The Opal variety looks like a Golden Delicious with some brown russeting near the stem area, but that’s where the similarities end. Opal Apples are very crisp and firm in texture. The flesh is sweet with some tanginess in the background – excellent for snacking. Their flesh is naturally slow to oxidize, so a cut Opal Apple slice with not turn brown as quickly as other varieties, making Opals ideal for salads. You can bake with them too – check out the recipes on the Opal Apples site.
The Opal apple variety is grown in the US by the Broetje family (First Fruits brand) at their organic and conventional orchards in Washington. Opals are harvested in late fall and become a little sweeter tasting in storage, so that’s why they’re held back until the winter months. I had the opportunity to meet Ralph Broetje and tour his orchards in August 2013. The variety, a cross between Golden Delicious and Topaz discovered in Europe in 1999, has been well-received by those that have tasted it. The Broetje’s are planting a lot of Opal Apples so you will see more of this variety in produce departments in the next 5-10 years.