Why I grow Honeycrisp


I finally had some Honeycrisp grow on my tree this year. They were very tasty and were not as big as the store varieties. I had quite a few , yet unripened, and some neighbor or critter helped themselves to most of them. I managed to get about a dozen smaller ones to taste and put into an apple crisp I made. Perhaps the apple size will get bigger as the tree gets bigger and matures more. My purpose in planting this apple variety was two fold:

  1. My family liked them
  2. I was not going to pay $3.99 a lb for a apple I can grow in my own yard


That’s what I was thinking. And even Opal has had its off years locally, last year wasn’t great here. I’m looking forward to a new season of club apples. Just had some good Smitten yesterday.


Still have at least 50 HC on the tree. They get redder. Many cloudy, drizzling, rainy days do hurt its taste.


Just picked my last Honeycrisp from the branch at my house. It had codling moth, so with the advanced ripening it was picked late.

I thought the taste was very good, I’d eat a lot of them if they all had that flavor. It had plenty of sugar, measured 17 brix. Unfortunately the texture had degraded to the point of being just acceptable. Much of Honeycrisp allure is in the texture, obviously.

But I can imagine there are growing conditions that could accomplish this flavor with optimal Honeycrisp texture, and I think that’s what the first Honeycrisps I had many years ago were like, and why they were so captivating.

What I still don’t understand is how the local, 11 brix or whatever green/yellow honeycrisp at the grocery store command high prices. That has to be 100% based on texture and reputation.


This year, mine lives up to only the second half of its name. They are as Crisp as usual but no Honey in it. Mostly bland.


Mine actually taste better this year than they did last year. At least they have enough acid for baking. So far I’ve made apple sauce and apple crisp and they were surprisingly good for a low acid apple. The only problem is that HC is really hard the first month off the tree. Unless you like crunchy baked apples, dumplings and pie would get burned. I guess they could be precooked, something I’ve never done before.

It’s confusing because the weather last year was about as good as it gets (sunny and dry) and this year is about as bad as it ever gets (near constant grey sky and soggy ground). It makes me wonder why they were so flavorless last year. I’ll probably never understand fruit development. Results are always defying my expectations. :confused:


They look great. Mine did not look that good this year.


Climate change is leading to warmer nights even more than warmer days. I believe warm nights stimulate respiration that encourages vegetative growth at the expense of sugar storage in fruit.


By the way, I just finished eating a Jonagold off the tree, a very red variety that looks almost identical to Honeycrisp. It also tasted a lot like a good Honeycrisp, with similar crunch, density, juiciness and acid to sugar balance.

The variety was the pride and joy of Roger Way, the Cornell apple breeder famous for his ability to identify heirloom varieties.

If he’d called it Honeycrisp, maybe Jonagold would be the apple pop-star of this century. It did become one of the most popular varieties in Europe.


Interesting theory. Would the apples out West or in warmer night temps be not as tasty either? Or do you think it is just perhaps the trees used to cooler temps that would make their tastes not as good?


Nights tend towards cooler in the western fruit growing regions than the east and if you search for it you will find that this is considered an advantage in growing the highest quality fruit.

Cool nights are very well known to cause better red color in apples, which is likely part of the same deal. Commercial growers tend to focus more on color than brix, much to my dismay.

The idea of a reduction in respiration as nights cool was something I learned as a biological fact in hort school- it just wasn’t connected to an explanation of what this means as far as the carbohydrates that are manufactured during the day, but the sugars have to go somewhere and respiration is about growth of new cells.

I’ve long noticed that certain vegetables get sweeter in the fall as growth slows- particularly with summer squash.

But you are right, it’s just a theory.


Actually, all my other apples were as good as they ever get. It was just HC that was bad last year. This year, all the apples are dropping a few weeks early and aren’t as good as usual. The acid is there, but the sugar and flavor is weak.


I don’t think you got the rain we did down here, Didn’t you have drought early on into mid-summer when we were getting flooded.


Yes, I saw both extremes this year. My location only got about 3.5" of rain from April to mid July. Rain storms would miss or breakup before they got here. By mid July, half of the lawn was brown and there were 1/2" cracks in the ground in some places. There wasn’t much vegetative growth on the trees and the smaller trees were clearly stressed. Then the weather pattern suddenly switched to 5-7 rainy days per week. I stopped recording the rainfall weeks ago, but I estimate about 36" of rain since mid July. It’s so soggy in some spots I decided to skip harvesting some of the trees I use for juicing. I don’t recall a year like this.


I know this a HC thread, but I recall from another thread that you had fruited some Macouns in recent years. How did yours do this year, if you don’t mind me asking?


Macoun came off the tree a little green this year, so I put them in storage for further ripening. I had a couple bushel of nonstorable HC to use up anyhow.

Flavor developed better than expected in the one I just tried, but still not as good as last year.


Just wonder why some of your HC are non-storable?


Bitter Pit grows in storage. It’s sad because HC is a hard apple that should be a good keeper. Not for me, I guess.

As long as they don’t get soft and mealy, the flavor of most apples improve in high humidity cold storage (sealed bags in fridge). That is one of my gripes for not being able to store mine.




the u pick farm i went to in oct, the honeycrisp and marcoun were the smallest of 6 varieties they grew there. I’ve never seen this apple even close to the size of a macintosh up here. maybe not a good region to grow them , yet y. transparent, cortlands and macs grow very well.