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Api Noir Apple
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Api Noir apples are small in size and round or conic in shape. The skin is smooth, matte, and yellow and is covered almost entirely by dark red, mahogany, or purple blushing with some faint speckling. The flesh is white, firm, and crunchy. There is also a central fibrous core running the length of the fruit that encases a few dark brown seeds. When sliced in half, the core and seeds will look like a five-pointed star. Api Noir apples are crisp, juicy, aromatic, and very sweet.
The Api Noir apple is available in the fall through spring.
The Api Noir apple is an old—if not ancient—variety of Malus domestica from France. It was formerly a very popular apple, and its very distinctive dark red flush sets it apart as a beautiful, decorative fruit both on the tree and off. The Api Noir is a darker variation of the Pomme D’Api or Api (also called the Lady apple, different than the more common Pink Lady). It has been variously called many names, including Black Lady Apple, Calvau Noir, Pomme de Calvau, de Caluau, Schwarze Api, etc.
Apples such as the Api Noir are healthy additions to meals and snacks. They contain few calories but many nutrients such as dietary fiber and Vitamin C. They also contain phytochemicals and antioxidants (including Vitamin C) that help prevent chronic disease.
The Api Noir is a dessert apple, best for fresh eating. Lean in to the sweetness of this apple by making caramel apples, or pair with more savory dishes such as pork or duck. This apple stores well, and will remain crisp in cool, dry storage until the spring.
French gardeners were fond of this apple in the 19th century, planting it in pots or decorative gardens to highlight its red fruit, which hangs on the tree well into the fall. Api Noir apples were also valued by the French as decorations on tables and in garlands. The showy blossoms were another draw that recommended the Api Noir as a decorative tree.
The exact origin of the Api Noir apple is unknown. It was certainly documented by the 1800s, but may have been recorded in 1608 under a different name; it may in fact be even older than this. Api Noirs are fairly small trees that do best in moderate climates such as France; they can even be kept in pots.