All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Ambrosia apple

Ambrosia is an attractive medium-sized apple, with a pink-tinged orange/red flush over a yellow background.  As such it is very much in tune with the modern preference for "bi-coloured" apples.

The flavor is pleasant and sweet, but one-dimensional in that there is no acidity to balance the sweetness - which is not necessarily a bad thing of course.  The texture is essentially crisp, but not as crisp or hard as a Braeburn or Jazz - it is more the slightly softer crunch you might find in a Golden Delicious.  Ambrosia benefits from being kept chilled and eaten from the fridge, because the crispness fades fairly quickly once it is left in the fruit bowl, and at this point it can become slightly pear-like.  If you wanted to pigeon-hole Ambrosia, it is best thought of as a red/orange colored Golden Delicious with a flavor which is not quite as sweet.  Certainly anyone who likes Golden Delicious but wants something a little bit different will like Ambrosia.

Ambrosia originates from western Canada and as with most modern varieties, production and quality are closely-controlled by the brand owners- PICO (Okanagan Plant Improvement Company) in western Canada.  New plantings are also being established in Washington State in the USA, and in the Piedmont region of Italy.  Although Canada is usually considered as a cold-climate growing region, the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys of southern British Columbia are semi-arid and apples are grown alongside grape vines and other warm-climate crops.

Ambrosia is unlikely to be available to private individuals, but when grown in commercial orchards, the best rootstock appears to be M26 rather than the more usual M9.

Unlike most other modern varieties, Ambrosia is not the result of a lengthy scientific breeding programme, but instead originated the old-fashioned natural way as a chance seedling in an orchard.  Ambrosia was discovered by Wilfrid and Sally Mennell growing in their orchard of Jonagold trees in the Similkameen Valley in British Columbia, western Canada. The parentage is therefore unknown, but it seems likely that it is a cross between Jonagold, and Golden Delicious which had been growing in the same area previously.  In terms of both flavor and appearance Ambrosia is almost exactly what you might expect such a cross to be like, with the flavor very much from the Golden Delicious side of the mix (bearing in mind that Golden Delicious is also one of the parents of Jonagold), but the visual appearance quite influenced by the Jonathan.

We are grateful to Elam's Organics for information about the origins of Ambrosia.  For more details see: http://organicambrosiaapples.com/origins.html

 

 

USDA identification images for Ambrosia

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.


    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety


    Visitor reviews

    • 05 Jan 2023 
      No flavor; bland tasting
    • 16 Sep 2022 
      Juicy, crispy, supersweet and thin skinned... The perfect dessert!!!
    • 21 Apr 2022 
      I like this apple a lot. It's sweet, without being too sweet. Nice and crisp.
    • 23 Oct 2020  ONTARIO, Canada
      So disappointed with my current purchase of this variety of apples. When initially purchased I was greatly impressed and continued selecting this as my go to apple of choice. However, as late I find the flavour lacking in the sweetness I became accostumed to. Not sure if the current producers are following the same method of production - but it is no longer my go-to apple of choice.
    • 15 Apr 2020  SOUTH DAKOTA, United States
      What an awsome apple mildly sweet, crispy, and the flavor just wow. I have yet to cook with it but am looking forward to trying a few favorite recipes with the ambrosia
    • 18 Feb 2020  ONTARIO, Canada
      Frist Time Buying and Eating the Ambrosia Apples is the Best 100% Delicious and Crunchy. I would recommend other people to buy this Apple Ambrosia.
    • 05 Oct 2019  OREGON, United States
      I have purchased this variety from more than 3 stores and always find it juicy, aromatic, somewhat sweet, crisp, and wonderful. It is juicy and my husband likes it, too. I do not refrigerate my apples.
    • 28 Sep 2019  NORTH CAROLINA, United States
      Me and my kids love apples. I’m always trying different apples. now I just had an ambrosia apple It has a very nice crunch, very sweet and juicy apple I had. I recommend this Apple try it.
    • 25 Feb 2019  OH, United States
      My wife and I had our first Ambrosia apples several weeks ago and have been buying them ever since. They are incredible. We both feel they are superior to Honey Crisps. Highly recommend to keep them refrigerated.
    • 13 Feb 2019  VA, United States
      My go to apple when it is in season! Check them carefully for bruises and make sure they are fresh, not mealy. Ambrosia will be crisp, sweet, fruity and leave you wanting for more.
    • 30 Jan 2019  AZ, United States
      I just had my first Ambrosia apple today from Sprouts in Green Valley, Arizona. It was on sale for .99 cents a pound, and they looked beautiful so I figured I get some, and omg. It has got to be one of the best apples I have ever had. I did have it chilled from the fridge. It was so crisp, juicy, sweet, just delicious. I am on an extremely strict diet where I can basically only have two fruits a day and this was certainly a delight. I am very pleased with this variety of apple.
    • 27 Feb 2018  TN, United States
      This is the first apple (could be an imitation) that I flat do not like! Nothing sweet about it, just bitter. I don't mean sour, but BITTER. I love the crisp crunch, though!
    • 21 Feb 2018  PA, United States
      Eating one now. I like the lighter crunch and sweetness, easier to eat in hand than some harder apples. Terrific right out of the fridge, but if you like a good panini, leave these in a bowl for a day or two, then slice thin and grill on a hearty bread with a good Raclette or Gruyere and sliced ham. Definitely a good pear substitute for any recipe.
    • 02 Jan 2018  WELLINGTON, New Zealand
      When you can find the authentic Ambrosia, it is truly worthy of its name ambrosia. Unfortunately, in recent years we have bought apples passed off as Ambrosia but are nothing like it. I don't know if it is the stores or the growers here. Ambrosia looks very similar to a few others varieties available in NZ. The real, or best, Ambrosia is short and round, compared to NZ's Royal Gala and other varieties. The pink-red stripes are more distinct and evenly distributed primarily around the belt and bottom of the apple, with the crown of the apple displaying a lot more yellow colour not covered by the stripes. The bottom of the fruit often has a visible hollow inside what is the remains of the opening of the flower. This hollow can sometimes be deep. The yellow colour of the skin is brighter than the other varieties, too, instead of having a green tint. Its flesh is honey-coloured or pale gold, not antique white. Its consistency is crisp but tender, not a strong crunchy like in a Braeburn.
    • 05 Dec 2017  ON, Canada
      I have purchased Ambrosia apples for several years in a row, hoping I would discover the taste and texture that everyone says is so amazing; I have been disappointed every year. I find the apples hard, very crunchy (this seems to be the style of modern apples) and juicy. It is a beautiful looking apple, the flavour is sweet, similar to Red Delicious, but I find it has no counterbalance of sour, so for me, it's average. The flesh is much too crisp for my liking. It sits in the frig a long time, no-one else in the house seems to enjoy them either.
    • 19 Mar 2017  NEW JERSEY, United States
      Very crisp...texture is excellent....Best for eating out of hand...when eaten very fresh hands down my favorie.....nice and sweet...
    • 03 Dec 2016  CALIFORNIA, United States
      Saw these in the store about 5 yrs ago when they were on sale for $1.49 lb. Their firmness and aroma intrigued me so I bought a couple to taste. In my very first bite I knew this variety of apple was very different than any other apple I had ever tasted. Firm, crisp, sweet and juicy with a floral smell. And it actually reminded me of an ambrosia salad with its fruity flavors and sweetness. It is my favorite apple of all time and is great eaten raw, diced in salads or oatmeal or baked. I love love love this apple and can't get enough of them when they are in season. I am lucky that our Stater Bros grocery store carries them about 8 months out of the year. So when they go on sale I stock up, they keep up to 2 months in the crisper drawer in the fridge. The only drawback is that no one is offering the trees for sale. The demand is so high that they are only selling tree stock to orchards growing for resale. If you think all apples are boring, bland, dry, mealy and tasteless you have got to find and try Ambrosia apples you will be pleasantly surprised!
    • 20 Nov 2016  B.C., Canada
      This is one of my top 10 apple picks. Only Gala or Cox's Orange can beat or come near to it. I personally like to by them at the market and the leave them in the fruit bowl for several days. What a treat!
    • 22 Jan 2016  CALIFORNIA, United States
      Bought these by accident ($2.70 / lb kinda ritzy) but was blown away. I cook Red Delicious with ham and cheese. and eat Fuji fresh all the time, but these were really different. Crisp AND watery with subtle aromatic flavors and smells. Moderate sweetness, and zero tartness. Reminded me of eating a flowery (but crisp) watermelon. If you hate Granny Smith and other 'tarts' you will probably love these. Glad I bought them (once) but I'll stick with my 99 cent Fuji's.
    • 06 Nov 2015  UTAH, United States
      Nice looking apple. Crisp, but not too firm. Juicy and exceptionally sweet with a pleasant flavor. The sweetness was almost overwhelming though as it had no tartness or acidity to counterbalance it, which I prefer in my apples. Very nice dessert apple nonetheless.
    • 26 Apr 2015  WA, United States
      Sweet and crunchy. Good flavor but no bite. Great for those who prefer sweet over sour.
    • 24 Feb 2015  OK, United States
      Best apple I've ever ate! Can't imagine what happened with the 2 that said "tasteless", maybe got some that weren't ripe? Or maybe lacking the ambrosia taste bud! Lol, try them again.
    • 03 Feb 2015  NORTHUMBERLAND, United Kingdom
      Crisp, juicy and absolutely tasteless! If that's how you like your apples you'll love this, if not you won't.
    • 28 Oct 2014  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
      Yes! These apples are fabulous, crisp, sweet, pretty. Unfortunately, the ones at my local bodega often have stem holes from other apples, but you can't fault the apples for that. Double yes to Beverly - red delicious are mealy and yuck. I don't think ambrosia has RD parentage.
    • 06 Jun 2014  AB, Canada
      The ones from BC are amazing, you have to refrigerate them and eat them cold. It's the perfect apple.
    • 04 Apr 2014  IDAHO, United States
      I did a blind taste test of 12 apples available at our grocery store. The moment I felt the texture of Ambrosia I was hooked. I waited for the tartness and there was none. I was so relieved. Then the sweetness came and no icky aftertaste. My definite pick for #1.
    • 11 Mar 2014  CA, United States
      I got two of these from the supermarket and was not impressed. A fairly crispy, but rather tasteless apple.
    • 18 Nov 2013  CA, United States
      Sweet, crispy, snappy, crunchy flavorful! What more could one ask of an Apple
    • 01 Nov 2013  ILINOIS, United States
      Love the Ambrosia best of all the apples! Love the coloring and crispness and taste. (ssshhhh let them keep the honeycrisp, lets not spoil the secret!!)
    • 02 May 2013  HUGHES, United States
      More like Kiku than Golden Delicious to me. I liked it a lot.
    • 09 Apr 2013  WISCONSIN, United States
      Always been an apple eater but after having an ambrosia apple I was hooked! Now, nothing compares & find other varieties a disappointment when I can't find ambrosias. Our kwik trips are the only stores I've been able to find these at so I'm sure I haven't even gotten to enjoy a top quality one yet! Hands down the best apples I've ever eaten!
    • 26 Jan 2013  WASHINGTON, United States
      Great texture; sweet, juicy, pretty. Decent apple for eating.
    • 29 Dec 2012  KANSAS, United States
      I've never done a review for a fruit, but I had one of these apples today and it was exceptionally delicious! I was at the store and saw all the different kinds of apples and thought i would try the one that cost more and looked appealing so I gave these a try and I am so glad I did. I recommend them 100%
    • 10 Nov 2012  CALIFORNIA, United States
      Like, oh my goodness. This apple is, like, the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. My brother works in savromento and I can't wait to tell him about these apples. How you like dem apples? A lot!
    • 03 Nov 2012  WY, United States
      My daughter had brought home an ambrosia apple and she said ' here mom' i ate it and it was absoult the best apple i've ever had
    • 15 Oct 2012  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
      I don't like golden delicious much at all, and I find red delicious mealy and awful, but I ADORE ambrosia. We used to buy "apples" but now we buy "ambrosia" and "pink lady" apples. Yum! I would love to learn how to get my own to plant.
    • 10 Jun 2012  MI/MECOSTA, United States
      Yes, this apple is awesome, the taste is exceptional, the crispy snap when you bite into one is perfect, I am not a huge apple lover by any means but this apple is the bomb, and yes this is my first review on any kind of fruit, You just cant beat it, and as far as size ours in Michigan are huge !!! don't ask me why. AAA+ rating.
    • 24 Mar 2012  CA, United States
      I use to be a Golden Delicious fan, and then Gala, but now I don't bother to buy apples if the store doesn't have them. They just came in to the store in April, can't get enough!
    • 08 Feb 2012  GEORGIA, United States
      Very good apple. Not too tart, but not too sweet. Crisp with a nice crunch.
    • 09 Nov 2011  CAMPBELL RIVER, Canada
      Happened across these two or three years ago and suffer greatly when they are not available. Have tried ALL the other varieties, but none come close to the Ambrosias. Very well named, truly a fruit of the gods!!!
    • 29 Oct 2011  B C, Canada
      The best apple i have ever i grow different kinds but my ones cant compare with Ambrosia
    • 28 Jan 2011  KANSAS, SHAWNEE, United States
      The Ambrosia apple is the best apple I have ever tasted. I too want my own tree!
    • 28 Jan 2011  KANSAS, SHAWNEE, United States
      I have never been a person to just sit and eat an apple other than in something or cooked. Last year I happened across organic Ambrosia apples and loved them. This year I again looked for them and just recently found them in the store. They are hard to find and so good. I would love to plant a couple in my yard but I'm having a hard time finding where I could get a tree. Any suggestions?
    • 06 Oct 2010  WASHINGTON, United States
      Just picked some last week. Flavor is sweet and very crisp. However, the apples are quite small. Prefer Honeycrisp and Fuji for fresh eating. Auvil Early Fuji is excellent. For baking Jonaprince is the best.
    • 16 Sep 2010  INVERCARGILL, New Zealand
      We agree this is definately one of the nicest tasting apples available at the moment. Would like to grow some ourselves .
    • 09 Apr 2010  norfolk county, Canada
      yess ambrosia is one of the best !
    • 12 Nov 2009  LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON, United States
      This is the best apple I've ever tasted. It's the sweetness, without any tart, that I prefer. For the last two years (2007/2008) I've been able to get the organic Canadian variety which far surpasses the taste of the organic American variety I've had this year (2009). I'm desperate to have a tree of my own.
    • 14 Feb 2009  CAWSTON BC, Canada
      Ambrosia: I think there were also Red Delicious apples grown in the orchard where the chance seedling Ambrosia was found and judging by the distinctive "Red Delicious Bumps" on the bottom of Ambrosia apples and the long "Red Delicious Typiness" of Ambrosia I assume Ambrosia has Red Delicious as part of its parentage.

    Tree register

    United States

    Portugal

    Canada

    India

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2015 season

    • 15th April  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.


    Harvest records for this variety

    2015 season

    • 3rd week September  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Probably Golden Delicious and Jonagold or Starking Delicious
    • Introduced: 1987
    • Developed by: Discovered by Wilfred Mennell of Keremeos, BC

    Using

    • Flavor style (apples): Sweeter
    • Food uses: Eating fresh

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Ploidy: Diploid

    Climate

    • Cold-hardiness: Cold-hardy Sensitive to frost.

    Identification

    • Country of origin: Canada
    • Fruit colour: Red

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Ambrosia:

    United States


    Canada


    India




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