Japan is among the countries that are recognized for many things. They have a staple product in almost everything in the market today. For technology, they have a lot of companies like Sony, Nissan, and much more. For landmarks, they have Mt. Fuji and all the other unique natural attractions to be found there. Food is definitely another thing that the Japanese have left a mark on. Among the many delicious dishes Japan shared with the world, the fruit called Fuji Apple, which is considered by many to be named after their prestigious mountain, usually gets lost in this conversation of significant staples for a country.
The History and Origin of the Fuji Apple Tree
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Fuji apple is that people think that it was born in Japan. Some people think that it has just been there ever since but it was actually a creation of Japanese science once again. It’s like Japan is a blacksmith and the Fuji apple is its masterpiece. Usually, apples are grown in farms or orchards but the Fuji apple was developed by the growers of Tohoku Research Station in the year of 1930. Another misconception is tied to this because a lot of people think that the Fuji apple was named after Mount Fuji but it is actually named after the place where it was created which was in Fujisaki, Aomori.
They made the Fuji apple by cross breeding two American apple types. The first being the apple known as the Red Delicious and the second being the Virginia Ralls Genet or “Rawls Jennet”. Japan also did not release it to the public immediately after its creation. It took decades before they did and this might have been to further study the apple strain they created before distributing it worldwide. They opened it to the market in the year of 1962 and it was an instant hit in Japan. The importing of this fruit, however, did not happen until the year of 1980 but once it reached the United States, it did not take much time before it became one of the bestselling apple varieties in the world.
Its high quality has been maintained well and this is backed up by how the lover, users, and enthusiasts of this particular apple continue to grow throughout the years. It has been more than 70 years since it was born into the world and still, no other apple strain has been created that can rival the sweet taste and freshness the Fuji apple offers, especially in Japan where it remains to be the bestseller. The Aomori Prefecture, which was where the Fuji apple was made, is still currently the best-known apple growing region in Japan with Fuji apple being their made crop. Of the 900,000 tons of apples they plant and grow here annually, 500,000 tons are allocated for growing the Fuji strain alone.
In the recent years, studies have shown that the popularity of the Fuji apple worldwide has grown and is quantified by it making up about 70 percent of China’s apple produce. This claim is also backed up by the fact that it is the 3rd ranking apple on the US Apple Association list, trailing only the Gala and one of its parent strains, the Red Delicious. The fact that it is traditionally grown in states like Washington, Michigan, New York and California also add to the credibility of this claim.
Interesting Facts about Fuji Apples like Cultivation, Calories, Health Benefits, and the Prices You Can Get Them For
Fuji apples are known to fall under the larger variety of apples. On an average, the diameter of a Fuji apple would be playing around 75 mm. It is also known to have a denser flesh or body compared to other apples which make its texture a bit more appealing to eat. Because of this denseness, the Fuji apple is a lot juicier and it also happens to be crispier than the rest. It has an enticing look to it because of its golden red color, which is sometimes described at a pinkish red color, and it also excels in shelf life. This is backed up by the fact that it can remain fresh for weeks and sometimes even up to a year if refrigerated well enough.
Like most apples, the Fuji apples are a good source of vitamin A and C as well as other nutrients like folate and potassium. They also contain both types of fiber which are the soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. On an average, it is also known to have 80 calories. Something that you don’t usually learn about Fuji apples is that it contains 15-18 brix or percent sugar levels. Normally, having too much sugar is thought to be a bad thing but in this case, it’s the other way around.
The level of brix is directly related to the quality of the soil. If the soil is of great quality, which means that it has more nutrients, the more nutrients the fruit gets which also means more nutrients for you. There is something called the “Brix Scale” and on this scale, an apple that has at least 6 brix is considered to be poor. An apple that has at least 10 brix is considered to be average. If it has at least 14 brix, it is seen as good and since Fuji apples hold 15-18 brix, it is considered to be excellent.
There are also a couple of interesting facts about how growers get the Fuji flower seeded so that it would bloom into the Fuji apple. This might be unknown to others but the flowers of fruit bearing trees usually need to be pollinated to develop into the tree’s respective fruit. It is very similar to how humans get pregnant and make a baby. The pollen from male flowers pollinates the female flowers and that triggers the development of the flower into the fruit.
Some trees are able to pollinate by itself which means that you would not need other trees to make it bear fruit. Sadly, this isn’t the case for the Fuji apple tree. To ensure that it pollinates, it must be near other apple trees so that it can cross pollinate. The good news is that there are several other apple trees that are considered the best Fuji tree pollinators and one thing they all have in common is the fact that that they all have the same blooming season as the Fuji tree which is from mid to late spring time.
There are a handful of trees that are seen as great Fuji pollinators but for simplicity, the top 5 apple trees will be mentioned. The first would be the York, which is a hardy in the USDA zones from 4 to 9. This is the only tree that includes zone 9. The rest of the top 5 are all hardy in USDA zones from 4 to 8 and they are the Braeburn, Pristine, Crabapples, and Delicious apple trees. It should also be known that all trees can pollinate the Fuji tree. It just so happened that there are those more suited to do the job. When cross-pollinating the Fuji tree, avoid the apple tree varieties that are known as triploids because these types have the worst chance of pollinating the Fuji tree.
A Pie Baking Recipe that Makes Use of the Fuji Apples’ Sweet Taste to Perfection
There is no wonder why people from all over the world has gone crazy for this apple. If you eat a Fuji apple as is, it will taste delicious. If you use it as an ingredient for cooking or baking, it will definitely enhance that specific dish. A popular dish made with apples are pies topped off with delicious applesauce and because of that, here is an easy yet tasty recipe you can use on your Fuji apples to make a mouthwatering dessert.
The traditional pie is an obvious recipe to use with apples in general and usually, the apples used for these recipes are the Granny Smith apples but since the focus is on the use of Fuji apples for this dish, the recipe should be a bit exotic or unique as well. With this being the thought, here is the recipe for an apple pie with a twist and it is called the “Apple Pie with Smoky Gruyere-Thyme Crust”. Overall, this dish would take around 3 hours to finish. If you know your way around the kitchen, you can probably do it much faster than that. There are two things that you will be making and these are the crust and the filling.
For the crust, you will need 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 5 tablespoons of cold water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 4 ounces of smoked Gruyere cheese, and 1 cup of unsalted butter. Once you have all the ingredients ready, start by portioning the butter into ¼ inch slices and then place them in the refrigerator to keep them chilled. Next thing you do is grate the cheese and put it in the freezer, not just the refrigerator. After the cheese, get your apple cider vinegar and mix it with the cold water. Add a couple of ice cubes and then place the mixture in the freezer as well.
While the previous ingredients chill and freeze, starting mixing the flour with the sugar and salt. Use only 2 cups of flour because the last cup would be used for something else later on. Once that is all mixed up, put the chilled butter in and mix it with the flour, salt, and sugar. After mixing these things, you should end up with a paste-like substance. Mix in the remaining cup of flour along with the freezing cheese and some thyme leaves and continue to mix until you have your dough.
Then comes in the apple cider vinegar with the cold water. Mix that in with the dough and work with the dough. Make sure that it is getting moistened by the liquid well enough to roll balls of dough. Mold each ball into thin disc-like shapes then wrap in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour. After chilling these discs, roll them into diameters that would fit the pie pan you will be using to make the pie.
For the filling, you will need 4 pounds of Fuji apples which are peeled, cored, and in thin slices. You will also need 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, a heavy pinch of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper, Turbinado sugar, and 1 egg that is whisked with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt.
Get a large bowl because this is what you will use to mix these ingredients for the filling. Start off with placing the apple slices in the bowl and then put in the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, lemon zest, sugar, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and allspice. Sprinkle this powder mixture into the bowl with the apple slices and toss to evenly distribute the flavor. Once this is done, your filling is ready to be placed in your pie. Place the filling into the pie and use another dough that is rolled to cover the pie up. Bake at a heat of 425° F for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and you’re ready to go.
Considering all the things that people love about the Fuji apple, it can easily be stated that it truly has become an icon for the Japanese culture. This simple fruit was a product of Japanese science and it has not failed to awe people with its delicious taste and multiple health benefits. It has also proven to be a great addition to dishes of all sorts, elevating the taste of these dishes to a new level. If you haven’t tried a Fuji apple, go to your nearest market and try it at once. You surely won’t regret it.