An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Everybody has heard this, but out of all the different varieties in the shops which apples are the best to choose from? Here’s a guide for how to choose the best apples for different uses and how to recognize the healthiest apple in the aisle.
Apples are known as a healthy food. The wide range of substances balanced in this fruit make apples so healthy. It contains more than 30 minerals and trace elements, as well as important vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin B including niacin and folic acid.
Many different varieties of apples exist but because of the high production costs only 10-15 most popular varieties make it to the shops. If you want to discover new varieties you’ll have to go directly to farmers to find the varieties which are grown on small areas. Since there aren’t too many kinds available in the shops it’s good to know a little bit more about every variety to be able to pick the right one depending on your taste and what you’re going to be using it for.
The goodies in an apple
Compared to black currants who have 200 mg vitamin C/100 g apples aren’t the highest sources of vitamin C. Depending on the variety apples can have between 1-350 mg of vitamin C /100g. As a rule, the cooler the climate is the apple comes from the higher the vitamin C content in the fruit. Braeburn and Idared are among the commercial varieties that contain more vitamin C. Although apples aren’t the greatest source of vitamin C it is likely that you’ll get more vitamin C from them than most other fruits. Simply because apples are very convenient to carry as a snack and can be enjoyed anywhere which makes them one of the most popular fruits right after bananas.
Braeburn and Idared are popular apple varieties with a higher content of vitamin C.
Apples are rich in malic acid which breaks down uric acid and thus provides a natural medicine against gout and rheumatoid diseases. This is the reason why apple cider vinegar is an effective home remedy against uric acid and gout. Just drink a glass of water with one tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar, two to three times a day. It will help get rid of any excess uric acid from your system.
The real health benefits of apples seem to come from their phytonutrients concentrated mostly in their skin. Apples contain several polyphenols which have extra ordinary antioxidant and anti aging properties. Apples produce ployphenols in their skin to protect themselves against UV-B radiation. We get to benefit from all of these amazing phytonutrients when we eat an whole apple with it’s skin.
Polyphenols from apples are researched mostly for their antioxidant abilities. They are linked to increase of life span, anti cancer abilities, preventing blood sugar spikes, … It is important to know that the most positive effects from apples have been noticed when the whole fruit is consumed- with skin and flesh. In a study the effects from whole apples and apple sauce have been compared. It seems that the unique composition of whole apples containing vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber seems to have the most health benefits including protection against cardiovascular diseaese, lowering blood sugar and higher antioxidant power in general.
Red-skinned apples have a higher flavonoid content (due to anthocyanin content) than yellow ones. If the flesh is also tinged with red then the apples are even healthier. So for the most benefits choose red apples.
Red apples have more flavonoids and are healthier than yellow or green apples.
Fiber and pectin
Apples contain a fair amount of fiber including pectin. Pectin has cholesterol-lowering effects, as well as binding toxins. The fiber in apples helps to regulate the digestion by binding harmful substances and promoting a healthy intestinal bacterial flora.
Most common apple varieties
- A sweet-tart juicy apple with gentle texture and an unobtrusive flavor. It originates as a cross from the USA. It’s moderately juicy and sweet with a hint of acidity and little aroma.
- High in vitamin C (20-30 mg/100g).
- It is ideal for cooking and baking.
- Rich and refreshing apple with an intense green color and a pronounced tart taste.
- It has firm flesh which is not very juicy. It’s a cross seedling from Australia.
- Perfect for apple pie.
- Pink Lady has an unique taste and a slight blush on the larger surface of the fruit.
- It’s an Australian cross between Lady Williams and Golden Delicious.
- A good, juicy sweet dessert apple which keeps well.
- Braeburn is a crunchy refreshing dessert apple with a sweet-tart taste. Medium-sized, aromatic with firm flesh and low acidity. From New Zeland.
- High in vitamin C (20-30 mg/100g).
- Ideal for apple cake.
- Has a tart taste refreshing taste. It was very popular at the beginning of the 20th century.
- It is very versatile and can be used fresh for cooking or drying.
- This is a sweet-tart dessert apple with a very pleasant, refreshing aroma. It’s originates from the USA as a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan.
- A versatile apple excellent for fruit salads, baking, sauces and eating raw.
- A very sweet and crisp apple with low acidity.
- It can be used for cooking but is best eaten raw or in fruit salad.
- Empire is a versatile variety with a balanced sweet-tart flavor. They are resistant and less likely to be bruised than other apples.
- It is excellent to be eaten fresh or roasted, baked and sautéed.
- The Red Delicious or Top Red is an apple with large firm fruits, intense red color and a sweet flavor with a slight hint of acidity.
- Best used fresh as a dessert apple.
- Very aromatic juicy apple with a sweet, refreshing taste and gentle red color.
- It’s best used fresh.
- Honey sweet juicy apple with big golden yellow fruits. An aromatic dessert apple.
- Irreplaceable ingredient of fruit salads.
- A very sweet and fragrant apple with low acidity and a round shape. It’s a japanese cross between Ralls Janet and Golden Delicious.
- It is best consumed raw.
How to best use your apples
To get the most nutrition out of your apples it’s best to eat them raw. But if you’re planning to use them in fruit salads, cook or bake them it’s good to know which variety is better suited for the job you need. Here is a chart about the best uses for every apple variety.