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Keepsake apples tend to be irregularly shaped and small and primarily red in color. The light yellow flesh is hard and crisp, with plenty of juice. The flavor is distinctive, strong, sweet, nutty, and aromatic, which gets smoother with age. It has been compared to the taste of sugar cane. Keepsake trees are fairly large and produce a large crop.
Keepsake apples are available fall through early spring.
Keepsake apples, a variety of Malus domestica, are best-known as one of the parents of the popular Honeycrisp. However, this twentieth-century apple is a great variety in and of itself. Its own parentage is Malinda and Northern Spy.
Apples of all kinds are healthy additions to the diet. They contain B-complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. Dietary fiber is present in larger amounts, which helps keep the digestive system functioning and prevents cholesterol from building up.
This particular apple is better for fresh eating than cooking or baking. Keepsakes are faithful to their name, and keep well for up to six months in proper cool storage conditions. Some say their best flavor comes out after two or three months in storage. The Keepsake apple pairs well with creamy, nutty cheeses such as Challerhocker, a Swiss variety.
Keepsake is not as popular as its offspring Honeycrisp, probably because it is not considered a particularly attractive apple. They are easier to find at orchards where they are grown for their novelty, rather than in large supermarkets.
Like other apples eaten today, the Keepsake was produced as part of a university breeding program. This one was developed by the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1978. Keepsake apple trees do well in cold, northern climates like Minnesota where the first tree was bred.