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Sansa apples are available late summer through fall.
Sansa apples are a Japanese variety of Malus domestica. It is a cross of the gala apple and akane. They are one of the first truly sweet apples to ripen each season.
Sansa apples are often compared to the more well-known gala variety for their similar appearance and flavor. Sansas are medium-large with red striped skin overlaid on a yellow background, and yellow flesh. While the flavor is sweet, it is more complex than saccharine and has some tartness to it.
One apple contains just 80 calories and many important nutrients such as potassium and dietary fiber. There are also small amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
Fresh eating is the best use for the Sansa, like many other apples that ripen early in the season. Sansa does not store especially well and is best eaten in a week or less. Choose fruits that are free of bruises and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for best results.
The development of the Sansa apple was an effort to introduce new varieties of apples to both Japan and New Zealand. Researchers in Japan wanted to grow gala apples available in New Zealand, while New Zealand researchers wanted access to akane apples available in Japan. The resulting research partnership created a cross of both types—the Sansa—that brought the best qualities of each apple to new countries.
Japan has produced many apples at its agricultural research stations. Sansa is one example developed at the Morioka Research Station. However, this particular apple was created in partnership with researchers in New Zealand. Pollen from the Japanese akane apple was sent to cross pollinate New Zealand gala apples. The resulting seeds were sent to Japan to cultivate trees and the new variety Sansa was introduced to market in 1988.