We first called it the nectarine apple because it has the flavor of a nectarine. Just because it looks like a nectarine would not have been enough on its own to name it Nectarapple. But there’s actually a lot more than taste and appearance that say “nectarine.” There’s the texture of the skin, which, like a nectarine’s “chewy” skin, is not plastic or rigid like some apples have. Then there’s the aroma. If you leave a ripe one at room temperature and smell either the stem end or the calyx (flower) end, you’ll get an unmistakable ripe nectarine essence. A bushel of these, and, Oh, my!, you’ll wonder what could smell more wonderfully, desirably fruity. And perhaps the most nectarine-like quality of all: the antique cracking that occurs in the skin as it rounds the calyx lobe. These micro-cracks in the nectarine-ish, firey-maroon skin sometimes expose the yellow undercolor just like you’d see in the same location on the best nectarines.
Of all the Nectarapples ever grown in the history of the world, I have personally eaten most of them. I have sparingly given away many for folks to try, but I’d happily eat two bushels of these things, if I had the chance, before eating any of my second-favorite apples. I have eaten twelve Nectarapples in a night, driving a load of Haralson (a good candidate for my second-favorite) apples into the Twin Cities. It’s very humorous, I think, because you can’t eat twelve if you don’t bring twelve. That means I had to go to my private stash in the cooler, select a dozen, and bring them in the cab with me. And, apparently, I didn’t think nine, or ten, or eleven would be quite enough.
Now, when I say I ate the majority of all Nectarapples ever grown, it must be explained that, for years, they all came in limited quantities from a single original young tree. Then I grafted several scions (cuttings) onto existing trees, and after several years a few apples started coming from those. Later, in 2001, we planted a hundred or so maiden trees that were budded on rootstocks (that’s how most trees are started by nurseries for growers these days), and they have produced some apples, too. So the day is coming when there will be ’way more Nectarapples that even I can eat.
While I was writing this Nectarapple report, I thought I should eat another one to make sure I wasn’t exaggerating. So I did, and all I can say is that I wish I had grabbed a few extra. I love the way the skin chews. The texture of the flesh is unusual and marvelous. The flavor is bursting. Fruity. Not tart, but sharply acid. Sharply. And I just love that, combined with that explosion of flavor.
Nectarapple won’t be everybody’s favorite. There’s ’way too much excitement in a mouthful for most people’s taste, probably. That’s why it’s so great to have so many varieties. For every great apple, there’s someone for whom it’s their absolute favorite. That’s the way it is for me with these Nectarapples. I couldn’t have imagined such an apple before I tasted Nectarapple, and I can’t imagine one now that would be more perfect for my personal taste.
Other varieties that lean toward the characteristics of Nectarapple include Chestnut Crab, Prairie Spy, Plum Crabbie, and Austin.