10 Different Types of Apples (And What to Do With Them)
An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away, or so the old saying goes. But they really are an interesting fruit, and there is a lot to learn about them. There’s countless varieties of apples and a whole recipe book of ways to use them so let’s learn a little more about apples!
Different tastes, textures, colours, different seasons and different uses in the kitchen. So where do we start?
Well here at Foodlum, like the rest of Australia, we’re officially in Apple Season, what better time is there to have a look at the Apples that we have available to us in Australia, all the weird and the wonderful. Right now, at the beginning of winter, is the best time of the year to go apple picking, or if you can’t make the trip, shopping for the freshest possible apples.
How About Them Apples?
As Aussies, we genuinely love our Apples. Locally, we grow over 1.6 billion apples a year and we eat over 200 million kilos of apples a year, only second to Bananas. Prime apple eating time in Australia is the late afternoon, when we’re looking for something nutritious, filling and tasty to get us through till dinner time.
The most popular varieties in Australia are the Pink Lady, the Royal Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith and the Delicious Apples. Some of the lesser known, but equally delicious apples include the Envy, Jazz, Kalei, and the Yello varieties.
And remember, these aren’t the names of different farmers that produce these Apples, these are just the different varieties. Apples of the same variety will have similar characteristics and tasting profiles but will obviously have some differences depending on how they were grown and where.
Apple Growing Areas in Australia tend to thrive off their cool climates, which is essential to properly set fruit. Growing Regions include: Bilpin in NSW, Stanthorpe in South QLD, Central Victoria, the Huon Valley in TAS and Donnybrook in WA, where the Pink Lady originated.
There’s more than you could ever remember, but that’s okay! Everyone has a different palate and a different idea of what constitutes the perfect Apple. Some people love them rock hard for extra crunch, some a bit softer. Some like them sweet as Apple Juice, some prefer them a bit sour. Whatever your preference, there’s a perfect Apple for you!
Year Old Apples Sold as Fresh?
While this is currently apple season, you will still be able to purchase these same Apple varieties at Woolworths, Coles and other major supermarkets right though to December, January and February next year.
How is it possible that I’ve eaten an apple that’s 6-12 months old?
Well conventional apples are the fruit that is cold stored most. After picking, they’re transported to a cold storage facility, where they are kept in atmosphere controlled rooms. These rooms have low Oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels, so the ripening process tapers off. They are also sprayed with a chemical called SmartFresh, which on a molecular level, is similar to Ethylene (the plant hormone which controls the ripening process). This basically suspends the ripening process in Apples until they are removed from cold storage for sale in Supermarkets.
These apples can be in cold storage for 8 – 12 months, before they’re taken out and put on Supermarket Shelves. That’s why when you buy an out of season apple, it looks picture perfect, but a day later it’s already lacking the crunch and taste of a fresh apple. It's apples and oranges between fresh and cold stored, there just is no comparison to freshness.
Other things to look out for when you’re looking for the freshest possible apple; the waxy feel of the apple. Most apples are coated with a beeswax based chemical that beautifies the apple, covering up small scratches and divots, anything that makes the apple look anything other than perfect and shiny. This wax has a candle like feel to it, and isn’t washed off by water, it’s best to peel or deep clean these apples before consumption.
In order to be classified as Certified Organic, apples cannot be put in cold storage due to the fungicides involved as well as the chemical SmartFresh. A 2019 Study published by the Rodale Institute found that conventionally grown and stored apples host more pathogenic bacteria that can harm human health, than Organic Apples, making them less healthy for the consumer, the plant and the environment. So, if you’re looking to ensure you buy the freshest and healthiest possible apples, shop in season and shop Organic.
Different Varieties of Australian Apples
Royal Gala – The first of the season, medium in size, and the most versatile apple. Has a sweeter flavour profile, best for pies, sauces and salads. They have a light red/pinkish colour, with some areas of yellow. They also have a very mild apple taste, making them great cooking companions or just the right apple for pressing into cider.
Granny Smith – THE Green Apple. Granny Smith Apples were discovered by local resident “Granny” Anne Smith, of Ryde NSW in 1868. Hard green apple with a crisp tart taste. The light green superstar of the Apple family, they’re firm with a tough skin, making them perfect for baking, freezing, salads or even trying your hand at Cider if you’re feeling adventurous?
Pink Lady – Large with a firm, crisp and sweet juicy flesh, excellent in salads and pies. First bite will be a bit tart and sour, followed by a sweeter finish. Pink Lady’s were developed in the 1970’s as a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. Pink Lady apples are rigorously tested to meet sugar, acid and firmness levels, so no matter where you buy them, you know what you’re getting. Old reliable.
Fuji – One of the most popular apples because it’s slightly sweeter than other varieties and smaller in size. Crisp and juicy, with a sweet honey taste. They have a more mild “Apple” flavour if that appeals to you, this makes them great in dishes that call for something extra without being overpowering, best raw in salads, slaws and sauces.
Golden Delicious – They have a bright yellow to golden skin with a reddish hue. Most popular for tarts and pies, can be caramelised for use in baking and scrumptious muffins. They are soft to the touch, unlike other apples, meaning they are soft with a thinner skin. You want to eat or use them in recipes right away to maintain their structure and taste.
Red Delicious – The classic Snow White Apple. Medium to large in size, hard to touch, leads to that perfect crunch. Medium sweetness, balanced with crisp white juicy flesh. Great on its own, or for use in salads.
Envy – The perfect apple for salads and charcuterie boards, this is a small but rich in flavour red apple with perfect white flesh, which remains white and doesn’t brown, after being cut. So, show this off to company, it’s the perfect addition to any cheese platter or fruit salad, you just might make them envious.
Jazz – Jazz apples originated in New Zealand and are a cross between Gala and Braeburn Apples. Crunchy and tangy, this small to medium apple has a sweet finish with a strong flavour profile. They are dense in texture and packed with intense flavour which leans more sweet than sour. Great for baked goods, like muffins, cakes, breads and of course Apple Pies.
Kalei – These apples were developed in Queensland though careful cross pollination, without chemicals or genetic modification. The word Kalei itself, means loveable in Hawaiian, and that’s exactly what these bright red beauties are. They have a long shelf life (Up to 3 weeks) and have a high level of sweetness. Give them a try they might be your new favourite?
Yello – Originating from a fruit breeding program in Japan in the 1990’s, the Yello apple is true to its name. It comes from a mix of the Golden Delicious and Senshu Apple. It has a yellow/golden skin and a complex sweetish flavour that apple lovers keep coming back for year on year. Released in Australia in 2019, Yello apples are a premium apple-y treat.
Selecting Your Apple
The most popular varieties of Australian apples are the Pink Lady and Royal Gala, as these are the most affordable variants. Better tasting apples, like the Yello, Jazz and Kalei are sold for almost double the price, as premium apple trees require the same amount of water and fertilisation yet have a much smaller yield.
Australia is one of the world’s leading producers of Apples. Many of the most popular varieties around the world originated in Australia. If you’ve ever been Apple Picking, you’ll know that they aren’t meant to be eaten straight off the tree. After they are picked, the acidity level of the fruit drops, and the starch in the flesh turns into sugar, giving you that sweet Apple taste.
When choosing apples from the pile in the produce aisle, look for plump, dense, and firm fruits no matter the variety. Soft spots and blemishes mean the apple is past its prime. And the heavier the apple is, the juicier it’s likely to be. Carefully inspect the quality of the Apple, notice its aroma, the apples with a stronger scent tend to be fresher and flavour packed.
Storing Your Apples
Apples will keep the longest when they are stored in cold temperature. They should last about just under a month in your fridge, but in the fruit bowl, they may be lucky to make it a week. So, make sure to store them in the fridge, just ensure they aren’t next to stronger smelling foods like Onion and Garlic, as apples can easily take on the scent and taste of these foods.
Once cut, eat them as soon as possible because they will begin to oxidise immediately (except for Envy apples!). Tossing sliced apples in citrus juice (lemon or lime) will help slow down this process, if you’re trying to create a picturesque salad or slaw with apple in it.
The saying “one bad apple can spoil the bunch” definitely has some truth to it. So, if you’re buying in bulk, make sure you occasionally sort through your apples to remove spoiled produce.
Benefits of Apples
An apple on average is only 80 calories, yet it can feel extremely filling. One single apple has 5 grams of fibre in them, 2/3 of this fibre comes from the peel. Apples are also a great source of Vitamin C and Potassium. Apples have been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Apples are great for weight loss, as they are sweet in taste, relatively low calorie and high in fibre, helping you feel fuller for longer, playing an important, natural role in appetite and weight control.
Apples are also great for your gut’s Microbiome, as Organic apples are associated with a healthier gut bacteria, which is important in maintaining good health and preventing disease.
Well, that was a lot to take in at once, but all in all, we’re just comparing Apples to Apples. As usual, I hope you’ve learned something new and I hope you feel a little more informed before your next fresh food shop. If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, I’d appreciate if you could share this on your socials or talk about it with a friend or two.
Thanks for reading, till next time!