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Limelights are named for their attractive shiny, bright yellow-green skin. These medium-sized apples are crisp and refreshing because of their high juice content. They tend more towards sweet than tart. The fruits crop heavily on the small tree, ripening successively over the fall months to provide a continuous apple crop. Limelight apple trees are also fairly disease resistant.
Limelight apples are available in the fall.
Limelight apples are a new mid-season variety of Malus domestica developed in England by the apple breeder Hugh Ermen. Limelight was developed specifically as a variety easy for home gardeners to grow. Its parents are Discovery and Greensleeves, two English apples.
One medium apple has less than 100 calories and plenty of important nutrients. The fiber in an apple helps digestion, Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, and antioxidants and phytochemicals are a component in chronic disease prevention, protecting against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Limelights are best used for fresh eating, as well as juicing, but can be used for cooking as well. Add slices to spinach salads to contrast the bright green color with the darker leaves, or pair with English cheddar cheese. Limelights aren’t known as keepers—they can be kept in cool, dry storage for two or three weeks.
Many modern apple varieties are developed specifically for the fruit’s commercial potential. Limelight apples are an example of a variety that was instead developed for home gardeners, who appreciate Limelight’s small size and disease resistance. However, small commercial apple growers in England are starting to grow Limelights as well, because of how easy they are to care for.
Hugh Ermen, a well-known UK apple breeder at the East Malling Research Station, introduced Limelights in the 1980s. Ermen also developed the Herefordshire Russet and the Scrumptious, among other apple varieties. Limelights grow best in sunny spots in temperate climates without too much snow and cold.