Among the many delicious fruits that Poland produces, apple is the most popular!
How Polish Apples Came Into Existence
History tells us that apples may have originated in Kazakhstan in the region west of the Tian Shan mountains. So the old capital was aptly named Almaty, or Alma Ata meaning ‘full of apples’.
From here, apple seeds reached Greece, Rome, and other parts of Europe. And by 1500 BC and the Romans were cultivating six different varieties of apples as far back as 2,500 years ago.
The ancient Romans planted apple orchards in Britain in 200 BC, while Cistercian monks planted apple orchards in Poland in the 12th century.
The region of Sandomierz became home to the first Polish apples such as Kostzela and Reinettes which are pretty rare nowadays. These apples were used by the monks to create a chewy dessert called ‘apple-cheese’ that you can only find here.
Then in the 16th century, the Italian Queen Bona Sforza married King Sigismund I and brought with her many new vegetables called włoszczyzna.
The Queen loved apples and planted many orchards in the region near Grójec. It’s said that the queen herself handpicked the first fruit in the first year. These jabłka grójeckie were soon sought after by the nobility in Poland, and the orchards were referred to as royal orchards.
Visit Poland and you’ll find apples in every part of our diet. There are even festivals dedicated to the humble apple!
Do You Know How Much Apples Are Produced And Exported From Poland?
With an area of just 312,700 sq km, Poland isn’t too big or too small a country. But we do have the highest agricultural population in European Union. Poland comes second after Romania in terms of farms held but has the highest amount of land that is an orchard.
In 2021, Poland produced 4,170,000 tons of apples, almost 22% more than in 2020. That puts us at the top of the EU apple-producing charts.
While China, Iran, and the USA exported the most apples worldwide, according to the EU27 Trade Report, Poland had a 31.1% share of EU apple exports, beating Italy, France, and Spain with the export quantity of 169,000 tons. And these are just fresh apples.
If you consider ciders, juices, and other products made from apples, the quantity is a lot more!
Types of Polish Apples
Did you know that there are over 30,000 varieties of apples found around the world, out of which 7,500 are cultivars, and only around 40 varieties are commercially traded?
When it comes to apple production, Poland is a paradise!
Warm days and cool nights are perfect for apple growing, our Polish apples come out really flavorful and crispy. In fact, two special varieties of apples from Poland – jabłka łąckie and Queen Bona Sforza’s jabłka grójeckie – are registered in the EU register of Protected Geographical Indications since 2010.
If you had to only choose one Polish apple, the more acidic and darker colored grójeckie would be my recommendation. In fact, some of the best apple orchards you can visit are in the Grojec region.
Some popular Polish apple varieties to keep in mind are these.
- Kostzela – Old apple variety with a greenish peel these come from Sandomierz
- Antonówka – Russian variety that withstands frost, it’s sour and crumbly
- Złota Reneta – Discovered in 1888, these apples are perfect for kompot and jam
- Kronselska – Green and yellow, these French apples from 19th century France are truly aromatic
- Papierówka or Oliwka Żółta – Not very sour, these semi-sweet-semi-sour yellow apples originated in the Baltics and are perfect for cooking
Modern varieties of apples grown in Poland include:
- Idared – Tart and juicy, they were first bred in Idaho and Moscow
- Jonagored – Slightly sour with a juicy aromatic yellow pulp
- Jonaprince – A mutant of Jonagold, it’s really large, but crisp, juicy, and sweet
- Mutsu – A hybrid of Indo and Golden Delicious, these apples are conical in shape and slightly sour, but creamy
- Szampion – Also called champion, these apples were developed in the Czech Republic by crossing a Golden Delicious with a Cox Orange Pippin
- Ligol – A hybrid of Linda and Golden Delicious, these apples are large and creamy
- Delikates – Beautiful to look at, the delikates bear fruit as early as mid-September and are perfect for desserts
International apples that are grown in Poland:
- Royal Gala – Originally from New Zealand, Poland started cultivating it in the 90s. The sweet, tender apples are more than delicious
- Golden Delicious – Aromatic and sweet, these apples have a crispy creamy flesh
- Pink Lady – This Australian cross-breed has the sweetness of Golden Delicious and the firmness of Lady Williams apples
- Gloster – German apples with tasty flushed red fruit
- Granny Smith – Firm juicy Australian apple that became the logo of the Beatles Apple Records
Polish Apple Recipes You Must Try
Apples are an integral part of Polish culture. It’s said that even during hard times when the stores didn’t have groceries, apples were always available. No wonder they feature so prominently in our cuisine. We use apples to make:
- Ryż z Jabłkami
- Racuchy Apple Pancakes
- Carrot and Apple Salad – Surówka z Marchewki
- Baked Apples and Cottage Cheese
- Apple and Horseradish Soup
- Polish Apple Jelly
- Sharlotka Jabłecznik or the easier Apple Sponge Cake
- Rogaliki Cookies
- Kapusta Kiszona
- Leeks and Apple Salatka z Pora
- Polish Apple Soup
Apples are sometimes also added to:
- Layered Salad
- Apple juice is used in Moczka gingerbread soup
- Some types of Polish Vodka
- Pierogi are sometimes served with fried apples
- Polish Fruit Soup
- Knedle dumplings can also be made with apples
So that’s our take on the famous Polish apples – their history, varieties, and the dishes they get added to. Comment and let us know what you think!