Jonathan Apple: A Classic American Heirloom Variety With A Tangy Taste

Jonathan apples used to be a common variety of apples, but they have recently lost their spark as they have been replaced by some of the more modern apple varieties. They are still used for breeding, but they are rarely sold in grocery stores. Although they have lost some of their popularity, Jonathan apples are tangy and sweet, making many wonder why they are not as common anymore.

Jonathan Apple is an American heirloom apple variety with an attractive bicolor peel and a crispy, tart flavor. They are an average size, with bright red skin and yellow flesh. The apples are sweet, crispy, and tart, performing well for baked goods. Jonathan apples are commonly grown in New England and they are popular throughout the North East. Jonathan apples originated in NY State, where they were developed by a farmer named Philip Rick and introduced in 1826.

Jonathan apples are wonderful autumn apples. They harvest during September and October, and they are commonly used for fall baking. While many have never tasted this juicy apple, it can be used in a wide variety of dishes. They have many purposes and they do well in storage. They can last a long period of time if they are kept in the right conditions. By reading below, you will be able to discover everything you could ever want to know about the Jonathan apple.

Jonathan Apples: The Basics

The Jonathan Apple has the classic look of American heirloom apples, with a nice bicolor peel of yellow and red. The outside of this apple is covered in bright red skin, sometimes accompanied by stripes. When you bite into the Jonathan apple, you will find pale yellow flesh inside.

Jonathan apples are average-sized apples. They are medium in width but taller in height when compared to many other apples.

The taste of Jonathan apples is like no other. If you like tart apples then this is the one for you. While you can taste the sweetness of the Jonathan apple, the tang will take over.

Origins Of The Jonathan Apple

The Jonathan apple was bred in 1826 by American farmer Philip Rick. On his farm in Woodstock, New York, Rick planted a seedling from the Esopus Spitzenburg variety. The apple went through a variety of names but “Jonathan” stuck when Jonathan Zander brought the apple to the president of the Albany Horticulture Society.

The president of the Albany Horticulture Society, Jesse Buel, then had the Jonathan apple become an official variety. Since that moment on Rick’s farm, the Jonathan apple has grown in popularity and has become a fan favorite. Many still enjoy the natural tang of the apple, even more so than when compared to newer, more modern apples.

The Jonathan apple is frequently used to breed new varieties of apple. Jonathan apples are parent apples to the Jonagold Apple, the Jonamac Apple, and the Jonalicious Apple.

Where Are Jonathan Apples Grown?

The North East still grows Jonathan apples, as many of the locals there prefer it over newer apples. Currently, Jonathan apples are grown in New England. Modern apples have mostly overpowered the Jonathan apple, but not in New England. Jonathan apples are still used in breeding because New England likes to pay tribute to more historic apples.

Jonathan Apples
Jonathan Apples

When Is Harvest Season?

The harvest season for Jonathan apples is during autumn. These apples are ready to be gathered in September or October. This is the optimal time to begin picking your Jonathan apples. They will be ripe and ready to eat. Jonathan apples ripen a tad later than some other varieties.


Jonathan apples cost about $1.50 per pound. They tend to cost slightly more than common apple varieties due to their lack of commercial cultivation.

Jonathan apples are not commonly found in grocery stores. They have been replaced by newer varieties of apples and so their average price is unknown.

Jonathan Apple Tree
Jonathan Apple Tree

How To Grow Jonathan Apples


Jonathan apple trees need sandy loam soil. Sandy loam soil is a mix of sand, silt, and clay. It is good for drainage and will work to ensure the tree is not drowned.

When dealing with sandy loam soil, do not use too much sand. An excess of sand could result in the soil becoming too acidic.


For Jonathan apple trees, you will need to water them regularly. They need one bucket of water per week, give or take depending on the water. If the weather is hot and sunny, then the tree may need more water. If it is stormy, however, less water will be needed. Consistent and frequent watering is key for the Jonathan apple tree.


Jonathan apple trees require full sunlight. They need at least six hours in the sun every day, and they do not tolerate full shade well. If the tree does not get enough sunlight, then the taste and appearance of the apples will change.

When first planting this tree, you will want to ensure the tree does not get too much sunlight. Younger apple trees are more susceptible to sunburn and this should be avoided.

How Long Do Jonathan Apples Store For?

Jonathan apples store for a long time. They can last up to six months in the refrigerator, which is impressive for fresh fruit.

If they are kept out on a shelf, however, they will not last for as long. They may last a bit longer than other varieties. though.

Jonathan Apples

Recipes Where Jonathan Apples Shine

Jonathan apples are great for baking. Because of their natural spice and tang, they do well in many baked goods. In addition, they do well in other foods such as apple chips.

Anything you use other types of apples for, you can use Jonathan apples for. They are delicious and crisp, making them perfect for a variety of different recipes. Below is a list of the most commonly used recipes for Jonathan apples:

  • Applesauce
  • Salads
  • Apple crisp
  • Pies
  • Apple chips

Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (

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