Why you should be excited
Fireside is one of many 20th century-bred apples created with an eye to hardiness in extreme winters.
The story of Fireside
There was a time when apple varieties able to survive a prairie winter -- where temperatures are frequently below minus-40 for extended periods -- were viewed as an entirely distinct category.
This was simply because they weren't considered to be top-quality apples. Folks growing apples in places with milder winters wouldn’t dream of growing such lacklustre varieties.
Ah, but the University of Minnesota set out to change all of that by breeding winter hardy apples of such high quality that everyone would want to grow them. Honeycrisp is considered by many to be the pinnacle of that effort, but Fireside -– introduced half a century earlier -– is one of a handful of others that also have merit.
Bred in Excelsior, Minnesota, USA; 1943 introduction.
Flavour, aroma, texture
Sweet and juicy, with chewy skin.
An attractive apple with its greenish-yellow background mostly covered by red blush and striping.
When they’re available
Mid-season (usually in early October).
Quality for fresh eating
Quality for cooking
Mainly used for fresh eating.
Quality for cider
Not particularly known for its use in cider. At a minimum, though, a sweet and juicy apple like this could provide good bulk to a cider.
Very good (4 or 5 months when kept refrigerated).