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The Winter Banana Apple

Apples and bananas go together — think “fruit salad” or “baby food” as examples. But what if the tastes were found in the same fruit? The Winter Banana apple is a fruit that’s almost as unique as the name it was given. It’s named for the fact that it smells and tastes just as much like a banana as a traditional apple.

If you’re wondering where this unique fruit came from and how you can use it in your kitchen, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to peel away the mystery of the Winter Banana apple!

Closeup of three Winter Banana apples on a table.

History of the Winter Banana Apple

The Winter Banana apple first originated around the mid-1870s in Cass County, Indiana. It was discovered on the family farm of David Flory and wasn’t introduced on a commercial level until 1890. Because he planted, cultivated, and commercialized it, the Winter Banana is sometimes referred to as the Flory. Because of how long ago it was discovered, the Winter Banana is considered an antique apple variety.

Characteristics of Winter Banana Apple

The Winter Banana apple has smooth, waxy, and pale yellow skin and at times resembles the color of a banana more than a traditional apple. It’s also one of the few self-fertile apple species, meaning that it doesn’t need cross-pollination to succeed. The apples tend to take on a pinkish-red blush when they’re exposed to enough sunlight.

Underneath the surface, the flesh is crisp, aqueous, ivory to pale yellow, and semi-coarse, and encases a small, central core filled with black-brown seeds. While the Winter Banana has many benefits, one of its downsides is that it bruises easily. The skin of the apple is very thin, which is great for eating, but it also makes it susceptible to bruising and browning.

Yellow apples with red blush.

Flavor Profile

Winter Banana apples are described as having a taste that resembles the combination of a banana and a pineapple, mixed with traditional apple tastes. It gives off a subtle and sweet tropical aroma combined with a tangy and juicy texture when you take a bite. You’ll feel like you’re relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean when you take your first sampling of this apple!

Winter Banana Apple Pairings

The Winter Banana apple pairs well with the same foods that most other apples pair well with. You can eat them plain and straight from the tree, mix them into a pie, or get creative with them. Because of their sweet but subtle flavor, these apples make an excellent addition to salads or meat dishes. They’re also perfect to dip in caramel, Nutella, or peanut butter!

Apple slices dipped in caramel and chocolate with topping sprinkles.

Cooking With This Apple

For all its excellent qualities and delightfulness, the Winter Banana apple isn’t always the best option when it comes to cooking. Sure, there are plenty of people who love to bake apple pies with them, so it’s not unheard of. However, it’s important to note that the flavor and aroma they give off isn’t as strong as other apples. Therefore, it isn’t always the best apple to have as the featured food in baked goods.

If you still want to give them a try, here are some excellent recipes you can use the Winter Banana apple in.

A plate of caramelized apple slices.
Caramelized apples.

Health Benefits of Apples

Like all apples, the Winter Banana is packed with healthy ingredients and benefits. Apples are rich in polyphenols, resveratrol, and other healthy compounds to get your cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and fiber intake under control. Here are some of the other health benefits of apples.

How to Grow Your Own Winter Banana Apples

If you’re looking to add the Winter Banana apple to your home orchard, there are some important things that you should be aware of. They’re are grown in much the same way that most other apple varieties are. However, let’s go over some of the specific details about growing this delightful variety.

Size

When your apple tree matures, it will be approximately 12 to 15 feet tall and equally as wide. The fruits themselves are large in comparison to other apples.

Spacing

The best way to space your trees is to plant them 12 to 15 feet apart. This way, when the trees are full-grown, they will be tight together but still have room to blossom.

Pollination

Winter Banana apple trees are self-fertile which means that they don’t technically need cross-pollination to grow. However, to get the most out of your tree, it’s a good idea to cross-pollinate it with another apple variety such as the Golden Delicious Apple, Zestar Apple, or the Red Delicious Apple.

Apple blossoms on a tree in spring.

Hardiness Zone

The Winter Banana apple is best suited for hardiness zones 4-9.

When To Plant

If you live in cooler climates with cold winters, you should plant your apple tree in the spring. If you live in warmer climates where the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing very often, you should plant it in the fall.

When to Harvest

The best time to harvest the Winter Banana is in late October.

Yellow apples with red blush in baskets.

Winter Banana Apple Tree Care

Taking care of your apple tree is paramount to its success. Minnetonka Orchards has a complete guide for apple tree care that you can visit and get all the information you need. Here are some specific care guide ideas for the Winter Banana.

Pests

Like all apple trees, there are a number of pests that you should be on the lookout for that will try to steal your fruit from you. Here is a guide to protecting your trees and fruits from nasty pests.

Diseases

The Winter Banana apple is especially prone to cedar-apple rust. Here is a list of the other apple tree diseases you should be on the lookout for.

Pruning

Diligently pruning your apple tree is essential to its successful growth.

Where To Buy The Winter Banana Apple

Ready to plant your own Winter Banana apple tree? You can purchase one at Nature Hills Nursery!

If you’re feeling impatient and don’t want to wait for a tree to grow and produce fruit, you can also purchase the apples themselves elsewhere. There’s a better than fair chance that your local Farmer’s Market, fruit stands, or even grocery stores will have Winter Banana apples as an option.

Conclusion

Three Winter Banana apples on a plate.

As you can see, this apple with a tropical taste twist is a delicious and delightful fruit. Whether you want to add it to your orchard or purchase the apples themselves, you would be wise to give the Winter Banana apple a try!