The humble apple is one of Australia’s favourite fruits, and for good reason. Apples are not only sweet and delicious, they’re also easy to carry around without tarnishing, and can be enjoyed in countless ways.
Apples are truly versatile – with sweet creations like apple pies, crumbles and toffee apples, more savoury options like an accompaniment for your roast pork, or the classic option – crunching right into a fresh apple.
Apples also feature throughout history. For example, the ‘forbidden fruit’ that Adam and Eve ate in the Book of Genesis is commonly portrayed as an apple, and William Tell famously shot an apple off the head of his child, supposedly helping to kick off the Swiss revolution in 1307.
Apple growing in Australia dates back to the First Fleet in 1788, with the first recorded crop harvested in 1791 from a tree which had been brought across the Indian Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.
In 1792, Captain William Bligh anchored HMS Bounty off Bruny Island and the ship’s botanist planted three apple seedlings and several apple and pear pips on that island to begin plantings on the ‘apple isle’. Within a few decades, sailing ships were transporting supplies of Tasmanian apples to England and by 1900, Tasmania had over 1,000 apple varieties growing, mostly in the Huon Valley.
These days, there are countless varieties of apple, many of which can be found in autumn at the Market.
Tree Tops Batlow offers a huge range of popular apples including Pink Lady, Rosy Glow, Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathan Gold, Braeburn, Sundowner, and Bonza.
If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, you should try the Lady Laura apple from Thornbrook Orchard – they’re one of only two producers in Australia that grow it.
An organic apple producer a little closer to home is Loriendale Orchard in Hall, and Lindfield Park Produce grow their very own Macquarie Bell apples, as well as the more traditional Gala and Jonathan varieties.
One of our stallholders, Owen Pidgeon, has provided us with a brief history and description of the different varieties of apples available at the Market:
Royal Gala – A New Zealand apple created in 1934 with a rich, honey flavour. Excellent for eating, making apple sauce and apple juice. It holds its shape when cooked.
Red Delicious – A seedling tree found in Iowa, USA in the 1870s. They were then planted across the globe in the mid-20th century and in that time, it has been said that they’ve lost some of their original flavour. Red Delicious apples are crisp, densely sweet, and juicy when allowed to ripen on the tree. They’re great for eating fresh or to use in making apple pies.
Bonza – Our very own regional apple, discovered in Batlow in 1950. Red in colour, these apples can get quite large. They are crisp and juicy, with a Jonathan-like flavour. They have a good shelf life and are great eating apples, especially in fruit salads, and they’re excellent for drying and for making apple sauce.
Jonathan – A chance seedling discovered in 1826 growing in the scrub of Ulster County, New York State. Jonathan apples are a fine apple with a red flush that are juicy and sweet to the taste, and they make for an excellent apple sauce.
Golden Delicious – Another North American apple which is now grown around the world. These were first found in 1890 growing in an orchard in Clay County, West Virginia. In the past century, it has been selected by researchers to use as one parent for many breeding programs (including the popular Pink Lady and Sundowner varieties). When ripened on the tree and freshly picked, it is a wonderful, juicy apple. As well as being good for making apple puree and dried apple, these apples keep their shape when cooked.
Fuji – This fine apple was bred in the Tohoku Research Station in Fujisaki, Aomori Prefecture, Japan in 1939. Generally available in early April but there are now some Fuji subvarieties with slightly earlier ripening. They are just a fine, juicy apple ready to bite into at any time.
Mutsu – Another fine apple bred in the Aomori Prefecture in the north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, this time in 1930 at the Aomori Apple Station. This apple’s parents are the Golden Delicious and the Indo. They can grow to be quite large, with a slight yellow blush on green skin. When cooked, Mutsu apples keep their shape and retain their sweetness.
If you’re picking up fresh apples from the Market this month, why not try out this fantastically simple recipe for raw apple and beetroot salad, developed by Forchefs for the CRFM Cookbook:
Grate the beetroot into a bowl and add the walnuts.
Chop up the cos lettuce and grate the apple.
Mix the dressing in a small bowl and add on top of salad.
Crumble the goat’s cheese on top and toss lightly.
Top with a little more goat’s cheese to serve.