Red Delicious apples for many years have been the best-selling variety in America. This fact does not mean that they are the most popular among consumers. Red Delicious apples appear everywhere – on hotel reception counters and in commercially-prepared sack lunches, for example. Their wide-spread use stems from one basic fact: Red Delicious apples store well and remain visually appealing even after they have lost their crispness and flavor. We grow Red Delicious, but we market them very shortly after harvest. Freshly picked Red Delicious apples have an excellent mild, sweet flavor. They taste MUCH better fresh than after many months of storage.
History: The Red Delicious apple was discovered by chance by Jesse Hiatt on a farm two miles north of Peru, Iowa in 1872. Originally he named it “Hawkeye.” For several years he attempted to market it in Iowa, with limited success. In 1894 Stark Brothers Nursery in Louisiana, Missouri received permission to propagate the tree. They renamed it “Delicious,” and its popularity exploded. The original tree lived and produced fruit until 1940. It was destroyed in a storm, but two trees sprouted from its roots and continued to produce until at least the 1980s. Red Delicious is one parent of Fuji.*
Taste Profile: Red Delicious apples have a mild, primarily sweet taste. They have a thick skin and crisp flesh when eaten soon after harvest. Their taste and crispness will deteriorate even though they still look great.
Suggested Uses: Red Delicious is best used as an eating apple. Its mild flavor makes it less suitable for salads, cider or cooking.
*From the Madison County Iowa Historical Society, The Delicious Apple Since 1872: Historical Significance. 1985 and Wikipedia.