Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Fruit

Apples are the fruit of Malus domestica, and they are a very important food in all cooler climates. They are related to, but not interchangeable with crabapples. To a greater degree than other tree fruit, except possibly citrus, apples store for months while still retaining much of their nutritive value. Winter apples, picked in late fall and stored just above freezing in a cellar or "fruit room" have been an important food in Europe and the USA since the 1800s.

Characteristics edit

Domesticated apples have a firm flesh and thin, edible skin that is usually green, red, yellow, pink, or some combination thereof. The flesh surrounds a tough core, which contains the seeds.

Flavor edit

Apples tend to be sweet with sour notes, depending on the cultivar. Apple cultivars specific for cider production tend to be too sour to eat on their own. Green apples may have a grassy flavor. Some unusual cultivars have unique flavor profiles, such as the Egremont Russet with its richly nutty flavor.

Cultivation edit

Most modern apple breeding has focused on high yield and commercial presentability—uniformity of color, size and shape, and the ability to withstand transport with minimal bruising—with little thought given to eating quality. Many newly developed apple cultivars are soft but crisp. Old cultivars are often richly flavored, but are commercially nonviable due to low yield, poor transportability, and poor appearance, often being oddly shaped, and russeted and have a variety of textures and colors. Some old cultivars are still produced on a large scale, but many have been kept alive by home gardeners and farmers that sell directly to local markets. Apple conservation campaigns have sprung up around the world to preserve such local heirlooms from extinction.

Cultivars edit

Multiple apple varieties

There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. Some of the most common commercial apple cultivars include:

  • Braeburn (Australia, New Zealand)
  • Cox's Orange Pippin (Britain, New Zealand - old cultivar, but still very popular)
  • Fuji (Asia, Australia, North America)
  • Gala (Australia, New Zealand)
  • Golden Delicious (United States, Europe)
  • Granny Smith (Australia, California)
  • Jonagold (United States)
  • Jonathan (United States)
  • McIntosh (Canada, United States)
  • Red Delicious (Australia, United States)
  • Winesap (United States)

Firmer apples are suitable when appearance is important. Softer apples and those with higher malic acid content will break down more easily.[1]

Seasonality edit

Seasonality tables | Autumn | Winter | Spring | Summer | All year
Apples Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern hemisphere                        
Southern hemisphere                        

In the northern hemisphere, the apple season starts in July with the early cultivars, which are harvested until August. Later cultivars are harvested until October. Since apples store exceptionally well under refrigeration, they are available out of season without much effort or loss of flavor.

Apples do not flower in tropical climates because they have a chilling requirement.

Selection and storage edit

Select apples with no breaks in their skin or dented/bruised spots. They should be firm and crisp, with no soft spots or mealiness. Avoid any signs of decay or rot.[2][1] Summer apples keep poorly and should be used relatively quickly. At home, fall varieties will store well in a cold place for 6 weeks.[2][1] Air circulation will delay spoilage.

Preparation edit

Apple skins may be left on or removed with a peeler, depending on use and preference. For the most part, apple cores must be removed prior to use in cooking, as they are tough and contain seeds with cyanide compounds. Cores can be separated out using a dedicated coring tool or by cutting the flesh away from the core. Alternatively, the apple can be quartered and a paring knife used to trim the core from each quarter.

If you want to prevent cut apples from browning, coat them with an acidic liquid such as citrus juice and/or keep away from oxygen.[2]

Uses edit

Apples can be processed and cooked in a variety of ways. The unfiltered juice of apples is known as apple cider, and it can be further processed into a clear apple juice. Apple cider can also be used to make fermented ("hard") cider, vinegar, and cider syrup. Hard cider can also be distilled into applejack and Calvados.

Apples are an important ingredient in many fall and winter desserts, including apple pie, apple crumble, and apple cake. Whole apples are often eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be dried for later use. Cooked, puréed apples are generally known as applesauce, and they are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. Apples pair well with many meat dishes, as the acidity cuts through the fat and lends brightness.[3]

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b c Labensky, Sarah; Martel, Priscilla; Damme, Eddy Van (2015-01-06). On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Updated Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-388675-7.
  2. a b c Gisslen, Wayne (2015-03-12). Essentials of Professional Cooking, 2nd Edition. Wiley Global Education. ISBN 978-1-119-03072-0.
  3. Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.