Q: How is it possible to have apples readily available for most of the year?
Far from being a ‘forbidden fruit’ there are 2.6 billion apples grown in Australia each year, with the majority being consumed domestically. In recent years the most dominant varieties have been Granny Smith and Pink Lady™, which between them accounted for approximately 55% of total production. However like any food, trends come and go, so here is an overview of the top varieties and what they’re good for.
Pink Lady™ (Cripps Pink): Crisp, fine sweet flesh.
Best for: Cooking(salads, sauces and pies) due to the high sugar content
Background: Cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. To be sold as Pink Lady™ it must meet quality standards set out by the Dept of Agriculture and Food, WA.
Granny Smith: Crisp tart, tangy flavour that gets sweeter as it matures
Best for: Baking, freezing, salads, sauces and pies.
Background: An Australian native discovered in 1868 by “Granny” Anne Smith of Ryde, NSW. One parent is believed to be the French crab apple.
Royal Gala: Juicy and aromatic- slightly sweeter than Delicious apples
Best for: Sauces but is also tasty fresh and in salads
Background: Royal Gala and Gala originated in NZ in the 1930s as a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious.
Jonathan: Tangy (mixture of sweet and acid)
Best for: Snacking (early season only) and all purpose cooking
Background: Old fashioned eating variety from the US
Golden Delicious: Sweet and rich
Best for: Eating fresh and baking
Background: Originated in 1912 in West Virginia, USA.
Red Delicious: Refreshing mild sweetness
Best for: Salads and desserts
Background: Originated in Iowa, USA in the early 1870’s
Jonagold: Sweet and juicy
Best for: Cooking- hot or cold dishes.
Background: Originated in New York State in 1968 as a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious.
Fuji: Crisp and juicy with sweet honey tones
Best for: Eating fresh, baking and stewing
Background: Fuji originated in Japan where it is a major variety.
Braeburn: Sharp, sweet and juicy
Best for: Desserts and cooking (baking, sauces and salads)
Background: Originated in NZ in the 1950s and is now hugely popular worldwide, thought to be a cross between a Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith.
Sundowner ™ (Cripps Red): Sweet and distinctive
Best for: Eating fresh, also good for baking as it keeps its shape
Background: Cripps Red (sold as Sundowner™) is related to Pink Lady™ and is a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. Originated in WA.
Source: Aussie Apples
A: Controlled atmosphere storage enables apple growers to store their fruit for long periods without deterioration in freshness and flavour. Much the same as cold storage (i.e. regulated temperature and humidity) controlled atmosphere storage slows the ripening process even further by reducing oxygen and increasing carbon dioxide levels in the air. Early forms of this were used by the Romans who used limestone caves (with high Carbon Dioxide levels) in France to the same effect.