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Know your apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – or so they say. We get to the core of this popular fruit.

Availability: Apples are in season from February to August, depending on the variety. Gala and Royal Gala are the first to be picked, Fuji the last.

Choosing: Thanks to cool store technology, apples are available all year, but they're at their best when they're newly in season.

Nutrition: Apples contain a range of vitamins, minerals and fibre and have very good antioxidant activity. Don't make a habit of eating the seeds though – they contain a naturally occurring toxin called amygdalin. The occasional seed is not a problem, but for a young child, swallowing only a few seeds could be serious.

Royal Gala: Has a bright red stripe on a creamy yellow background. Sweet, crisp flavour with firm white flesh. Harvested in late February to late March.

Gala: Pink blush on a yellow skin. Very sweet and crisp. Harvested from late February to late March.

Jazz: A bright red Gala/Braeburn cross. Very crisp and juicy with a unique aromatic flavour. Harvested  from early March to late April.

Red Delicious: Sweet with a dark red-striped skin. Harvested from mid-March to mid-April.

Braeburn: Large, with a clean, semi-sweet flavour and crisp, juicy, white flesh. Features a bold red stripe on a partly orange-red background. Stores very well. Harvested in late March and April.

Granny Smith: Bright green with a crisp, white flesh. Refreshing and tangy. Excellent for cooking. Harvested in April and early May.

Pacific Rose: Developed in New Zealand from a Gala/Splendour cross. Unique rose-pink skin. Medium to large in size, with a rich, sweet flavour and crisp, juicy flesh. Stores well. Harvested in April.

Fuji: Very sweet. Varies from a soft pink stripe to a bright red colour. Matures in the latter part of the season and stores well.

Apple cooking tip

If you are using sliced apples in cooking, stop flesh from turning brown by drizzling with lemon juice.

First published: May 2009



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