Jonathan Apple Review

"An Odd Homeschooled Boy"

Horse Food
Jonathan Apple


This mealy disgrace, named after the boy in your third-grade class who always had dirt on his face, has the consistency of old snow wrapped in electrical tape. The only thing more difficult than getting past the off-putting name of “Jonathan” – a fine name for a boy with a lollipop but not for a fruit – is burrowing through the leathery deep-red skin shrouding its mushy innards. A quite handsome apple with exceptional juiciness, Jonathan once held so much promise, but this early 19th century heirloom is destined to be homeschooled as it is too sensitive (to both disease and bruising) to flourish in a normal setting. The best we can hope for from sweet, little Jonathan is a decent juice or cider, but in all likelihood this apple will slowly fade from our sight and memory only to be loved by its own mother.


Branding / Consistency
Cost / Availability




Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon



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 Esopus Spitzenburg


Woodstock, NY or Ohio Wilds


1796 or 1826




Cider, Juice, Baking


Ricks Apple

22 thoughts on “Jonathan Apple Review”

  1. The sweetness, tartness, spiciness, juiciness, and crispness of a Jonathan make it perfect, the best apple I’ve ever eaten, and I have tried every variety of apple I’ve ever found. They aren’t sold in any store in Dallas as of about 3 years ago. I have to mail order them from Pennsylvania and drive 5 hours to the closest orchard. They don’t hold their texture very long, so the reviewer must not have tried a fresh Jonathan. Move over, horses, I’ll take that apple!

  2. I don’t know if it’s a country thing, but that doesn’t look at all like what we call a Jonathan apple, and the profile you’ve given it couldn’t be more wrong. Jonathan apples are some of the crispest I’ve ever tried, and their taste is 2nd to none.

    This is what they look like over here

    Unfortunately they’ve been taken over by disgusting apples like Pink Lady, where 2 bites and you’re done due to its sickly sweet flavour.

    1. Where on earth are you getting Pink Ladies? They’re a tart apple – not as sour as a Granny Smith; there’s a decent balance of sweetness, but definitely more towards the tart side. Much more so than the Jonagold I just had.

  3. Jonathans are great if you can get them locally and nearer to the time they are first picked (early September). But if you’re buying them from the grocery store several states away later in the year, you’re bound to be disappointed.

    It’s kind of a shame that Jonagolds are the only major hybrid that’s widely available.

  4. When I was a boy (turned 13 in 1970) these were a popular standard where I lived in South Australia. They haven’t been available for decades now. Some years ago my wife and hunted up a seedling and planted it. Now each year it produces a decent crop which 4 seconds after it ripens sees 99% eaten by lorikeets. The remaining 1% is everything Brian Frange say it is. Very disappointing taste-wise, as they say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. But entertaining trying to beat the lorikeets.

  5. What you have written is true of Jonathan apples that have been refrigerated. It utterly ruins their texture and taste. But unrefrigerated, they are incredibly crisp, and as sweet and tart as a jolly rancher. They are my favorite apple, but if I see them refrigerated, I spit on the ground and never visit that store again.

  6. I’ve been trying to find more varieties to try (for good or bad) and managed to track down Jonagold yesterday, and this didn’t hold true at all. Maybe they’ve been improving it because it seemed more like the newer hybrids than most heirlooms. Not a top 10, but probably in the 60-70 range – good enough that I finished eating it instead of consigning it to goat food (that’s why I don’t mind trying anything – if I don’t eat it they’re happy to!) The skin and flesh were very much not in line with your review. I’ve paid closer attention to them since I’ve been reading these. The skin was totally acceptable; better than what I have to deal with on some of my preferred varieties. I could have gone for more snap and I suspect if they’re in storage for much longer they would indeed degrade to mealy mush, but at this stage the texture was still crisp enough to be decent. The flavor had good balance between tart and sweet, though without much complexity. I’d probably give it 3/2/1.

    Additionally, giving credence to the improvement theory, they didn’t look like the apples in this picture or video. Part was a fairly deep red but there was a significant amount of blotchy green mottling. Maybe there was an accidental cross pollination and someone just ran with it.

    1. Oops, I left this on the review for Jonathan. No wonder there’s such a discrepancy, lol. Apparently I found and reviewed Jonagold last year too and results are consistent both times. Still better than what you gave it.

  7. This is my favorite apple for eating, baking & making apple sauce. But if you get a fully red Jonathan it going to be mealy & not crisp & overly sweet. I get them 35-45% still green. Pick them from the north side of the tree to avoid the all red ones. Then they are sweet & tart & super crisp. They stay crisp for 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

  8. Totally disagree with this review and assume the author had a cruddy grocery store Jonathan. Fresh picked Jonathan apples have greater depth and intensity of flavor than pretty much any other variety in the orchard, and are wonderfully tart. Their only weak point is they aren’t as crispy as newer popular varieties, and that softness becomes more pronounced with storage. But the nice crunchy Fujis taste downright watery by comparison, at least in terms of flavor. When we go apple picking I always beeline for the rows of Jonathans and fill a whole bag.

  9. This critic seems far too impressed with his own opinion to be trusted with this task. He seems to get a great deal of pleasure out of being harsh and dreaming up metaphors that have nothing to do with the job at hand. What does an apple have to do with being home schooled. And his bias about home schooling is coming out at the same time.

  10. I think that Jonathan’s delicate nature may be a blessing in disguise. Growers must have just given up on storing them altogether so they tend to be very seasonal – and therefore fresh! I will take a tart, juicy Jonathan picked two weeks ago over a dried out honeycrisp that’s been sitting in a storehouse for over a year any day.

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