Antonovka, Антоновка, or Antonówka is a group of late-fall or early-winter apple cultivars with a strong acid flavor that have been popular in Russia (Soviet Union and the Russian Empire) as well as in Poland and Belarus. The most popular Russian variety is Common Antonovka (Антоновка обыкновенная), from which other cultivars derive. It was developed by pioneer Russian naturalist and plant breeder Ivan V. Michurin at his experimental orchard in the Tambov Oblast and introduced in 1888. Antonovka is famous for its unsurpassed strong and pleasant fruit aroma.
The popularity of the Antonovka tree is enhanced by its ability to sustain long harsh winters, typical in many regions of Eastern Europe and Russia. It also further popular for its superior fruit preservation qualities. These qualities made the Russian variety especially popular among the dacha owners, and it remains widely grown at dachas in many Post-Soviet states, where it is often called “the people’s apple” (народное яблоко).
Uses of the Antonovka
Due to the relatively low ratio of sugars in the fruit, Antonovka apples are especially well-suited for apple pies and late apple wine. The taste of the wine is noticeably lighter than wine from sweeter cultivars. In Poland, Antonówka is used mostly for apple preserves.