A guide to our favourite apples and their uses
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but health benefits aside, this fleshy, fibrous gift from mother earth has a great range of uses and offers plenty of options in the kitchen thanks to the impressive list of apple varieties available. Here are some of our go-to favourites in South Africa and how you can add them to your culinary rotation.
Created by Japanese growers in the 1930s, this apple has a delicious sweetness that makes it perfect for eating raw. In fact, it is best served raw and can be a good counterpart for savoury items like a creamy cheese or red meat. It’s also one of the best apple varietals for freezing, retaining its taste and crispness if you want to keep them for another day.
Gala apples are sweet with a luxurious, smooth texture that makes it delicious when eaten raw or after being cooked. The gala has a milder flavour than some of its sweeter counterparts and is great for pressing into something like a cider. Like the Granny Smith the Gala’s firmness is great for baking but it’s a less tart alternative if you don’t want to compromise sweetness.
This cheery looking yellow-green guy has a crisp, sweet flavour profile making it ideal for desserts and as an addition to salads. Its taste is so desirable that it is in fact a parent in many popular hybrid apple varieties, including the Gala and Pink Lady. It is also thin skinned and soft making it a great option for applesauce and apple butter. The downside? That oh so soft flesh bruises easily so your shelf life when it comes to a Golden Delicious is limited.
From sweet to sour, this stunning bright green creation is known for its impressive tart flavour, crisp skin and juiciness and is great for everything from a pressed juice to pie. While fresh it has a great sour taste so can pair well with savoury dishes and feels well suited to something like a cheese board, but when cooked its sweeter side comes out. Thanks to its firmness this apple retains its texture and its bite and is perfect for tarts and pies where it can balance sweetness and acidity.
Dubbed, “the champagne of apples’” the Pink Lady is sweet and tart thanks to its 200-day growing period. Famous for being the first apple with a trademark, they’re great for a snack and retain their shape and flavour when cooked, which makes them ideal for poaching and pureeing, meaning it is perfect for applesauce.