Why you should be excited
Jonafree is a riff on the old classic Jonathan apple, providing great eating in an apple that's also easy to grow.
The story of Jonafree
Jonafree is similar to the classic Jonathan, which is no surprise, given that Jonathan is one of its grandparents. You'll also find Northern Spy, Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty among Jonafree's ancestors.
Here's another of our favourite apples that's the result of joint research by Purdue, Rutgers and Illinois Universities. Yet again, they hit a home run with Jonafree, which originated back in 1965 in a breeding orchard in Urbana, Illinois.
A September ripener that produces a medium-sized bright red apple, Jonafree keeps fairly well -- as long as you keep it cold and humid, that is -- and consistently produces good-sized crops on disease-resistant trees.
The flesh is pale yellow, fine grained, crisp and juicy. Jonafree is less acidic than Jonathan, but still considered to be of fine flavour. 'Rich' and 'slightly aromatic' are appropriate descriptors that come to mind.
The Jonafree tree is also nice to grow, vigorous and consistently delivering a good haul of fruit.
Bred in Illinois, USA; 1979 introduction.
Flavour, aroma, texture
Firm, with creamy yellowish flesh and strong apple flavour.
Very nice. Medium-sized apples are bright red in colour.
When they’re available
Mid-season (usually in late September).
Quality for fresh eating
Quality for cooking
Mainly used for fresh eating.
Quality for cider
Not particularly known as a cider apple, but its juiciness could be helpful in providing bulk to cider blends.
Good (up to 2 to 3 months when kept refrigerated).