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Spencer apples are large and conical. The skin is almost entirely reddish-pink with some green highlights. Inside, the flesh is fairly hard, with a crisp and juicy texture. The taste has a honeyed sweetness balanced by some acidity— a true sweet-tart apple.
Spencer apples are available in the fall.
The Spencer apple, botanical name Malus domestica, is a mid-season variety originating from British Columbia, Canada. This apple’s parents are Golden Delicious and McIntosh.
Apples have few calories and no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. They do contain small amounts of Vitamin C and potassium, and more significant amounts of several types of fiber. Soluble fiber is necessary for a healthy cardiovascular and digestive system. Pectin, another type of fiber, also contributes to a healthy intestinal tract.
Spencers are an all-purpose variety, good for both eating fresh out of hand and for cooking/baking. They particularly shine as a dessert apple, but they are a good choice for pies and applesauce as well. Pair with a robust aged cheddar cheese for a snack or in a salad. Spencers have a fairly short storage span, but can last for a couple of months in proper cool, dry storage.
A number of research stations around the world have developed and released many apples to the world during the twentieth and twenty-first century. Spencer is one example of this process. Once it was discovered at the Summerlands research center, it underwent significant testing to make sure it would be a good apple for the modern market.
The Pacific Agri-Food Research Center apple breeding station at Summerland, British Columbia, has produced a number of apples, including Spencer. R.C. Palmer discovered this variety at the station in 1926. It took thirty years of development, and Spencer was finally released to market in 1959.