Where Do Granny Smith Apples Grow? (Their Origin Story)

Granny Smith apples growing on an orchard

Granny Smith apples are one of the most popular sour green apple varieties. The unique flavor of these apples is linked to their growing conditions and location. So, where do Granny Smith apples grow?

Granny Smith apples were first found in Australia in the 1860s. In the USA, they thrive in Zones 6 through 8. Granny Smith apples grow best in warm climates. These apples have a reasonably long growing season, and the trees need sunlight for at least 6 hours every day along with well-draining soil.

Let’s now talk about the origin of Granny Smith apples.

Origin Of Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith apples have a long legacy that goes back to Australia in the 1860s. This variety of apple was a chance discovery by an Australian farmer, Maria Smith.

She spotted it growing from the cores of French crab apples that she threw into a compost pile. These seedlings yielded unique apple seedlings, and their distinct characteristics piqued her interest.

She propagated the saplings and grew them extensively. It soon became a top variety in Australia, winning several prizes at horticultural shows.

It was in the 1960s that Granny Smith apples were cultivated in the UK. It took another decade for them to reach the USA.

Nevertheless, this apple soon earned its well-deserved title as the best cooking apple. It’s now available all over the world and in great demand.

Growth Requirements For Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith apples thrive in places with warm and sunny weather conditions. They require plenty of sunshine and do best in well-draining soil.

This apple needs at least six hours of sunshine every day, which is available in the USA growing zones 6 through 8.

The trees grow from a started sapling. For best results, the sapling should be a year old and at least 6 feet tall.

Although they will grow in different types of soil, you can improve your planting results by choosing well-aerated soil with added manure or compost.

Horticulture experts suggest soaking the sapling root ball in water before planting to soften it and improve the chances of root spreading.

Mulching the base of Granny Smith saplings will prevent weeds from growing. Water the tree consistently to keep the dirt moist and help the plant establish itself better.

Granny Smith apples are self-fertile, so you don’t have to worry about cross-pollination. They will start bearing fruit once they reach reproduction maturity.

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How Long Does It Take For A Granny Smith Apple To Bear Fruit?

The time it takes Granny Smith apples to bear fruit depends on the type of sapling you use. Dwarf varieties reach maturity faster, and they bear fruit sooner than standard varieties.

Dwarf and semi-dwarf Granny Smith apple trees are early producers. They produce fruit within two to four years of planting.

Standard trees usually take four to six years to bear fruit. However, weather and soil conditions will also play a role in flowering. The better the growing environment and conditions, the sooner they bear produce.

Standard Granny Smith trees grow to heights of 12 to 16 feet. Timely pruning will help them develop a strong and sturdy base. Pruning every other year will improve growth.

Although Granny Smith apples are generally a hardy variety, they’re prone to apple scab, fungus, and other parasites.

You can reduce the risk of these diseases by planting them in a good location and applying suitable medication when you notice symptoms.

When Are Granny Smith Apples Harvested?

Harvested Granny Smith apple

For most red and yellow apple varieties, you can use their color as a guiding factor to decide if you can pick them.

However, Granny Smith apples are always green, and it’s not easy to determine their ripeness by looking at their color.

In general, Granny Smith apples are mid-season varieties. In the US, they’re ready to harvest from late September to mid-October.

This variety of apples takes 150 to 180 days from bloom to harvest. When they’re ready to be picked, the inside of the apple will be white, and the outer skin will be a bright green color.

You can also do a taste test to check if the produce is ripe and ready to be picked.

How Long Do Granny Smith Apples Last?

Granny Smith apples last longer than most sweet apple varieties because of their higher acidity.

They keep for five to seven days at room temperature when stored on the counter. They keep for longer when stored in a dark and dry space, away from moisture and sunlight.

They can last for up to three weeks in the pantry or a storage box at room temperature.

When you leave them on the counter, Granny Smith apples tend to ripen quickly. This will also speed up the rate of spoiling. Storing them in the refrigerator helps them last much longer.

If the apples are unripe when picked, they will ripen in less than a week when left outside at room temperature.

How To Store Granny Smith Apples?

You can store Granny Smith apples on the counter or in your pantry for immediate use. Depending on the heat and moisture, they may last for a week to three weeks in these places.

To further extend the shelf-life of Granny Smith apples, store them in the refrigerator. You can store them in the crisper drawer for four to six weeks.

However, cut apples will last for only three to five days in the refrigerator.

The riper the apples are when you put them away, the lesser they last. If they’re not yet fully ripe, they can hold up for up to three months in the refrigerator.

They will hold up in the freezer for even longer, up to a year. However, storing them in the freezer can make them lose their crunch and flavor.

Best Uses Of Granny Smith Apples

Their bright green color and crisp tartness set Granny Smith apples apart from other apple varieties. They have a delicious and complex taste that is more tart than sweet.

The flesh is firm, juicy, and crisp. It’s moist but not mushy. These apples have a delicious bite and are very crunchy.

Although Granny Smith apples are sour, some people enjoy eating them raw. Their unique taste makes them good for salads. Granny Smith apples are also excellent cooking apples.

Due to their high levels of acid and firm texture, they don’t disintegrate during cooking and baking.

These apples hold up well in pies, cakes, tarts, crumbles, and strudels. You can also use them to make apple sauce and cider.

Overall, Granny Smith apples are versatile all-purpose apples that you can use in various dishes and recipes.

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Closest Substitutes For Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith apples are an iconic variety of green apples. They have a sharp, juicy flavor.

Few other types of apples have the same flavor and taste as Granny Smith apples. Nonetheless, you can find substitutes based on the need.

You can use Bramley apples instead of Granny Smith for cooking or baking, and they will do just fine. Cortland apples will also work in many recipes.

Fuji apples are another possible replacement, but they will be much sweeter. You can also try slightly unripe varieties of other tart apples as substitutes for Granny Smith apples.