The McIntosh Red (or McIntosh; colloquially, the Mac) is an apple cultivar with red and green skin, a tart flavor, and tender white flesh. It ripens in late September. It is traditionally the most popular cultivar in Eastern Canada and New England, well known for the pink applesauce unpeeled McIntoshes make. It is also well-suited for cider and pies. It is common to find this cultivar packed in children's lunches in North America owing to its small to medium size and longstanding reputation as a healthy snack.
McIntosh apples are vivid red brushed with bright green, oftentimes speckled with white lenticels (spots). The amount of red or green on the skin of the McIntosh will vary depending on when it was harvested. Early season apples will have more green and later season will sometimes be almost all red. The flavor as well will vary, with the later season apples taking on a slightly sweeter taste than those picked earlier in the season. The McIntosh apples crisp flesh is exceptionally juicy and bright white in color. When first picked the flavor of the McIntosh apple has a strong sweet-tart taste with nuances of spice, this flavor will mellow slightly in cold storage.
McIntosh apples can be used cooked or raw and in both sweet and savory preparations. Add slices atop a pizza or tart, use chopped as a stuffing or puree and add to a soup. The flesh of the McIntosh apple is delicate and will breakdown when cooked. Pair with dense apples such as Granny Smith, Rome, Green Dragon or Fuji to make pie filling or slow cook to make sauces and chutney. Diced McIntosh will add sweetness and moisture to cakes, breads and cookies. Their slightly spicy flavor and juiciness makes them a perfect apple for use in juice and cider. Its flavor pairs well with maple, pecans, celery, pork, blackberries, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg and flavorful cheeses such as feta, gorgonzola and sharp cheddar.
Every McIntosh apple has a direct lineage to a single tree discovered in 1796 by John McIntosh on his farm in Dundela, a hamlet near Morrisburg, in Dundas County, Ontario, Canada. He discovered the tree as one of 20 apple seedlings while clearing the farm, which he had just purchased. He transplanted the seedlings, cultivated them, and only one of them was still alive by 1830. The surviving apple tree lived until 1909. The oldest surviving descendant died on July 25, 2011.
A McIntosh as bought, showing colouring The Snow Apple, also known as the Fameuse, is believed to be a parent of the McIntosh. Offsprings of the Mac include, among many others, the firmer Macoun (a Jersey Black cross), the Spartan (recorded as a Newtown Pippin cross), the Cortland, the Empire, the Jonamac, the Jersey Mac and possibly the Paula Red. William Tyrrell Macoun of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is credited with popularizing this variety of apple in Canada.
The Apple Macintosh is named after this apple.