Black Diamond Apples Cost at Least $7 Each—Here’s Why

Both the Black Diamond apple and the Arkansas Black apple have otherworldly purple-black skin. But one type is much easier to find than the other.

Apples might just be everyone’s favorite fruit. They’re undeniably popular, starring in fall pies and crisps, galettes and tart cider, with cameos in Disney stories while also representing the world’s most renowned big-tech brand.

There are more than 7,500 types of apples grown around the world, but you’ll only find a dozen or in your grocery store. Beyond the tart Granny Smith, sweet Fuji and popular Gala, you probably haven’t tried most of the world’s apples.

And unless you’ve traveled to Tibet, chances are you haven’t taken a bite out of a rare Black Diamond apple!

Are Black Diamond Apples Real?

Named for its dark skin color, the Black Diamond apple breaks the red-and-green rules for most of the apples we see and eat. Though you might think this fruit resembles something from a fairy tale, we can assure you that black apples are real and safe to eat. They come from the Hua Niu—or Chinese Red Delicious—apple family, and although they don’t look like your normal Gala or Honeycrisp, black apples offer a crunch that’s sweeter than your standard varietal.

What Is a Black Diamond Apple?

This variation of apple is easily recognized by its distinct dark skin, which isn’t actually black, but a deep purple. The bold color is due to the dramatic temperature changes in the growing climate. Black Diamond apples receive large amounts of ultraviolet light exposure during the day, with extreme temperature drops at night. The result? A beautiful fruit with dark skin and a bright white pulp.

If you do get the chance to try this fruit, you’ll find that Black Diamond apples are sweeter than what you’d expect. These specific apples, though they may not look like it, have higher levels of organic sugars like glucose, making for a crisp, nectar-like bite.

Where to Buy Black Diamond Apples

You won’t find these apple anomalies growing in orchards in the States, or in the produce section at Trader Joe’s.

Black Diamond apples are grown in Nyingchi, a small, remote city in the mountainous region of Tibet. Unless you’re able to make your way to Asia and trek up through some mountain orchards, it’s likely you won’t be able to taste this variety of apple.

How Much Is a Black Diamond Apple?

The environment for growing Black Diamond apples is harsh, and it’s tough on the farmers who tend to them. Because of the mountainous climate, the seven to eight years it takes for Black Diamond apple trees to mature and the fact that they grow within a very limited time window, black apples are available for only about two months every year. You can expect them to be much pricier than what you’ll find from your local grocer.

Often, Black Diamond apples are only sold in high-end supermarkets in Asia, with individual fruits selling for between $7 and $20.

What Is an Arkansas Black Apple?

You may not be able to buy a Black Diamond apple any time soon. But a similar type of fruit is grown in the American South, and although tart in taste, the Arkansas Black apple closely resembles the Black Diamond apple in color. This heirloom fruit was first grown in Arkansas in the 1800s, when many family farmers had apple orchards. It can be stored in a cellar for months, where the apple’s waxy skin will protect it from spoiling.

The flavor of an Arkansas Black apple is tart when first picked, but in storage, it mellows into a sweeter apple with notes of honey, vanilla and almond.

Where to Buy Arkansas Black Apples

You can look for classic American heirloom apples like the Arkansas Black at small orchards and farmers markets, when apples are in season. You can also buy Arkansas Black apples directly from growers—or you can plant an Arkansas Black apple tree yourself!

The next apple type you need to know about is the Cosmic Crisp.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.