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Jazz Apples

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2010

They might be the first fruit to "go viral," but do jazz apples live up to the hype?

The relatively new Jazz apple—a cross between a Braeburn and a Royal Gala—has been the subject of a massive advertising campaign. Glitzy print ads, billboards, and Facebook and Twitter pages aside, does this latest variety really live up to the hype? To find out, we tasted Jazz apples fresh and cooked in applesauce and apple crisp.

Snacking on fresh-cut slices, tasters thought the Jazz variety fused the sweetness of a Gala and the tartness and crunch of the Braeburn. They praised the fruit’s refreshingly crisp and juicy texture, noting its likeness to pears, both in the “almost-floral” flavor and the “slightly gritty” texture. But its performance in the cooked applications was uneven. Simmered and then pureed with a tiny bit of sugar, salt, and water, Jazz made an applesauce that remained almost “crunchy,” despite being passed through a food mill. In our Skillet Apple Crisp, however, Jazz proved a fine substitute for Golden Delicious; it baked up sturdy but soft, and its acid stood out nicely against the sweet, buttery topping.

Our verdict? As an eating apple, Jazz makes a great alternative to sweet, crisp varietals like Gala and Braeburn. For cooked applications, it depends on the dish: Its hard, crunchy texture softens but stays nicely intact in apple crisp yet won’t break down enough in applesauce.

ALL THAT JAZZ

Sweet-tart, crisp Jazz apples are great for snacking and baked applications like apple crisp, where their firmer flesh won’t turn to mush.

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