Apples (Malus domestica) are invaluable additions to your yard, creating beautiful spring blooms, shady summer foliage and tasty fall fruits. But various kinds of apples produce fruit through the flush of their first- or late-summer fruit season and are lost in the shuffle. If you would like apple trees which have a long fruiting season and fruit which remains on trees well into late fall and barren winter, then look to the longest-lasting varieties.
“Braeburn” apples, which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, are well-known from supermarkets and farmers markets, and for good reason. The fruits are bright-flavored and sharp, and look beautiful against bare branches when left on more than their customary late-fall fruiting. They’ll last well outdoors until early winter, and may be saved until spring. “Braeburn” apples work well for applesauce, pies and eating new.
The “Fuji” apple is a light-textured, crunchy and sweet fruit which makes for good fresh eating. It’s distinct skin bears the familiar cross pattern of red and greenish-gold. This apple also keeps well on the tree for many weeks or for many months in cold storage, and its flavor improves with storage time. Usually the fruits are ready in late November and December, ideal for when the remainder of the season is winding down. “Fuji” apples work best in USDA zones 5 through 8.
As the name implies, “Honeycrisp” apples have a possess a natural sweetness which lends them well to eating new or baking into pies and applesauce. An extremely cold-hardy apple, which rises in USDA zones 3 through 9, it may ripen as early as September but will cling to branches and weather outside quite well for many weeks. Its distinctive red-on-green color pattern and hot flesh make it a vacation favorite.
The “Cameo” apple had been discovered by chance in the 1980s, in a “Red Delicious” orchard at Washington. It shares several of its parent apple’s qualities, such as sweet, firm flesh and a pretty red exterior. It fruits late, in October or occasionally November, and may last on the tree for weeks or even months into cold weather. It rises in USDA zones 3 through 9. A good pick for baking and pies, it lasts well in cold storage until spring.
Crab apples (Malus spp.) Are an alternative to traditional apples. They are much more likely to be persistent, maintaining fruit through winter, at which point they are usually eaten by birds and squirrels. Many crab apples are edible when cooked into a pie or applesauce. Crab apple varieties grow in USDA zones 3 through 8, though they prefer the cooler, milder climates of USDA zones 7 and 6.