Fuji apples are a variety of apple that was first created in Japan. A relative newcomer to the apple world, the Fuji apple has quickly become very popular all around the world. They have a sweet, crisp, white flesh that is often eaten raw, but also holds up well when baked.
A cross between two American apples — the Red Delicious and Ralls Janet — the Fuji apple was created by Japanese researchers. It was released in that country in the early 1960s, but didn't spread to the US until the 1980s. Since that time, it has become one of the most popular apples, and is produced commercially in the US, Japan, China, and other countries.
The origin of the apple's name is disputed. Most accounts claim the apple derives its name from a town called Fujisaki, located in an apple growing area of Japan called the Aomori Prefecture, located in the northern-most region on the main island of Japan. Others suggest that it was named after Mount Fuji, a mountain located southeast of Tokyo, but this is likely inaccurate.
Choosing a Fuji Apple
Fuji apples are available in many locations for most of the year; they ripen late in the season, and tend to reach their peak availability in the northern hemisphere in October and November. They have a long shelf life, so those picked in October may be available through the first half of the following year.
The Fuji is a very round apple, unlike it's Red Delicious parent. It is also typically medium to large, although the largest often tend to be less flavorful. Firm, medium-sized fruit that feels solid is often the best choice. Consumers should look for smooth skin that does not wrinkle when rubbed. A good apple is usually green or yellow-green, with red highlights or a pink flush. It may have a speckled or striped pattern on the skin as well.
Using Fuji Apples
Due to their firmness and sweetness, Fuji apples are popular for eating raw, on their own or in salads. They can have a slight tartness, which many people enjoy to balance out the sweet. When kept in a cool location — such as a refrigerator — these apples can stay fresh for nine months or longer, so if they are purchased fresh in the late fall, they can be enjoyed for a long time. They can also be frozen.
The firm flesh of the Fuji apple holds up very well to baking. It can be a good choice for pies and crisps, although other varieties — such as the Cortland and Rome Beauty — may be better. Fujis don't always have a strong flavor, so they may not provide the best taste to the dish. They can also be used for apple sauce, as their sweetness means that little extra sugar is needed.