Shape – Round, slightly lumpy, mostly uniform. Medium in size. Leans on the plate.
Skin – Crimson red, most specimens are 95% red with slight yellows where the sun isnt. Skin smells of sweet, fruity, grassiness. Skin juices stain the plate.
Flesh – Breaking, crumbly, yellow, crunchy, denser than most. Slight oxidation toward the core. It has a chew to it with the skin.
Taste – Wonderfully aromatic, slightly sweetness, more tart, but not a tartness of regret, but a tartness that adds to the complexity. Spiciness and warmth, great compliment to cheddar and cheeses. I think it tastes best only slightly cool.
Bottom line: This is grandpa’s apple. It takes us back to a simpler day. It has many of the same qualities in terms of flavor as Esopus Spitzenburg, but with more sweetness. Its hard to do a side by side without the 2 in front of you, in season, but if you were to ask me which one I prefer, I’d prefer Jonathan. This is an apple I’d choose to grow if I started an orchard. The only hard knock on it is Jonathan Spot. Im not sure why I dont eat more of them. They’re really good, all around.
Variety Note: Tree has a weeping habit to it, and my Jonamac shows it as Jonathan is one of its parents. In the orchard I noticed the same Up-Down-Up nature with the branches. Its an attractive tree for sure. Its shape reminds me of an old woman, frail. Beautifully wispy.
Fresh eating rating: 8/10 – A classic that gets very little respect in today’s apple markets. Its wonderful in terms of flavor, texture. The package is perfectly sized, shaped, and colored. I would take one of these over a MacIntosh every day of the week, but doesnt quite live up to the Jonamac in terms of flavor, but it does do texture and density better.
Culinary rating: 7/10 – Very good, dense enough to hold its shape in baked goods, and adds spicy complexity to pies mixed with cookers.