Why you should be excited

Zestar! is an excellent early-ripening apple that can handle cold winters. Nice. Despite its gimmicky name.

The story of Zestar!

What to do when one’s ‘thing’ for being entirely accurate comes up against one’s ‘thing’ for avoiding ridiculous gimmicks?

It seems that accurate wins out for us, as we have grudgingly agreed to write the full name Zestar! with that silly exclamation mark attached. As if the name wasn’t gimmicky enough already… 

But let’s focus on the apple and not on the University of Minnesota’s marketing prowess.

Here’s a very nice apple that ripens early, crisp and tasty, growing on a tree that can withstand harsh mid-continent winters. A great late 1990s addition by all accounts.

Except for the ridiculous name with that damn exclamation mark...

Zestar! Facts

Its origins

Bred in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; introduced in 1999.

Flavour, aroma, texture

White, crisp flesh. Nice sweetness balanced by tartness. Its promoters say there's a hint of brown sugar in the flavour.


This fairly large apple's green background skin colour is mostly flushed with a nice, bright red.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in mid-September).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking


Keeping ability

Good (2 months when kept refrigerated).