Based on the apple tree in my garden, it's evident apples really reach their peak around October/November time. While some varieties are in season earlier in the year, many reach their harvest best in the UK in late autumn – so now is a great time to be making them a part of your daily diet. Keep reading for all things apple related!
It's probably no surprise that there are a huge variety of apples in the world – thousands in fact! Some are grown to eat raw; some are used to make cider and some need to be cooked before being eaten. Although we only come across a handful of types in UK supermarkets, we still experience a wide variety. Unlike other fruits - you know what you're going to get when you ask for a punnet of strawberries for example, apples are incredibly unique. You could get green, tart and crunchy; green, soft and sweet; red, sharp and crisp... the list goes on. When it comes to apples, there really is a variety for everyone.
We know that apples tend to be green or red (or pink, or somewhere between green and red!). But what does this mean in terms of the nutritional content – does it vary greatly between varieties? In short – not really. Despite their different flavours and textures, nutritionally speaking, apples are pretty similar across the board. Green apples may be slightly lower in carbs and sugar than red apples – but the amount is negligible. So when it comes to the best choice, simply pick the one you enjoy the most!
We know apples are very similar nutritionally – so what do they contain? Apples are a great source of vitamin C and fibre – two super important nutrients for our health. Vitamin C is particularly useful at this time of year for supporting our immune system. Fibre, is really essential for our digestive health and could play a role in supporting weight loss. Apples are also rich in antioxidants, which play a part in keeping our cells healthy – which ultimately means a healthier you!
This phrase has been around since the last century and is based on the belief that apples make us healthier. The research into this claim is a little mixed however. While people who often eat apples have been found to need fewer visits to their doctor compared to those who don't, these results can be explained by socioeconomic differences, rather than eating apples alone. That said, one small study did find that participants who ate 2 apples a day for 8 weeks saw a reduction in cholesterol levels compared to participants who did not. Whether a miracle cure or not, apples are ultimately a great addition to our diet – so go for it!
As with any fresh produce, the price of apples can vary greatly – reasons come down to how and where they're grown, as well as supply and demand. It seems our preferences have changed over time. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Cox apples have been eclipsed by newer kids on the block, such as Royal Gala and Pink Lady. Not surprisingly the popular varieties tend to be more expensive. Personally, I'm partial to a Cripps Pink, better known by their brand name 'Pink Lady'. I know I'm not the only one as Pink Lady apples are at least twice the price of other varieties in my local greengrocer. According to the Pink Lady website, their higher price is down to the longer ripening time and need for greater growing expertise than other apple varieties.
Walk into a UK home and it's very likely you'd find apples amongst the fruits of choice stocking the fruit bowl. Apples are in the top 5 most popular fruits in the world – no doubt due to their vast variety, convenience and affordability. Apples are a no faff fruit, simply wash and eat! No need to peel, deseed, unwrap – just grab and go. On top of this, there's a flavour and texture to suit all preferences. So it makes good sense to make sure this versatile fruit features regularly in our diets!
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.