Hidden Rose is the perfect name for this apricot-colored apple with the surprise hidden inside. Sometimes called Aerlie’s Red Flesh or Airlie Red Flesh, it was discovered in the mid-20th century in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Hidden Rose is likely a seedling of the red-fleshed variety Surprise. Nearly all red-fleshed apples, including Surprise and Hidden Rose, have the red-fleshed Kazakhstan apple, Malus niedzwetzkyana in their parentage. Niedzwetzkyana was apparently discovered by at least two different fruit explorers during the 19th century. The apple first made its way to western Europe by 1840 or so and was used in the breeding of Surprise. Niedzwetzkyana was re-discovered in Kazakhstan a few decades later by the American fruit explorer Niels Hansen, who was the one who dubbed it “Niedzwetzkyana” after Mr. Niedzwetzky who had the tree growing in his yard. Hansen brought it back to the US where it was used extensively in the breeding of crabapples. Not only is the flesh red, the flowers are pink, and the foliage is bronze or purple. Some red-fleshed apples, such as Winekist, have electric red flesh. Others, such as Hidden Rose, aren't as pronounced.
Hidden Rose is a jewel in the orchard. Its skin starts as solid green and it is only in the sunlight that it turns to a lustrous orange gold. At times, the skin appears so translucent that the pink flesh is visible beneath it. In its full plumage, the surface of the apple is blotched with deep red. The color of the apple does not appear to indicate the degree of red of the flesh. Some apples may be whitish-green beneath the surface while others are a deep pink. This is an apple for gazing at, admiring and fresh eating.