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It took scientists 20 years to develop the Cosmic Crisp, a cross between the Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples. Getty Images
  • A new crossbreed apple called the Cosmic Crisp is headed to store shelves.
  • Experts say the apple can stay fresh for up to a year in your refrigerator.
  • Nutritionists say the apple has a sweet and crisp taste.
  • They say apples are a healthy snack, containing vitamin C and antioxidants.

A new breed of apple that stays fresh in your refrigerator for a year has arrived.

The bigger question for consumers, however, might be whether the apples are tasty and healthy.

The Cosmic Crisp is a crossbreed between the flavorful Honeycrisp and the longer-lasting Enterprise apple varieties. It was developed by a team of cultivators at Washington State University in 1997.

More than two decades later, the mature apple trees exclusive to Washington are now slated to make waves in the world market.

The apples, in fact, are a point of pride in the Pacific Northwest state.

“About 20 percent of the world’s apples are out of China, so we’re trying to bring back that expertise,” Roger A. Clemens, PhD, adjunct professor at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and member of the American Society for Nutrition, told Healthline.

“The Cosmic Crisp will provide a huge economic boom, not only for the state of Washington but for the United States,” he said. “It helps reduce post-harvest food loss.”

It may also reduce consumer food waste because it lasts longer.

The Cosmic Crisp, according to its developers and consumer experts, is sweet, crisp, and versatile.

The first characteristic that stood out to me is the high sugar content,” said Meg Raines, chef at The Evolving Plate, in an online review.

She said the new breed is suited to eating raw as well as roasting, sauteing, and baking.

“The juiciness brings moisture to a baked good and adds liquid to pies, which gets turned into sweet syrup during baking,” said Raines. This brought a lot of natural sweetness to baked goods, allowing for a reduction of the sugar in the recipe.”

Along with naturally high sugar content, the apple’s texture was developed to meet consumer demands.

“The flesh of the apple is not too dense and dry, but not too watery and mushy either, so it strikes a perfect balance for baking particularly,” stated Raines.

Cosmic Crisps are also slower to brown than your average apple. Clemens explained the science behind this.

“The change in the acidity of the apple will also change its texture and it actually reduces the rate of degradation so you can put it in the fridge for a longer time.”

Up to 12 months to be exact.

It is also slower to brown when cut.

However, this is not to confuse it with the genetically modified Arctic apple.

“This is not a [genetically modified] product like the Arctic apple or the [genetically modified] potato,” he said. “Those are wonderful products and technology, but here we have classic hybridization, which has been the practice in agriculture since the beginning of time.”

We have all heard the advice about “eating an apple a day.”

There are reasons this popular fruit holds such high ranking in healthy lifestyles.

Apples provide consumers with an affordable and accessible way to get a spectrum of essential nutrients from vitamin C to potassium to catechin, an antioxidant that can help improve brain and muscle function.

“All apples contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients which help our bodies,” Caroline West Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN, a dietitian in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told Healthline. “They also contain dietary fiber, which most Americans are falling short on the fiber recommendation.”

Regular consumption of this popular fruit can help control blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk for heart disease and certain cancers.

“There are absolutely no concerns in consuming the [Cosmic Crisp] apple—nor any apple, including the Arctic,” Tracy Grondine, director of communications at USApple, told Healthline.

The Cosmic Crisp sounds supernatural, but it was developed through traditional means.

This is why it took over 20 years to prepare for the public.

“Consumers don’t like technology, so it’s back to basics,” Clemens said.

By “basics,” he means hybridization through crossbreeding.

“The Cosmic Crisp apple is a hybrid of two apples,” explained Passerrello. “That means this variety, in theory, could have come about from cross-pollination of the seeds in the orchards.”

While the new breed was born from human intervention, genetic modification through splicing did not take place.

“The difference between the Arctic and other traditionally grown apples is that the browning gene inherent to apples has been switched off in the Arctic,” Grondine said.

“Traditional slow-to-brown apples naturally produce enzymes that, when exposed to oxygen after cutting, turn the fruit brown,” said Passerrello.

“You’ll still get a little bit of browning when you cut into it, but that’s when you cut into it,” Clemens explained. “Whereas the Arctic Apple, you can cut into it and it won’t brown.”