Science

Attention shoppers: The apple of the future is here -- this is how to buy it

With 20 years of research behind it, Cosmic Crisp promises it’s the stuff of “big dreams.”

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Prepare yourselves: Your fruit bowl is going to be out of this world.

Food science is making waves with a new endeavor that could change the way we eat one of our favorite fruits. As of this week, you can now buy an apple that can last for up to a year in your fridge.

Originally dubbed WA 38 by researchers at Washington State University , Cosmic Crisp started shipping out to stores in the United States on Sunday, December 1 2019. The fruit is the product of two decades of intense research and breeding at the university. The brainchild of former WSU scientist Bruce Barritt, it’s a cross-breed of Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples. Honeycrisps are beloved for their juicy, sweet taste, while Enterprise apples are known for their late-season fruit and longevity.

Combining those two breeds results in a new super apple, its creators say: One with all the flavor of the Honeycrisp, but without its tricky growing habits. That’s good news for consumers and growers. Honeycrisps are one of the US’s favorite apples, but these temperamental fruits often don’t even make it on to the shelves because they are so finicky to grow, harvest, and store, The Morning Call reports. The name Cosmic Crisp is a nod not only to its out-of-this-world properties, but also to the constellations of white speckles on its skin.

“This apple,” Barritt told the WSU Foundation earlier this year, “was developed to make consumers happy.”

Cosmic Crisps — hype or horticultural genius?

The company bringing Cosmic Crisp to a supermarket near you haven’t been shy about promoting the new breed. Leading up to the big release, they’ve been building up the hype on Twitter, with the slogan “Imagine The Possibilities.”

Just wait til you see this delightfully bizarre commercial Cosmic Crisp tweeted in July.

If the researchers’ description of the apple is accurate, getting pumped for an apple to drop isn’t so farfetched. They report that aside from its longevity, the apple has a “balanced sweet/tart flavor, firm with excellent crispness and juiciness.” Sounds yummy.

The ad goes a little further: It claims the apple has a perfect flavor, crisp texture, juicy interior, and striking color. (Although the photos show it has candy-red skin, like the temptingly luscious poisoned apple in Snow White).

“The apple of big dreams,” the ad promises of the Cosmic Crisp. “This is the apple the world has been waiting for.”

…Have we?

Cosmic Crisps for all

Whether you have been waiting for it or not, the Cosmic Crisp is here — and it is going to be big. For this year’s harvest, growers planted 12 million Cosmic Crisp trees, producing 450,000 40-pound boxes for sale, according to the The New York Post.

Next year, the harvest is expected to quadruple, reaching more than 2 million boxes. Because Washington apple growers funded the research, they have exclusive growing rights for the first 10 years.

Consumers could start stocking up on the apples in advance of that bonanza, and still make a Cosmic Crisp pie for Thanksgiving 2020. The Cosmic Crisp was bred to age more slowly than other apples — it doesn’t go brown for months as long as it is in the fridge or a similarly climate-controlled environment In fact, in the right cold store it will stay fresh for a year, WSU researchers report.

Think of all the things that happen within a year…you could have Cosmic Crisps that last longer than several consecutive Tinder relationships. Today’s apples will outlive the 2020 election. They’ll be there, sitting in the crisper, gazing up at you every time you open the fridge, sigh, close it, and order takeout.

If that’s spooky, weird, exciting, or all the above, just remember: This is the apple the world has been waiting for. OK?

So, where can you get the hottest new apple of 2019? If you’re on the West coast, you’re in luck. Since the apple is grown exclusively in Washington state, it’s getting a start on the country’s left coast.

Right now, it’s available at Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, and others, according to the Cosmic Crisp website. Starting later this month, The Fruit Company will ship them (for a price).

For now, the rest of the world will have to keep waiting.

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