The Yellow Transparent Apple

7/2/2018 - 8:59:41 AM

“I’m going to be totally transparent with you right now.”

Have you heard that phrase before? It usually means that you might just need to brace yourself, because a) the speaker is about to unload some previously unknown and heavy details about themselves, b) they’re coming for you, i.e., they’re about to tell you what they “really” think of you, c) what they’re about to say is a complete lie that’s being fronted as a truth, or d) none of the above, it’s anybody’s guess.

Who knows what they’re about to say?

Well, trust me when I say, the Yellow Transparent apple is not nearly as complicated, and is predictably much more satisfying than trying to discern the secrets of another’s heart.

Just what do we know about the Yellow Transparent apple? Here are some facts that you should find interesting and helpful as you consider the merits of the this heirloom apple:


If you haven’t been able to buy them yet, you may be able to buy them from us next week or the next (to be on the safe side, check with us before you come). And they should be available most of July (depending on weather+this year’s growing season. At least I’m being transparent about that, right?).


According to the Orange Pippin website, the Yellow Transparent apple is a “Well-known early summer apple, good for drying, freezing, sauce, juice and wine. Transparent pale yellow skin. Crisp, light-textured, juicy flesh. Very sweet flavor. Not good storer.” By clicking the above link, you can also learn more about the apple’s identifying characteristics, its various possible uses, its typical growth patterns, which diseases it’s susceptible to, its relationship to other apple varieties and a number of other interesting facts about the Yellow Transparent apple.

General History

As is often the case when I’m researching fruit topics for a blog post, Big Horse Creek Farm had an excellent write-up on the subject. Rather than trying to paraphrase such a well written piece, I’ve quoted it below. If you enjoy reading it, be sure to check out this astute article by the New England Apple Association as well--a very interesting history that is well written.

“Yellow Transparent is one of the great American apples that, to the surprise of many, is actually not a true American apple! This apple, along with dozens of lesser-known selections such Duchess of Oldenburg, Red Astrachan, Lowland Raspberry and Alexander, was introduced to this country from Russia generations ago. In fact, Yellow Transparent is one of hundreds of Russian apples imported into the United States by the USDA in the late 1800’s as part of a program to introduce very cold-hardy varieties that could be raised successfully in the coldest regions of the Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Some of these Russian apples gained favor in different parts of the country but few were embraced so quickly or fervently as Yellow Transparent.

There are many wonderful qualities of Yellow Transparent that captured the fancy of the first American growers of this apple, chief among them being the tree’s ability to bear when very young and its capacity to produce heavy crops. It is one of the first apples to ripen during the growing season, ripening mid-June to late July, depending on location. Here in the high mountains of NW North Carolina we usually prepare to pick our Yellow Transparent apples in mid-July. The freshly-picked fruits do not keep very well, usually just 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. If left at room temperature you have maybe 2-3 days to enjoy the apples as they can quickly become dry, mealy and tasteless.

Perhaps the greatest quality of Yellow Transparent that earned it such high favorability is its ability to be grown all over the country, even in the hotter, more humid regions of the eastern Coastal Plains and southern Gulf Coast states. From Maine to Mississippi, Yellow Transparent has demonstrated an outstanding capacity to thrive under very hot climatic conditions in which most other apples would fail. It is maybe a bit ironic that an apple first imported into this country for its ability to thrive in the coldest regions would also prove to be very successful in those areas where the heat and humidity normally discouraged any real possibility of raising apples!”

Local Applesauce and Other Recipes (The following excerpt is from this page of our website)

“Normally available through most of July, Yellow Transparent is the earliest-ripening variety, one of the oldest, and a popular favorite of local applesauce makers. The tart, full-of-flavor apple, with its smooth, light texture and attractive light color is perfect for applesauce. The summer months are a grand time to make applesauce with your family!

Most customers use our Yellow Transparent apples to make applesauce. However, apple pie is another delicious option, as folks like this and like this can attest. Which leads us to believe that apple crisp, apple cakes and other apple dishes may not be outside the realm of possibility for this notable heirloom variety! We here at Kauffman's would be delighted to hear how these apples perform in any of various usages - Go to our Product Reviews tab at the bottom of this page, and share your thoughts!”

Final Thought

Being transparent has its benefits. Think about that as you put our Yellow Transparent apples to good use!

I have a beautiful very old transparent apple tree.... I didn’t know the name till now.... it ripens about the 2nd week in July and makes perfect applesauce... I have 8 other apples I still haven’t Named yet... the trees are at least 60 years old most likely about 75 ... thank you for the info
Barbara Smith
5/28/2020 - 7:41:43 AM
We're getting ready to use our transparents for the 2020 rendition of Clark H&P hard cider. The first attempt was made in 2017, and these apples made an excellent dry, naturally conditioned home brew. We still have a few bottles from the '17, and are excited to compare to this year's. Grandpa planted the tree, and swears by apple sauce and pie.
Joseph Clark
7/26/2020 - 8:10:56 PM
I believe my yellow transparent is from 1905 when the stone shed and home were first built here in South Ryegate, VERMONT. The builders were Darling and I am a Darling. The tree bears 20 apples a day for 20 days to freeze. Since it is organic 20 apples a day for 20 days go to the worms, deer and crows. The tree has 5 or 6 trunks so is it one tree?
Virginia D Shevlin
8/27/2020 - 3:53:12 PM
Can you ship these apples to me? I’m trying to make applesauce like my grandmother use to make. I think she used Lodi apples.
2/2/2021 - 10:45:40 AM
I believe my yellow transparent is from 1905 when the stone shed and home were first built here in South Ryegate, VERMONT. The builders were Darling and I am a Darling. The tree bears 20 apples a day for 20 days to freeze. Since it is organic 20 apples a day for 20 days go to the worms, deer and crows. The tree has 5 or 6 trunks so is it one tree?
Virginia D Shevlin
8/27/2020 - 3:52:26 PM
Is there a way to either SHIP these apples to upstate New York when they are still green? These are the apples I grew up on (a tree in my parents yard) and we would eat them by the bagfuls while they were still green (very sour with lots of salt!) yum. Or can I purchase a young tree to plant in my yard??? Thank you.
8/5/2020 - 8:29:05 PM
Perhaps a foolish question BUT is the Yellow Transparent apple also known as the Yellow Astrachan? Thanks in advance.
Robert Boisvert
12/31/2018 - 1:35:42 PM
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