the Cosmic crisp apples are only available in one location or you have to have them shipped, you may want to store what you have for a few months or longer to ensure you deserve these delicious creations. 

Consider canning the Cosmic crisp apples. For canning, you’ll want to cut your apples in slices or chunks You could opt to decor the apples and can them whole. However, you’ll find that with an apple this large especially that’s it’s difficult to merely decore them and can them whole due to their large size. You may choose to can them in water, juice, or syrup. You can expect that your canned apples will last you one to two years, whether you’re trying to store your Enterprise, Honeycrisp, or Cosmic crisp apples. You may also choose to make homemade applesauce from the Cosmic crisp apples and can it. 

Apples are freezable. To freeze, cut your apples in slices or chunks. Lay them on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer until they’re completely frozen first. Once frozen, place them in a freezer-safe storage back for up to six months. 

Drying another option. Fortunately, when you choose to dry your apples, this not only preserves them but gives you quite a treat. You may use the dried apples in trail mix, bread, or snack bars, to name a few ideas. To dry your apples, you’ll need to use your oven or a food dehydrator, if you have one. You’ll need to cut the apples into slices or chunks before dehydrating. You could also choose to dry apples in an air fryer. You’ll need to read the instructions carefully before doing so to ensure the finished product turns out correctly. On average, dried apples will last you six months. 

Health Benefits of the Cosmic Crisp Apple

Apples can help you better manage your blood sugar levels in type II diabetics and people in general. People who regularly consume Cosmic crisp apples may have a lowered risk for some cancers and heart diseases because these apples have antioxidants, which protect again oxidative damage that leads to heart disease and cancer. Plus, apples consist of fiber, which is heart healthy. It regulates your digestive tract as well. Apples also have potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. 

Where to Buy This Fruit Tree

As of right now, you won’t be able to find this fruit tree due to the patent. Once the patent expires, we’re sure that consumers are going to be searching for this apple tree to enjoy it right in their own backyard. 

You may wonder what would happen if you tried to grow the apple tree from the seed. While you’ll get an apple tree, it won’t be a Cosmic crisp. Since a Cosmic crisp is two different types of apples put together, you’d assume that the seeds would be the same as the parent. However, it’s just like with children who look more like one parent than the other. With an apple seed, the apple may become one apple or the other, not a combination of the two. The Cosmic crisp is grown from rootstock only. 

You could purchase a Honeycrisp in the meantime from Nature Hills Nursery. A simple internet search can help you find where you can buy the Enterprise apple tree. 

Where to Buy the Fruit

If you go to Washington, you’ll need several orchards that grow and sell these apples to the general public. Obviously, a trip to this state isn’t feasible if you’re just going to get these apples. You can opt to have the fruit shipped right to your house, though. As of now, you can order the apples and have them shipped to your home, no matter where you live in the United States. 

We will warn you that these apples are quite expensive as of now. While the price will slowly go down over time, the price may make you only want to try the apples once or choose one of its parent apples for a more cost-efficient option, especially if you’re planning on using the apples to bake with and will need a large quantity. 

Wrapping Up the Cosmic Crisp Apple Tree 

The Cosmic crisp apple isn’t some kind of alien-inspired genetically modified apple. It’s a lab-created apple that underwent extensive research to achieve an apple that was crossed naturally. The taste is off the chart in terms of its sweet juiciness. Plus, it’s an easily recognizable apple because of its skin. You can opt to have it shipped to your door at this point, even if you aren’t in the apple’s home state.