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

Keepsake apple

Malus domestica
Unattractive, irregularly shaped, 2.25 to 2.75 inch diameter, 90% red fruit. Fine grained, hard, very crisp, juicy light yellow flesh. Strongly aromatic flavor. Very hardy. Mellows with age. Attains peak fresh eating quality in January or February. Keeps in storage through April.

Keepsake apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Keepsake
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USDA identification images for Keepsake

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

    Visitor reviews

    • 29 Mar 2020  MN, United States
      Years ago I occasionally bought Keepsake apples at some of the suburban orchards around Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. They were difficult to find as the orchards that grew them would not offer them until November and most of my apple orchard roaming was over by them. I remember the Keepsake as being hard, crunch, sweet and aromatic. They are hard to find but is you stumble across an orchard that offers them, buy a bunch as they keep very well.
    • 24 Aug 2018  NY, United States
      I got some scion wood this past winter of 17' and had one graft that's possibly going to take off into a nice looking tree. My interest in the Keepsake is it parentage of the one of the most popular apples in North America the HoneyCrisp so, I believe that the Keepsake will be a huge success for the apple gurues.
    • 02 Nov 2015  M?N, United States
      Favorite apple by far! Flavor changes slightly as it warms to room temperature. VERY crisp.
    • 01 Feb 2014  ON, Canada
      Everything an apple should be. Not pretty but lumpy, loveable and unique as a face, with a crisp flesh that can pulls away in clean chips as large as your bite allows. Light, floral sweetness quickly overtaken by a tartness that cleanses the palate and makes you want to take another huge chunk into your mouth. And then another and another. And then start on another apple. But perhaps best of all, the Spy is the queen pie apple, with its flesh remaining firm through cooking and its acidity the perfect complement for all things sugary/cinnamony/nutmegy. And even cheddary. Oh, and it keeps for months. True, you might find a blemish or two on its thin, irregularly coloured skin. But no two loves are supposed to be alike, right? A true southern Ontario/northern New York classic, although even here it's becoming a little tricky at times finding them. I sure wish more people knew how an honest apple this is.
    • 14 Jan 2013  PA, United States
      We look forward to buying these apples late in the season each year, not widely available, but extraordinary. Crisp, sweet, full of flavor, very satisfying.
    • 07 Oct 2012  MN, United States
      While not beautiful, extremely good to eat - very crisp, juicy, sweet and a little tart, fragrant...just wonderful. If you can find these, do yourself a favor and get some. (you can keep them all winter too - if you store them right)...

    Tree register

    United States

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2017 season

    • 20th April  2017  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    2012 season

    • 20th April  2012  - tree owned by Chuck in Worthington, United States

    2011 season

    • 20th May  2011  - tree owned by Ron in Orion, United States

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

    Harvest records for this variety

    2017 season

    • 4th week October  2017  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    2013 season

    • 3rd week October  2013  - tree owned by Craig in Manning, United States

    2011 season

    • 3rd week October  2011  - tree owned by Carolina in Vashon, United States

    2010 season

    • 3rd week October  2010  - tree owned by Carolina in Vashon, United States

    2009 season

    • 3rd week October  2009  - tree owned by Carolina in Vashon, United States


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Frostbite x Northern Spy
    • Originates from: United States
    • Introduced: 1978
    • Developed by: University of Minnesota
    • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1976-003


    • Country of origin: United States
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Fruit colour: Orange flush
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous
    • Fruit size: Average
    • Developer: University of Minnesota


    • Picking season: Very late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Good
    • Cropping: Good
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Picking month: October
    • Picking period: mid-October
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Beginner
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Slightly large
    • Precocity: Precocious
    • Bearing regularity: Biennial tendency
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Organic culture: Suitable
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 4 (-34C)
    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Cold-hardiness: Cold-hardy
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good
    • Fire blight: Some resistance
    • Cedar apple rust: Some resistance

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Keepsake apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Keepsake:

    United States


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