Why Is Your Apple Red or Pink Inside?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Look around your local supermarket’s produce section and you’ll discover an overabundance of apples. The United States is the world’s second-largest apple producer, with a production of around 5 million metric tons during the 2019/2020 season. China is first with Turkey closely trailing the U.S in third.

So it’s the weekend and you are carrying out your usual weekly shop. You go to the fruit and veg section and there it is, staring at you in all its glory… the humble apple! You buy a few of your favourites and get in the car to go home.

This might be something that has happened to you before after purchasing a lovely-looking red Apple, you cut it into little pieces only to discover that the apple flesh is dotted with crimson streaks…”Why is my apple red inside?”. In this article, we will discuss why some varieties of apples are red or pink inside and answer the question of whether or not they should be avoided:

apple red inside snippet image

Table of Contents

The Short Answer

Some Apples are pink or red on the inside because they are either part of an Apple variety that is naturally red or as a result of oxidation within the apple. Pink Pearls and Scarlet Surprises are two of the most widely grown apple varieties with red-coloured flesh. You don’t have to be concerned about why your apple is red or pinkish within. It’s fine to consume as long as the apple looks and smells great.

apples with red flesh

Red Fleshed Apples Overview

Some apple varieties have red insides. No, they aren’t a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) that’s been created in some mad scientist’s lab; these apples are natural and there is nothing to be concerned about when eating them. The colours of the apple flesh can range from light pink to dark crimson, and it all comes down to genetics.

Crabapples are known for their red skin, which is usually found inside the apple as well as out. These varieties are often too bitter tasting, so breeders crossed them with delicious white-fleshed apples to produce commercially viable apples with red insides. Sweet tasting red-fleshed apple trees are not only a curiosity to cultivate; these crimson-fleshed fruits may also have antioxidant advantages.

Red Fleshed Apple Varieties

The colour of the medium-sized round fruit varies considerably. These dense apples come in a wide range of colours, from bright pink (Pink Pearl) to brilliant crimson (Clifford) to rosy pink (Taunton Cross), and even orange (Apricot Apple). Other apple trees bloom white rather than these red-fleshed cultivars’ pink. Depending on the cultivar, you might have pale pink to crimson rose blooms on your red-fleshed apple tree.

Red-fleshed apple trees, like other apples, vary in sweetness and tartness. Other fruits have a variety of tastes, as with other dense apples. Even though red-fleshed apple trees are relatively new to the market, the list of cultivars is enormous.

There are quite a few apple varieties that have red insides. The most common ones include:

balanced sweet tart flavor

Pink Sparkle

This apple was developed by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and released in 1978. It is a cross between two other pink-fleshed apples, namely Pink Pearl and Sparkle. This apple has light pink skin with stripes of darker pink over a green background. The flesh is also light pink but slightly tarter than that of the Pink Pearl.

Geneva Crab

This apple was developed at the Geneva Research Station in New York, USA and released in 1995. It is a cross between two other apples, namely Jonamac and Jersey Mac. This apple has red skin with some light yellow striping on it when ripe. The flesh inside is also pinkish-red.

Scarlet Surprise

This apple was developed in Iowa, USA and released in 1977. It is a cross between two other apples, namely Jonathan and Wagener. Scarlet Surprise has deep red and green skin with some yellow striping on it when ripe. The flesh inside is also deep red and very sweet to eat.


This apple was developed at the University of Guelph in Canada and released in 1999. It is a cross between two other apples, namely McIntosh and Golden Delicious. Thornberry has white skin with areas that are flushed red when ripe. The flesh inside is bright pinkish-red and sweet to eat.

Pink Pearl

Pink Pearl apples are one of the oldest known commercial apples with pink coloured insides. They were developed in Canada in 1943 from crossed parent trees that included Golden Delicious, Jonathan and an unknown crabapple variety. This large elongated sweet and firm apple has white skin with a pink blush on it when ripe. Its sweet juicy flavour makes it great for eating.

pink pearl apples

Giant Russian

This apple was developed in the former Soviet Union and released in 1978. It is a cross between two other apples, namely Antonovka and Jonathan. This apple has green skin that turns red when ripe. The flesh inside is also deep red with a sweet flavour.

Winter Red Flesh

This apple has red skin with some light yellow striping on it when ripe. The flesh inside is also deep red and very sweet to eat.


The Red-Fleshed Crab Apple of the Almata variety is closely related to the red-fleshed crab-apple Malus niedzwetzkyana. The apples are dark crimson in colour, with a smooth crimson flesh, resulting in pink juice. The blossom is dark pink, the leaves are a dull bronze-green colour, and even the wood has a pink stained look.

Mountain Rose

Mountain Rose apples are a red-fleshed apple from the Rosacea family, species Malus Domestica, and they are named for their proximity to Mount Hood in Oregon. This apple got its name because it is produced near Mount Hood in Oregon and because its flesh is notably pink.

Red Wonder

Red Wonder are dark red delicious apples with distinct red insides. This apple is tart, sweet, and has a slightly spicy flavor. Apples are excellent for both fresh and culinary usage. Red Wonder has an average length of 6 to 7 cm and can be kept in cold storage for up to a month.

Hidden Rose

The first known example of a natural cross between a Rose and an apple is the apple-rose, also known as the rose-apple, which was developed in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s. The variety was never commercially cultivated until recently. Hidden Rose has a distinct strawberry-lemonade flavour that is tart and somewhat sweet.

Mott’s Pink

In direct light, the fruit’s colour ranges from bright crimson to burnt orange and pink; smooth translucent skin; slightly sticky when fully ripe. The apple has a pleasant fragrance.


The red colour of Grenadine apples comes from anthocyanin, a pigment that is also found in purple grapes. The apple’s somewhat translucent crimson skin allows the pink flesh to show through. This apple is mostly cultivated in Humboldt County, California and has a distinct trademark hue.

Buford Red Flesh

The tree that produced this apple was found by Tom Burford in Amherst County, Virginia, near Clifford. It is distinguished by deep crimson leaves and apples with red insides. Vintage Virginia Apples has yet to fruit, but it has promise as a cider variety because of its dark red foliage and apples with distinctively red insides.


The Niedzwetzkyana apple is a brilliant crimson fruit with beautiful red flesh. Only a few of these apples, which are found in Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous interior, survive. The flavour is somewhat sweet and tangy. The Niedzwetkyana apple tree isn’t particularly productive; it takes two to three months for its apples to mature.


The first fruit was crimson-fleshed and tiny, sweet and crunchy, and about the size of crab apples; fully ripe in early November and kept in excellent condition for roughly a month.


Firecracker is a tiny red Delicious apple that is fantastic for salads and desserts, as well as juice. Firecracker is a naturally dwarf tree that produces copious harvests and should endure temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In your yard or garden, try these colourful red-fleshed apples.

firecracker apple

Apple variants with red Flesh List

Apple Variant Colour Inside Originate From
Almata Deep Red Central Asia
Buford Red Flesh Deep Red California
Firecracker Deep Red American Variety
Geneva Crab Deep Red Ottawa, Canada
Giant Russian Very Light Pink Russia
Grenadine Deep Red Humboldt County, California
Hidden Rose Deep Red Airlie, Oregon
Mountain Rose Red Western Oregon
Mott's Pink Pink US
Niedzwetzkyana Deep Red Kyrgyzstan
Pink Sparkle Pink Whale Gulch, Northern California
Red Wonder Deep Red US
Rubaiyat Deep Red Ettersberg, California
Scarlett Suprise Pinkish-Red Willamette Valley, Oregon
Thornberry Very Pink Whitethorn, California
Winter Red Flesh Deep Red Central Asia

The oxidation process can turn apples pink inside

This is because of the presence of a pigment called anthocyanin, which gives apples their red colour. When an apple is exposed to air and light, this pigment changes from pink to brown or orange.

When you slice through an apple’s seed coat, it oxidizes quickly; however, if the fruit’s flesh remains in contact with its seeds (which are protected by skin), they will stay white longer – long enough for your eyesight to perceive them as being ‘white’.

Some people believe that when apples turn red inside (or have a pinkish hue), it means they are either unripe or overripe – but there’s no evidence for this claim. In fact, research has shown how the red pigmentation in apples increases as they ripen.

apple oxidation

People also ask

Can you eat apples that are red inside?

Yes, you can eat apples that are red inside. The apple’s flesh will taste the same regardless of its colour. However, the skin may be a different colour (depending on the variety of apple). For example, the Hidden Rose apple has a pinkish hue to its skin.

Can you make juice with apples that are red inside?

Yes, you can make juice with apples that are red inside. The apple’s flesh will taste the same regardless of whether it is juiced or eaten whole. However, the skin may be a different colour (depending on the variety of apple). For example, the Firecracker Apple has bright crimson skin.

What is the healthiest apple to eat?

We consider ‘healthy’ apples to be those with high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This can result in various conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

red and green skin
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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