Transparent Apples

Transparent apples, also commonly known as yellow or white transparents, are the very beginning of our Pacific Northwest apple season.  

The variety originated in either Latvia or Russia (sources vary on the specific geographical location, but this may be due to Russian occupation of Latvia and other Baltic countries during the 19th century) in the 1800s. The United States Department of Agriculture documentation states this cultivar was imported from St. Petersburg in 1870.

These apples make for great sauce, as they tend to brown minutes after the flesh is exposed.  Over 1,700 pounds of this variety were delivered to Farestart, one of our primary diversion partners, in 2022 for applesauce.  For context, in 2021 Farestart received 3,000 pounds of apples from City Fruit! This yielded 9,600 (4 oz) servings of applesauce, that was shared with elementary schools throughout western Washington.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705
Freshly cut transparent apple
One minute after cutting

Applesauce is one of the simplest ways to use an excess of apples.  And Transparents are in excess!  If you have any interest in making applesauce or any other recipes with apples, please stop by our office at 4000 Aurora Ave N Unit 123 for free apples (on a first come first serve basis).

Peeling a hefty amount of apples might be intimidating, but a spiralizer will make the job much easier at around $20.  

Bon Appétit (BA) has an interesting article from earlier this year about substituting applesauce for oil or butter in baking.  For those of you thinking “too long; didn’t read,” BA warns to proceed with caution in swapping applesauce for fat.  An original recipe containing oil or melted butter (fat in a liquid state), can be reworked to have up to 50% replaced by applesauce.  The author, Shilpa Uskokovic, insists any more than a 50% substitution will not work.

I decided to use some of our abundance to make my own applesauce.  Smitten Kitchen has a good base recipe, using a ratio of four pounds of apples to one cup of water.  I added some cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, molasses, salt and sugar.  The sugar was to compensate for potentially adding too much apple cider vinegar.  Normally, the sugar wouldn’t be necessary, as condensed apples are plenty sweet.  Since the Transparents seem to be on the drier side if not used within hours of picking, having extra water on hand is necessary to prevent the apples from burning before they’re completely softened.

Applesauce makes for ideal baby food!  And good oral surgery recovery food!  I enjoy it warm with a splash of cold cream and some homemade granola for a sweet late summer/early fall breakfast.  I highly recommend having a jar on hand!



Apples of Uncommon Character Rowan Jacobsen