The Macoun apple is a hybrid that resulted from a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey black varieties. It is a small to medium-size apple, dark red with a purplish hue over a green background. The white flesh is crisp and moist, with lots of juice in each bite. It ripens later than other varieties of apples and should be used by the end of the year. There are some drawbacks to growing this type of apple, but the results are worth it for farmers. The Macoun is an all-purpose apple, meaning that it’s great for eating fresh, for baking, for blending or for anything else that can be done with an apple.
Introduced in the early half of the 1900s, the Macoun apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, as an alternative to the McIntosh. The McIntosh was crossed with the Jersey black, and the new apple variety was named after Canadian fruit grower W.T. Macoun. This hybrid apple produces a very sweet yet slightly tart taste with a hint of berry, a perfect dessert-quality apple.
In the United States, Macoun apples ripen and is ready for harvest in October and November, later in the year than other types of apples. Their harvest season also is shorter than that of other apple varieties. They do best in a colder environment, making Macoun apples a favorite in the northeastern U.S.
One of the drawbacks of growing Macoun apples is that they tend to fall off the tree easily and bruise because their short stem is not always able to hold the large and heavy fruit. The other downside for growing a Macoun apple orchard is that the crops are not reliable, with hardy harvests one year and a sparse one the next. The demand for the Macoun apple variety is the reason that farmers continue to grow them despite the difficulties.
Macoun apples are the most common type of apples at roadside stands in New England. This extra sweet apple is especially good for eating raw, but it also is an all-purpose fruit. Macouns do well baked or chopped up for pie filling, sliced and added to salads or blended into sauces. It can be served with a slice of cheese for a healthy autumn dessert, or a glass of wine can be added for a more mature snack.