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

Jonagold apple

Jonagold is high quality American apple, developed in the 1940s. As its name suggests, this is a cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious. It is quite widely grown, and unusually for a Golden Delicious cross, is not limited to the warm apple regions, although it is not often found in the UK.

Jonagold is a large apple, and makes a substantial snack. If you are struggling to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, this can help!  The large size is a good clue that this is a triploid apple variety, with 3 sets of genes.  As a result it is a poor pollinator of other apple varieties, and needs two different nearby compatible pollinating apple varieties.  Golden Delicious is well-known as a good pollinator of other apple varieties, but cannot pollinate Jonagold.

The colouring is yellow of Golden Delicious, with large flushes of red. This is a crisp apple to bite into, with gleaming white flesh. The flavour is sweet but with a lot of balancing acidity - a very pleasant apple.

Jonagold's other parent, Jonathan, is an old American variety which was discovered in the 1820s.

In the UK Jonagold sometimes appears in supermarkets in the spring packaged as "value" apples, often from Holland, and at a very low price.  We are trying to find out more about these apples, but it seems that they are mainly "second" quality apples which are nearing the end of their storage life and are surplus to other uses.

Jonagold is widely-grown by commercial growers, and there are a number of more highly-coloured sports.  Jonagored is probably the most widely known of these.  Others include: Decosta, Primo, Rubinstar, Red Jonaprince.

Jonagold identification images

USDA identification images for Jonagold

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


    Offspring of this variety


    Sports of this variety

    Sports are natural genetic mutations of the original variety.


    Visitor reviews

    • 30 Jan 2021  WA, United States
      I find what others say here to be true to my experience with Jonagold. excellent flavour. About 60% scab resistance in a wet scab prone area. A great all around apple. It can keep well if kept cold enough and ventilated. I might add that home growers might have more problems with corkspot and bitterpit than with other types if their soil is low in calcium.
    • 04 Nov 2020  STOCKHOLM, Sweden
      I tasted this variant and it’s not the best but not the worst. To my surprise, it was very, VERY squishy and soft. I continued to eat and it got softer and sweeter. I took a peek at the flesh and there were big brown parts. I don’t know if I just got a bad one or if this is how they’re supposed to be. 4/10 will probably eat again.
    • 24 Oct 2020  OHIO, United States
      Best apples I have had. Can’t find them in Dayton. I got these at the food bank I love them
    • 07 Oct 2019  LOLLAND, Denmark
      Smashing for juice, which given their size and the fact that supermarkets in the UK dont like to buy big apples, is what they usually end up getting picked for. A shame.
    • 09 Oct 2018  CORNWALL, United Kingdom
      Best flavoured apple I have grown so far. Yes it has scab here in Cornwall, but who cares, it tastes amazing. though prone to canker, only had one case on one branch in the last 9 years, so not that bad I thought. If i'd ever move, I would plant it again.
    • 07 Nov 2015  CALIFORNIA ,, United States
      I just Reid these for the first time today got them at the local girders store Super King for 89 cents a pound. They were amazing crisp ,juicy, and full of flavor! The best apple I have ever tasted in all my years! The people who complained these apples were soggy and tasteless are nuts ! They must haves not had a Janigold because these are amazing!
    • 05 Sep 2015  NC, United States
      I normally buy Gala apples at the grocery store and love them. Today I went to our local Farmer's Market to see if the apples were in yet. There were no Gala apples so I asked the vendor to recommend one of his eating apples that were sweet and soft and not so crisp. He pointed me toward the Jonagold. I had never even heard of these apples. I have to admit, these apples are very good! Everything he said they were. I will definitely be buying more of these delicious apples!!!!
    • 21 Aug 2015  OR, United States
      This is my favorite eating apple when it is fresh and my biggest disappointment when it has been offered after long storage in the grocery. I imagine that most of the negative comments are due to the cheap mistreated version of this great apple.
    • 25 Jul 2015  NORTH CAROLINA, United States
      I first discovered this apple while on a tour/field trip in my Fruit crops course at Co. State Univ. The orchard was at a fairly high elevation near Cedaredge/Paonia area. Picked right off the tree in September, and it was the best apple I had ever tasted, crisp, juicy, sweet (not too sweet), with a little tartness. I asked the grower why they were not more of them in the stores, and his answer was that they are not good keepers, and best if eaten within a month after picking. So I bought my own tree and have had heavy crops of large delicious apples for the last 15 years. We do not spray, so we get a little spotting and such minor imperfections on the outside, but just bite into one and you have a little bit of heaven. Western states which have hot dry days and cool nights, do develop a little more flavor, but for Western NC, it is an awfully good apple.
    • 18 May 2015  ONTARIO, Canada
      Jonagold, where have you been all my life? I recently bought a bunch of these apples at the supermarket as they were on sale and the cheapest. I took a chance and am hooked! Beautiful, large, and ever so tasty & crispy. My other favourite apples are Mutsu and Empires and this is comparable.
    • 15 Nov 2014  United States
      My favorite, favorite apple. crisp, juicy, firm, with some sweetness but not as much as honeycrips. Comparable to empires or mutsus in texture but sweeter. Cameo is very similar.
    • 21 Oct 2014  NY, United States
      It sounds from the comments like this is not worth it from a supermarket. But, if you can find a farm with them, I think they are fantastic. I picked some this weekend, and they are honey sweet, with a little bit of a bite. They are huge!! I can barely finish one. I highly recommend this apple if you like Honeycrisps, but wish they were sweeter. Mine were crisp, more sweet than tart, and just plain tasty. I wish they kept longer so I could have picked more!
    • 21 Jun 2014  IA, United States
      I agree with nearly every comment here. I have bought the best and not so best tasting apple every at the SAME STORE. Different batches...all depends on when their picked so I'm buying my OWN tree. The triple chromosome pollination factor worries me a bit but I figure it's worth a try.
    • 01 Apr 2014  IA, United States
      I've only tried the ones at the grocery store which were grown in Michagan. They were crisp and juicy, and a little on the tart side. I prefer those traits in an apple, but these really lacked in flavor, so I probably won't buy them again.
    • 20 Mar 2014  MARYLAND, United States
      Jonagold is one of those apples that can taste either extraordinary or no-so-special. It depends on where you get them. I've yet to taste a supermarket Jonagold that warranted the price. Sorry but they had little flavor. Now the ones I've bought from family owned orchards up in the Mount Airy/Frederick area were phenomenal: crisp, juicy, dense, and good strong apple flavor complemented by a subtle pear-drop sweetness inherited from Golden Delicious. The overall tasting experience is a mouthful of fruity goodness. Now is it as good as Jonathan? Hard question because it will depend on what you are looking for in an apple. Jonathan's have an intense apply flavor combined with a rich spiciness that is lacking in Jonagold. B-U-T Jonagold has more complex fruity flavors. Personally I prefer Jonathan, but I usually buy both when given a chance. Both do well as cooking applies but I prefer Jonathan for pies. For the home gardener Jonathan is also better because the size of the tree is more manageable and it is partially self-fertile. Jonagold will require a pollinator.
    • 11 Mar 2014  CA, United States
      Blech! I got two of these from Lucky supermarket. They were terrible. Soggy and tasteless. And yes, they were really waxy. They weren't cheap either.
    • 08 Dec 2013  CO, United States
      Cottony and unremarkable. One bite and I'm done. They're on sale everywhere, ALL THE TIME - the mark of a variety ruined by volume apple growers who need red, easy to ship apples.
    • 18 Nov 2013  BEIJING, United Kingdom
      Recently I found that Jonagold (or ??? in Chinese) are grown here in the northeast of China. No cheaper though than other common varieties such as Fuji or Gala. They are fairly large, yellow with red stipes, quite attactive fruit. Flavour is bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. The skin has a nice stong apple smell, but an unpleasant waxy coating. Is the waxiness common?
    • 21 Oct 2013  OHIO, United States
      Purchased these at Richard Bros near Jackson Ohio. Extremely large and juicy this year. We usually prefer golden delicious, but as we were late visiting, this was a super replacement. They are thin skinned and quite juicy, and we agree with the tasting notes. Our were 50/50 blend of yellow and red.
    • 18 Oct 2013  NJ, United States
      Got couple from an Asian grocery store who gets them from NY orchard. Very crisp and nicely flavored. I liked the balance of sweetness and tartness as I usually had it as dessert after meals. I am not sure if its due to their large size, but I felt that the apple was juicier and overall just better when served in slices rather than eaten whole. I hope to go back and get couple more if they're still there.
    • 23 Sep 2013  NY, United States
      My new addiction!! I just discovered these apples while apple picking, and OMG - the best ever! A wonderful infusion of sweet and tart. Perfectly crunchy! They filled the majority of my sack! I brought a few to work, now all my co-workers want IN!!
    • 03 Jul 2013  DEVON, United Kingdom
      Grown & eaten fresh off the tree this apple is super.Supermarket apples are nowhere near as nice,hence these mixed reviews.Being a triploid the large size puts off many potential buyers.Need regular spraying programme in wet climate here in SouthWest,otherwise blackspot infected
    • 28 Jan 2013  WISCONSIN, United States
      When this apple is good, it's one of my favorites, as good as any apple I've tasted anywhere, but sometimes it's mediocre, mostly thanks to when they're picked and how they're stored and displayed by the wholesalers and grocers, I'm guessing. They also seem to come in different strains. One is larger with a more golden and a little rougher peel, not quite russeted, which goes mealy a little quicker than the other strain which has a smoother peel and is slightly smaller, crisper,redder, and has a better balanced flavor. In Frank Browning's book "Apples" written in 1999, Jonagold was the most planted apple variety in Europe at the time it was written, which probably explains the low prices some of you have seen over there.
    • 22 Jan 2013  NEVADA, United States
      I was very proud to hear this delicious apple that so many people love was created at Cornell University.
    • 09 Jan 2013  NY, United States
      Bo - tastes like a direct cross between a Red Delicious and a Golden Delicious. I think it misses the mark as it lacks the honey flavor of a golden delicious delicious and the crispness of a red delicious. Brent- A big apple with a somewhat crisp finish. Not as sweet as some dessert apples.
    • 05 Jan 2013  ONTARIO, Canada
      Actually the most delicious apple when picked fresh from the tree (Ontario, Canada). I am surprised by the lack of flavour reported by some reviewers, my guess is either the apples weren't fresh or the soil/climate is it ideal for flavour outside NE North America.
    • 21 Nov 2012  WV, United States
      Totally love this apple! One of the bigger dessert apples.
    • 15 Jun 2012  TEXAS, United States
      The Jonagold is my current addiction. When they are in season, there is nothing I'd rather eat. They are sweet, have a hint of tart, are crispy and firm. I am in search of an opposite season apple because during the 6 months I cannot find Jonagold, my apple consumption drops off precipitously.
    • 08 Mar 2012  DERBYSHIRE, United Kingdom
      Well I agree its not the best tasting apple, but its fantastic value for money especially considering the large quality fruits. At my supermarket they are 5 times cheaper than Jazz or Fuji (my favourites). They are juicy and I like the texture - but poor flavour.
    • 15 Feb 2012  GEORGIA, United States
      I must be honest, I didn't like this apple. The taste was wonderful, but the texture of the flesh threw me. I like my apples very VERY crisp, and it just didn't live up to my standards. A very good apple taste-wise though.
    • 18 Oct 2011  IDAHO, United States
      I recently found Jonagolds at a regional grocery store and bought them because they were big, and they had a special. Little did I know that I was about to bite into the best apple I've ever had. Great to eat with peanut butter (chunky!) and great plain too. I love the taste where it's not too tart but not too sweet. The only problem is, most stores don't carry them!
    • 03 Jul 2011  SURREY, United Kingdom
      The absolute worst apple variety available on the mass market. They always look beautiful, but taste of nothing. I'd rather go without apples than eat Jonagolds.
    • 13 Jan 2011  NW VA, United States
      Our local Costco sells them from PA. Apples from the US northeast are the best d/t the climate and limestone soil imparting excellent flavor. Jonagolds are a perfect combo of tart/sweet and firm but juicy. There only weakness is they soften a little faster if not refigerated. I've a tree growing them -but I think someone took the first dozen or so. Not surprised.
    • 12 Nov 2010  TX, United States
      Our botany class has an apple tasting each semester. For fall 2010, this was the clear winner--crisp, juicy, sweet and tart. Seldom disappoints!
    • 06 Oct 2010  WASHINGTON, United States
      An excellent apple. I grow several strains. For baking by far the best is Jonaprince. It's flavor is tops!
    • 26 Apr 2010  ONTARIO, Canada
      I am planning of planting a new apple tree to replace one that I have lost. I have heard a lot of good things about the Jonagold Apple. I am looking for an apple that is good eating as well as a good cooking apple. Am I on the right track? I would be interested in your comments.
    • 16 Apr 2010  BEDS, United Kingdom
      Regarding the cheapness in supermarkets, I offer two possible explanations: 1. They are often irregular in shape and size. This devalues them in the eyes of the big retailers. 2. I've noticed that the supermarkets where I shop only put out one small box at a time. This makes me wonder if retailers are using it as a loss leader to reduce their average per/kilo price of apples.
    • 15 Nov 2009  IRELAND, Ireland
      Very commanly found grown in Ireland, often organically. Therefore it must be a fairly hardy apple. Some Irish-centric info can be found here.... http://www.theapplefarm.com/celtic/jonagored.htm
    • 30 Oct 2009  SUTTON SURREY, United Kingdom
      At a farmers' market they selling a multitude of different apples and as I eat an apple every day I was drawn to the one I'd never heard of. I bought a bag of Jonagold. A taste bomb, it is crisp, juicy a big. The best ever.
    • 23 Sep 2009  ENGLAND, United Kingdom
      By far the best tasting apple I have ever tried, very similar to the apples I used to eat off my nans tree about 45 years ago I never knew what sort they were and have never found any as nice since until now these taste exactly the same, gorgeous.
    • 01 Sep 2009  SALE, MANCHESTER, United Kingdom
      This is an important improvement to apple growing quality
    • 08 Jul 2009  WINSFORD, CHESHIRE, United Kingdom
      What does Rob Barlow use to pollenate his Jonagold?
    • 17 Jun 2009  DAVENHAM CHESHIRE ENGLAND, United Kingdom
      I note the comment " Not grown in UK -- often 2 I have been growing these apples for quite a few years now -- quite succesfully A realy good apple but did not know it was a USA developed
    • 11 Mar 2009  TATURA.VICTORIA.AUSTRALIA, Australia
      I have bought these apples down at Geeveston,a cold area in southern Tasmania.I love anything and everything apple and thes are without doubt the best apples I have ever eaten.
    • 23 Dec 2008  ST IVES, CORNWALL, United Kingdom
      I'm passionate about apples, and on holiday this October in Macedonia I saw huge crops of Jonagold, Golden Delicious and (a few) Jonathans and Galas being gathered in. I had no idea that Macedonia was a major producer, as the only Jonagold I've seen in the UK have been Dutch, but apparently Macedonia exports mainly to the Gulf States ! I bought Jonagold for the first time as I'll always try a variety I've not seen before - and they were (still are) amazingly cheap. I like them a lot, I enjoy their crisp, slightly orangey sharp/sweetness, their juiciness and the fact that they are good "keepers". Other favourites Egremont russet, crisp cox (there are always some disappointingly soft ones), new season Discovery, James Grieve, Kidd's Orange.
    • 14 Dec 2008  SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, United States
      I have never liked apples or even apple pie because I didn't like the taste or the peeling of an apple, then I tried a Gala Apple because of thin skin it was a winner with me. One day while shopping for some apples, I saw a JonaGold and decided to try it. The color was striking and the taste was out of this world, it is by far the best tasting apple ever. I eat one everyday and will be sad when the season is gone I have become addicted to them. The price is a dollar or two cheaper than the rest, but I like that. An apple that is the best tasting ever at an affordable price is a WINNER.
    • 12 Nov 2008  BULGARIA, Bulgaria
      The best tasting apples. Very crisp and aromatic. You can notice the fragrance right away when you cut them! There are a sport of Jonagold - "Decoster", with a litle more acidic taste - superior!
    • 11 Jul 2008  DURHAM UK, United Kingdom
      Half the price of other varieties. Firm, slightly acidic flesh. Best peeled and sliced into segments with a touch of sugar, rather than eaten whole (and I'm not a sweet-tooth). Big enough to make a good baked apple by the looks of it.
    • 24 Jun 2008  BOSTON, United States
      Fear not, folks: this variety has been sold Stateside for decades with very few problems and has origins in one of the oldest apple growing regions in the nation. My guess is the ones you are eating are direct from the farm, so you should be fine.
    • 29 May 2008  TILLATOBA, MS, United States
      Undoubtedly the best tasting apple I have ever tried! My only problem is they are difficult to find in my area. If you like a crisp firm apple the is slightly sweet and tangy at the same time, try these!!
    • 13 May 2008  MELBOURNE, Australia
      It is cheap also in Australia. about $1-2 difference with other varieties. Makes me worry
    • 19 Apr 2008  KENT, United Kingdom
      I've had similar concerns to those of Cliff, does anyone know why they are so cheap?
    • 20 Jan 2008  DORSET, ENGLAND, United Kingdom
      I agree with your tasting notes but what worries me is why they are so extremely cheap in s/markets, viz. 27p per kg against 63p per kg + for most other varities. Are they stock-piled somewhere in the EU? Are they as safe to eat? Are they subject more to pests & subsequently sprayed heavily? I would be grateful for your comments. Thanks.
    • 17 Sep 2007  CORNELL UNIVERSITY, United States
      This apple variety was created at Cornell University.

    Tree register

    United States

    United Kingdom

    Hungary

    Ireland

    Netherlands

    Canada

    Australia

    New Zealand

    Japan

    Poland

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2022 season

    • 2nd May  2022  - tree owned by James in Glynn, Ireland
    • 2nd May  2022  - tree owned by James in Glynn,, Ireland

    2019 season

    • 29th April  2019  - tree owned by Ryan in Vineyard, United States

    2018 season

    • 4th May  2018  - tree owned by Cheuk in Amsterdam, Netherlands

    2017 season

    • 25th April  2017  - tree owned by Cheuk in Amsterdam, Netherlands

    2016 season

    • 2nd May  2016  - tree owned by Erika in Mytholmroyd, United Kingdom

    2015 season

    • April  2015  - tree owned by Jamie in Runcorn, United Kingdom

    2014 season

    • 12th May  2014  - tree owned by Dennis in Great Meadows, United States
    • 6th May  2014  - tree owned by Danny in Lochore, United Kingdom
    • April  2014  - tree owned by Nicola in Howden, United Kingdom

    2013 season

    • 14th May  2013  - tree owned by K. in Warsash, United Kingdom
    • 30th April  2013  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States

    2012 season

    • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 4th May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States
    • 2nd May  2012  - tree owned by Steve in Ferndale, United States
    • 2nd May  2012  - tree owned by Karel in Alem, Netherlands
    • 29th April  2012  - tree owned by Mrs Tri in Redditch, United Kingdom
    • 27th April  2012  - tree owned by Simon in Duleek, Ireland
    • 11th April  2012  - tree owned by Gary in Pleasant Hill, United States
    • 21st March  2012  - tree owned by Randy in Baxley, United States

    2011 season

    • May  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada
    • 25th April  2011  - tree owned by Barbara in Gt. Yarmouth, United Kingdom
    • 21st April  2011  - tree owned by Karel in Alem, Netherlands

    2009 season

    • 4th April  2009  - tree owned by Mrs Tri in Redditch, United Kingdom

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


    Harvest records for this variety

    2019 season

    • 1st week September  2019  - tree owned by Dennis in Bradford, United States

    2016 season

    • November  2016  - tree owned by Elaine in Mold, United Kingdom
    • October  2016  - tree owned by Erika in Mytholmroyd, United Kingdom

    2015 season

    • September  2015  - tree owned by Jamie in Runcorn, United Kingdom
    • 3rd week August  2015  - tree owned by Phillip in Sand Springs, United States

    2013 season

    • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by Mrs. in Newport, United States
    • 1st week September  2013  - tree owned by baker3@wildblue.net in Thawville, United States
    • 3rd week March  2013  - tree owned by Katrina in Nelson, New Zealand

    2012 season

    • 1st week November  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 1st week October  2012  - tree owned by Steve in Ferndale, United States
    • 1st week October  2012  - tree owned by Lloyd in Beaverton, United States

    2011 season

    • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada

    2010 season

    • 2nd week November  2010  - tree owned by Brian in , United Kingdom
    • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Ute in Kilfenora, Ireland

    2009 season

    • 2nd week September  2009  - tree owned by Mrs Tri in Redditch, United Kingdom

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Golden Delicious x Jonathan
    • Introduced: 1943
    • Developed by: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

    Using

    • Picking season: Late
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
    • Flavor style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Hard cider
    • Discoloration of fruit: No discoloration (Good for drying)

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Ploidy: Triploid
    • Bearing regularity: Regular

    Climate

    • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
    • Cold hardiness (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Chill requirement: Low-chill A borderline case - only needs about 700 hours

    Identification

    • Country of origin: United States
    • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Fruit colour: Orange flush

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Jonagold apple trees for sale:


    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Jonagold:

    United States


    United Kingdom


    France


    Netherlands


    Canada


    Australia


    Switzerland




    References

    • Cedar-Apple Rust  
      Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
      Rated as susceptible - control usually needed where CAR is prevalent.
    • Apples for the 21st Century
      Author: Manhart
    • Fruit Expert
      Author: Hessayon

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