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Fortune apples are available in the mid-fall and winter months.
The Fortune variety of Malus domestica is a cross between new world Empire apples and Schoharie Spy apples, a sport of the old world variety Northern (Red) Spy. Fortune is a relatively recent addition to the apple world, and was first developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Center. The Fortune apple should not be confused with Laxton’s Fortune apple of Britain or the Sister of Fortune apple that is a close cousin of the Fortune variety.
The Fortune apple is a large variety produced biennially on each tree. It has a burgundy red skin with green streaks peeking through, and a unique flavor that mirrors both parent varieties. The Fortune apple is both sweet and tart, and its flavor has spicy undertones, though the core may be bitter. The yellow, cream-colored flesh of the Fortune apple is crisp and juicy.
Apples are healthy additions to meals and snacks any time of day. One apple provides a fifth of the daily recommended value of dietary fiber, along with Vitamin C and potassium. Apples do not contain fat, cholesterol, or sodium.
The flavor and size of Fortune apples make them ideal for fresh eating, as well as pies and tarts. The crisp apples hold up when baked and can be used in any recipes calling for tart apples, like Macintosh or Empire. Pair with Golden Delicious apples for applesauce or dice and mix with celery and herbs for stuffing pork tenderloin. Fortune will keep for up to four months if stored properly in the refrigerator.
The appearance and flavor of Fortune apples have more in common with older heritage varieties of apples, then more modern ones. In fact, Fortune has not proven to be a commercially popular variety, but is appreciated by more and more consumers who are looking for old-fashioned tastes to expand beyond the traditional few varieties available at grocery stores.
Fortune apples were developed at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. They were introduced to the market in 1995. Fortune apples grow well in climates similar to the mid-Atlantic region in which it was first developed.