Fuji is a fine looking pinkish bi-coloured apple with intense sweetness and a delicious open crispness. If you like sweet apples this is the one to buy. Due to it’s high degree of sweetness, Fuji apples are the favourite in most of South-East and East Asia, and are the predominant variety grown in China, Korea and Japan.
Fuji apples need good sunshine and a fairly long growing season to produce the right quality, both in appearance and sweetness. Too many that are sold in UK are either from marginal areas or have been harvested to maintain crispness and avoid ‘water-core’ which often results in low levels of sweetness.
This is unfortunate because the result is that we rarely see good Fuji apples. Morrison’s are the only retailer with consistent sales, but, although they look good, their Chinese Fuji are often just not sweet enough.
Our favourite Fuji apples come from Brazil where they develop an intense sweetness and a unique flavour of chocolate. Other good sources are California, and some areas in Chile, France and Italy.
Asian Fuji can be excellent, but will often have water-core, which is highly prized as an indication of sweetness. For some reason, water-core is mistaken as a defect in Europe, hence the need to avoid it, but by doing so, reducing the chance of sweet fruit.
Another complication with Fuji is that there are many different cultivars, not all of which yield the best quality.
Origin: Fuji apples were developed in Japan from a cross between two American apples: Red Delicious x Ralls Janet. The variety was released in 1962.
Grown in: Fuji apples do best in warm growing areas with plenty of sunshine, so the more southerly growing areas in the northern hemisphere and more northerly growing areas in the southern hemisphere would be preferable.
Ben Shogun Fuji is a slightly early variety grown in England and supplied to some supermarkets. The fruit is crisp, though not exceptionally so, but so far, sweetness seems limited. This is a block red variety, aka Heisei Fuji.
Harvest & Availability: Fuji apples can be stored for quite a few months, though water-core can discolour in long-term stored fruit.
October to June: China, USA, France, Italy, Germany, UK
June to September: Brazil, South Africa, Chile