Take a Look at the Rare Arkansas Black Apple

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Do you consider yourself a bit of a foodie? Do you like to try rare, unusual foods that are hard to track down? Then you might want to give the Arkansas Black apple a shot. But you better plan it out, because they only appear on store shelves in Arkansas for a couple of months each year.

And you need to know a little bit about these apples before you pluck one off of a tree and start eating. When they are picked, Arkansas Black apples are rock-hard and sour and not meant for eating. They can be stored up to six months in the right conditions (in cold storage), at which point they are ready to be devoured. A perfect Arkansas Black apple will have a variety of subtle flavors including vanilla, cinnamon, cherry, and coriander.

The breed is nearly 150 years old and was first discovered in the 1870s in Bentonville, Arkansas. During the height of apple production in the 1920s, 15 to 20% of the state’s crops were Arkansas Black. Unfortunately, moth infestation and the Great Depression spelled the end of commercial production for the Arkansas Black.

People maintained trees in their yards, however, and the Arkansas Black became relegated to home cooking. Today, the species of apple only makes up 3 to 5% of Arkansas’ production.

The color of the species varies from a dark almost-black to dark red. Arkansas Black apples can be found in stores in northwest Arkansas in late November through February, so act quickly if you’re in that part of the country.

How do you like them apples? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…).