Food - Drink
What Makes Firecracker Apples Unique
You may be familiar with Honeycrisps and Granny Smiths, but you've likely never heard of Firecracker apples. While the name of this fruit sounds a bit outlandish, "Firecracker apple" is the real name of two very interesting apple varieties: one is a small, red-fleshed crabapple, and the other is a relative newcomer.
The newer variety of Firecracker apple was developed by Cornell University's CALS, one of the country’s oldest apple breeding programs. CALS' Firecracker debuted in September 2020, advertised as a multipurpose apple with a fantastic crunch and hints of spice and yeast, well-suited for eating raw, baking, and cider-making.
The other apple called Firecracker is officially known as Bill's Red Flesh Crab, and its skin and flesh are a very unique and vibrant red hue that conjures the image of exploding firecrackers. The distinct flavor of the Red Flesh Crab is described as a mix of cherry and grapefruit with hints of tannins, nuts, and a bit of black pepper.
Both types of Firecracker apple have fitting names due to their red color and the slightly spicy notes in their flesh. CALS' Firecracker makes for excellent craft cider and juice, and while Red Flesh Crabs are much rarer in recipes, they are delicious eaten straight or used in salads, desserts, and applesauce, if you can find them.