What is a Jonathan Apple?

Misty Amber Brighton

A Jonathan apple is an apple that is typically light to medium red in color with a yellow blush and occasional yellow spots or stripes. This fruit is usually medium-sized with thick skin that is mostly smooth. The inside flesh is normally a white or off-white color with a high amount of acid and juice. This variety is normally short in height and very round.

Jonathan apples are sometimes added to fruit salads.
Jonathan apples are sometimes added to fruit salads.

There are two theories as to the origin of this apple's name. One legend is that a man named Jonathan Hasbrouck discovered it growing on a farm that belonged to a farmer named Phillip Rick during the 1820's. This farm was located in New York in the United States. It is thought that he brought the apple to a judge who was presiding over the local horticulture society. The judge was impressed with the apple and declared it to be the "Jonathan apple."

Jonathan apples can be made into applesauce.
Jonathan apples can be made into applesauce.

Another theory proclaims that a woman named Rachel Higley gathered some seeds from a cider mill in Connecticut. She carried the seeds with her when her family moved to Ohio in 1804. When the tree grew, she named its fruit Jonathan after her husband, and the name stuck.

Jonathan apples are well suited to making jams and jellies.
Jonathan apples are well suited to making jams and jellies.

Despite the fact that it has a high amount of acid, most people find the Jonathan apple to be very sweet. It is often a favorite for fresh eating despite the tough peel. It can be a good choice for fruit salads as well. This apple may also be used in making applesauce, juices, pie fillings, jams and jellies.

A Jonathan apple tree normally grows to be between 15 and 20 feet (4.57 to 6.09 m) in height with a spread of 10 to 15 feet (3.05 to 4.57 m). Trees usually bear fruit three to five years after planting. These trees typically bloom in early spring with most of the fruit being harvested from the months of September through December.

These trees mostly prefer moderate temperatures during the summer and cold weather during the winter months. Even so, they occasionally grow well in areas of high humidity. In the United States, these apples are grown primarily in the state of Washington, but generally do well in most areas of the Pacific Northwest.

This apple can usually be enjoyed fresh during the fall and early winter months. It can be a healthy alternative to candy and other sugary foods. Eating apples is sometimes thought to be good for your teeth and gums as well.

Tart, crisp Jonathan apples are often used to make apple pie and other baked desserts.
Tart, crisp Jonathan apples are often used to make apple pie and other baked desserts.

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Discussion Comments


I love Jonathan apples too, but they're so hard to find nowadays. There is only one local farmer who harvests them and I get to enjoy them a few times a year when he brings them to the farmer's market.


@feruze-- I don't know too much about Jonathan apple trees, but you might want to prune it in the summer to encourage new growth. Pruning also helps the tree give more fruit and it helps apples grow bigger.

Jonathan apples are not extremely large apples anyway. But if you get more, you can make some great apple sauce and apple pies with it.

The best part about Jonathan apples is that you can start picking the apples in September, which is fairly early. Most apples are ready much later.


Does anyone have a Jonathan apple tree? What do you do to keep it in shape and to encourage the tree to have more fruits?

There is one in my yard that's about fifteen feet tall. It doesn't bear a lot of fruit and the apples are fairly small. I'm not sure if I should prune it, fertilize it, etc.

I bought this house just last year so I'm just now finding the time to care for the tree.

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