A shopper looks at the apples in fruit section at Coles.
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production.
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including in cooking, fresh eating and cider production. Domestic apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. Trees are prone to a number of fungal, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means.
About 69 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, and China produced almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is third, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects have been found from eating apples; however, the seeds are slightly poisonous and two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit.
Apples are often eaten raw; except for the seeds, which are slightly poisonous, the whole fruit including the skin is suitable for human consumption but the core is often not eaten, leaving an apple core as a residue. Varieties bred for this purpose are termed dessert or table apples.
Apples can be canned or juiced. They are milled to produce apple cider (non-alcoholic, sweet cider) and filtered for apple juice. The juice can be fermented to make cider (alcoholic, hard cider), ciderkin, and vinegar. Through distillation, various alcoholic beverages can be produced, such as applejack, Calvados, and apfelwein. Pectin and apple seed oil may also be produced.
Apples are an important ingredient in many desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. They are often eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be dried and eaten or reconstituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later use. Puréed apples are generally known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are also used (cooked) in meat dishes.
In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. Similar treats in the US are candy apples(coated in a hard shell of crystallised sugar syrup), and caramel apples, coated with cooled caramel.
Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolise a sweet new year.
Farms with apple orchards may open them to the public, so consumers may themselves pick the apples they will buy.
Sliced apples turn brown with exposure to air due to the conversion of natural phenolic substances into melanin upon exposure to oxygen. Different cultivars vary in their propensity to brown after slicing. Sliced fruit can be treated with acidulated water to prevent this effect.
Popular Varieties from Australia
Australian Apples come in many delicious varieties. Different varieties are grown in different areas of Australia and are picked at different times of the year. Popular varieties of Australian apples include Jonathan, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, Braeburn, Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™), Granny Smith, Jazz™ and Cripps Red (sold as Sundowner™).
Medium in size with a sweet flavour, ideal for pies, sauces and salads.
Royal Gala are characterised by a blush of pink of the skin, the colour varies from yellow to almost orange with deep orange stripes.Gala is a round sweet apple that fits nicely into a child’s hand. It is dense, sweet, aromatic and juicy with a white flesh.Gala can be eaten fresh, included in salads or used as a cooking apple and is particularly suited to sauce.
Its small size makes it a great snack and a favourite with children.
The Jonathan is an old-fashioned eating apple favoured by many mature Australians who treasure their crisp, juicy flesh and tangy flavour.
Popular in tarts and pies, can also be caramelised for cakes and muffins.
Golden Delicious has a bright yellow to golden skin colour, sometimes with a pink tinge. It is at its best when the skin turns from green to gold.It is excellent as an eating apple, with its crisp, creamy, white flesh, which is sweet, tasty and juicy.
A medium to large apple with a medium sweetness and scrip white, juicy flesh. Great in salads.
Red Delicious are a crimson to dark red apple, characterised by five distinct crowns on the base.It has a sweet, highly aromatic, creamy, white flesh.Red Delicious is popular in many dessert dishes.
A large apple ideal for cooking, suitable for both hot and cold recipes.
Jonagold has a bright red skin over a yellow base.It is a sweet, juicy, crisp and refreshing apple with cream-coloured flesh.
This medium-sized apple is slightly sweeter than other varieties and is great in salads, pies and sauces. Can be frozen.
The skin colour of Fuji can vary, but it has a predominantly red/dull pink blush over a greeny/yellow base.A big apple with a honey sweet taste, Fuji often has a see through core. It is firm-textured, crisp and juicy with an extremely dense flash.Many consider Fuji to be the perfect eating apple, Fuji has a high sugar content which makes it good for cooking as it will retain its shape.
A unique combination of sweet and tart flavour, great in pies, salads and sauces. Medium to large in size.
The Braeburn skin has a red blush and stripes over a yellow background.A crisp, juicy apple, it has a cream-coloured flesh and a unique flavour that combines sweetness and tartness.Originating in New Zealand in 1952, Braeburn is thought to be a cross between a Lady Hamilton and Australia’s own Granny Smith.
– orCripps Pink
Large with a firm, sweet, crisp juicy flesh. Excellent in salads,sauces and pies.
Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™) has a pink blush over a greenish yellow base skin. Known as the Queen of apples, it is a crisp apple with a dense, firm flesh and an excellent, almost effervescent flavour. Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™) has a high sugar content making it perfect for cooking.
A hard apple with a crisp tart flavour perfect for baking, freezing, salads, sauces and pies.
Granny Smith is one of the best cooking apples with a sensational tart, tangy flavour. When fully mature the sweetness level of this popular apple increases. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack, in pies or as a sauce.
A crunchy, effervescent cross between Gala and Braeburn apples. Small to medium in size, with a tangy, sweet flavour.
The newest addition to the apple family, Jazz™ apples are a crunchy, effervescent and distinctively original new variety. A cross between Gala and Braeburn apples, it has a firm but dense flesh and a tangy, sweet flavour somewhat reminiscent of peaches and melon. Small to medium in size, Jazz™ apples feature a pink/red blush over a light green background.
Perfect for baking and a great eating apple.
Cripps Red (sold as Sundowner™) have a dark red skin and round shape. Its most prominent feature is white markings called lenticels that occur naturally on the skin.Sugar levels in Cripps Red apples (sold as Sundowner™) improve with storage, making them a sweet, flavoursome apple, perfect for baking.