Apples and autumn go together, while the apple season starts in January it is autumn when they really come into their own once the stonefruit and berries have finished.
All apples have their merits, the first of the season galas, warm from the sun and picked fresh from the tree are fantastic – one of the best things you can find.
New Zealand is well known for its apples – we grow around 130 varieties commercially and Gala, Braeburn and Royal Gala were all developed here now grow all around the world.
With that in mind it makes sense that we have an apple tree or two in our own gardens, with 130 varieties there is sure to be something for most climates.
The Tui NZ Fruit Garden has just arrived on my desk, with a comprehensive guide to growing and caring for apples (as well as every other fruit imaginable) this really is a must for home gardeners who are growing or wanting to grow fruit. Tui also have a genera; fruit tree growing guide
A new favourite apple variety of mine is Jazz– a combination of Gala and Braeburn. Jazz is a mid season apple and appears in stores around mid-April. Developed with flavour and texture in mind, Jazz is juicy, crunchy and has sweetness with a slight tang.
Farmers markets are a great place to source old fashioned apples such as Cox’s Orange – Pippin but it is with delight that Golden Delicious – another one of my favourites seems to be making a comeback into main stream stores this season.
While apples are available all year round they are picked from January to May.
Early season varieties include: Gala, Sunrise,
Middle season: Jazz, Red Delicious, Cox’s Orange, Golden Delicious,
Late Season: Granny Smith, Braeburn, Southern Rose
Most of us were brought up with the rhyme “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away” and new research could add strength to this childhood chant. Apples are a good source of flavonoisds, fibre, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Basically speaking apples may be helpful towards lowering cholesterol, assisting bowel function and help towards lowering the risk of some cancers such as lung and prostate.
Apples best suited for cooking include Braeburn, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein and Ballarat.
While apples such as Golden Deicious and Granny Smith retain their shape when cooked if fluff is what you are looking for then Ballarat could be the apple for you. These apples turn to a light fluffy texture without too much cooking.
My mother in law used to make us the best stewed apple in the world, these jars were given out graciously and then squirreled in the recipients fridge, hidden from other family members and savoured with cereal each morning. It is amazing how something so simple can be so splendid.
Apple desserts are popular and apple crumble is virtually as much a Kiwi dessert as pavlova.
We have a great selection of apple recipes to share, including:
Perfect for autumn – Apple and Feijoa Crumble
This winter special – Caramelised Apple Bread and Butter Pudding
Grandma Ellen’s Apple Cake
One of my favourite cakes – Cardamom and Vanilla Scented Apple Cake
Perfect for the home gardener – Rhubarb and Apple Crumble
Banans surprisingly enough go really well in puddings such as this Apple and Banana Sponge Pudding
Easy as pie Baked Apples
Quick and Easy Apple Tart
Apple and Blackberry Dessert Cake
Apple and Cardamom Friands
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
Some time ago we had a forum discussion on peasant girl with a veil – here is one version of this old recipe that I found on the net but if you have another then please do let us know.
If you have an apple recipe to share then please do send it in – we have a cookbook prize draw for one of the recipes received.
(prize will be drawn May 30 2010).