The Arkansas Black Apple

photo credit: Gastro Obscura

Arkansas Black Apples aren't your typical apple.

When picked from the tree they are rock-hard and sour.

However, when put in a fridge or other cool storage for a few months, pickers are rewarded with a sweet, firm fruit with notes of cherry, cinnamon, vanilla, and coriander.

Growers first discovered and cultivated this breed of apple in 1870, at an orchard in Bentonville.

Arkansas established an economy around apple production and during the 1920s, 15 to 20 percent of that state's yield was the black apple, rumoured descendant of the Winesap apple.

However, moth infestations and the Great Depression culled commercial production.

Families maintained Arkansas Black Apple trees in their yards, but the supply dwindled to home cooking. Today, the species is only three to five percent of Arkansas' apple production.

Over the last decade, local Arkansas chefs have taken to the fruit with renewed interest, using the crop to add a unique element to their dishes.