Ambrosia, Gala, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp…the produce shelves at local stores and markets are bursting with new varieties of apples these days. Many of them are grown in warmer regions of Canada, but over the years prairie fruit breeders have been patiently working on hardier varieties. Dr. Bob Bors, Assistant Professor and Head of the Fruit Breeding Program at University of Saskatchewan is one of those patient people. In an interview on CBC radio on Thanksgiving Monday, Dr Bors explained that it can take up to 20 years to develop a new variety of apple. The good news is that there are a number of varieties on the market that will survive a Prairie winter and a number more in the development pipeline. Besides flavour, one of the key characteristics they look for is cold hardiness. Fortunately Honey Crisp, one of the most popular apples in the market place right now, has proven its worth as a parent to a family of apple varieties currently under development at U of Saskatchewan. It was developed at the University of Minnesota ‘the second coldest apple breeding location in the world’, according to Bors.
If you’re interested in the Fruit Breeding Program and recent apple introductions at the U of Saskatchewan click here.
If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s new in apple breeding, click here to find the full CBC interview.
If you’re interested in a fun and easy way to serve and eat apples, mix 3 parts of greek yogurt with 1 part peanut butter. Add honey to taste and a dash of cinnamon if you like…and watch them disappear !