Atlas

Why you should be excited

Atlas is a Canadian apple from the early decades of the 20th century, mostly forgotten despite its nice flavour. 

The story of Atlas

This is yet another apple raised by Canada’s excellent apple breeders - this time the ones operating in Ottawa, Ontario back at the end of the 19th century - that’s largely been forgotten in the years since its 1924 release.

A cross of Duchess of Oldenburg with St. Lawrence, Atlas is a juicy early-season apple with pleasant flavour, growing on a generally vigorous and healthy tree. What's not to like? Well, Atlas' notable characteristics are maybe just a bit out of step with modern tastes, given its soft flesh – not a positive selling point these days, as consumers crave rock-hard apples to the exclusion of pretty much all else.

Because of this, Atlas is unlikely to make a comeback and gain commercial prominence in the foreseeable future, but we’re happy varieties like this are still around for us to enjoy and remember the days when Canadian federal government apple breeders did such great work.

Atlas Facts

Its origins

Raised from a seed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1898.

Flavour, aroma, texture

When it's fully ripened, the soft flesh is white and juicy, with a brisk, savoury flavour.

Appearance

The skin is flushed with pink and striped with carmine.

When they’re available

Early season (usually in early September).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking

Good.

Quality for cider

Not particularly known for use in cider, but like many heritage varieties, it can contribute a very nice sugar/acid balance to blends.

Keeping ability

Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).