Apples - Chieftain


Quick Facts

Chieftain apples were developed in 1917 by Spencer Beach, an 1887 graduate of Iowa State College. One of the most prominent horticulturists of his time, Beach returned to Iowa State to serve as the head of the horticulture and forestry department in 1905 and additionally served as vice dean of agriculture two years later in 1907.

Interested in developing cold-hardy apples, Beach crossed Jonathan and Red Delicious apples to produce the Chieftain variety in 1917. Since being introduced commercially in 1968, the Chieftain apples have been a symbol of Iowa State's horticulture program and a favorite of many consumers. According to the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association Chieftains have exceeded both Jonathan and Red Delicious apples in popularity.

Characterized by a balanced sweet and tart flavor, Chieftains are excellent for both cooking and eating fresh. The Horticulture Research Station currently has over 300 Chieftain trees in its orchards.

Type: Fruit
Quantity sold in: 5-lb bag
Availability: Late September
Flavor: Balanced sweet/tart
Color: Red
Size: Medium
Uses: Eating fresh, cooking
Grown in: Orchard
Grown by: Horticulture Research Station

Storage and Preparation

Storage: Keeps for 1-2 months
Short Term Storage: It is important to sort apples before storing.  Remove any apples that are bruised, cut or show decay.  Plan to consume the larger apples first and save smaller apples for later in the season.  Larger apples will be the first to begin to loose quality and show signs of internal breakdown.  The optimum storage temperature for apples is 30-32 degrees F.  Apples should be stored in the refrigerator or another cool location.  Apples should be stored in 90-95% relative humidity to prevent dehydration.  Apples should not be stored with bananas or tomatoes because this can cause apples to soften.  If storing apples in a basement leave them in a cardboard box out of direct sunlight. 
Long Term Storage: Apples can be frozen, canned or dried.
More information from ISU extension on:

Canning Fruit Spreads
Canning Fruits

Preparation: Apples should be washed before eating or preserving.  Wash apples under cold running water and dry with a clean towel. Cut apples should be covered and refrigerated if not eaten within 2 hours of cutting.


Nutrition: Adults should consume 1.5-2 cups of fruit total per day according to the USDA  MyPlate recommendations. Apples are high in fiber.  One medium apple contains 17% of the total recommended fiber intake per day.  Apples are also a good source of vitamin C.


Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

  • 3/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 pieces
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced, unpeeled apple
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves


  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork.
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
  4. Melt butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add apple slices, 1/3 cup shallots, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes or until apple starts to brown.
  5. Add apple cider to pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves.
  6. Serve apple mixture with the pork.

Apple Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 water
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats


  1. In a small pot combine: apple, apple juice, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; heat to boiling.
  2. Stir in oats and cook 1 minute.  Cover and let stand 2 minutes before serving.