I feel a little sorry for fruits that are at their best in the cooler months. I hear many praises being sung about Summer stone fruit, but not so much love being heaped upon fruits that are at their best in the middle of the year. Perhaps the lack of enthusiasm is because we are so used to having access to apples, oranges and bananas all year round. So when one day last week a good friend invited me to go apple picking with her and her family at a local orchard and then later that same day an email popped into my inbox extolling the virtues of new season Australian apples, I knew it was time to express some appreciation for the humble apple.
Now we all know apples are healthy - "an apple a day..." and all that jazz. Here are a few random facts about apples that you may not be aware of.
- Apples have been linked to a reduced risk of lung cancer in both men and women.
- One study has suggested that when a mother eats apples throughout pregnancy, their child may be less likely to develop asthma later in life.
- Apples are a non dairy source of calcium, and also contain iron and zinc.
- Most of the antioxidants in apples are found in the skin - so eat the whole fruit!
- Apples have 10 times the antioxidant content of Goji Berry juice (a product claimed to be a superfood with the price tag to match).
It was an absolute privilege to be able to visit Glenbernie Orchard in Darkes Forest this week and pick delicious and crisp Pink Lady apples right off the tree. Seeing the fruit growing on the trees and listening to the farmer talk about their produce brings a whole new level of appreciation. What a joy to see the kids sit quietly in the shade of the trees and munch happily away on apples they plucked from the branches with their own hands.
As well as Pink Ladies, the orchard also grows Royal Gala, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Fuji and Granny Smith varieties, which can be purchased at their store, The Apple Shack, along with juices, jams, honey, oils and other fruits. Be sure to check out their Facebook page.
Two apple varieties you may not have heard of are Kanzi and Greenstar apples. These new Australian apple varieties are in season right now and definitely worth a try.
The Kanzi is a cross between a gala and a braeburn apple, delivering a sweet and tangy fruit. These red apples do not bruise easily, making them perfect for school lunch boxes or your work bag.
The Greenstar is a crunchy green variety that is sweeter than the more familiar Granny Smith. Due to its high vitamin C content, the Greenstar apple stays white long after being sliced, making it an ideal apple for beautifully presented salads.
Take a look at this infographic for more tips and keep a look out for these varieties in store at your local green grocer and selected supermarkets.
Are you an apple lover too? Sign up to the Rethink Nutrition mailing list by the start of May to have two delicious apple recipes sent straight to your inbox!
Happy crunching xx