April’s fruit of the month is apples. Australia is said to be the world’s healthiest apple-growing environment and apples are grown in all states with Victoria being the leading producer. There are many varieties of apples grown in Australia, some of the more familiar being Bonza, Gala, Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathon, Pink Lady and Fuji. Seasons for the different types do vary, so ask your greengrocer which variety is the best at the time.
Apples have long thought to be a healthy food – “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are rich in quercetin, which has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive and cardio-protective properties.
When buying apples, choose firm unbruised fruit with an even colour and a pleasant smell. Apples can be kept up to 3 weeks at room temperature (depending on variety and termperature), but one rotten apple will spoil the lot as decay spreads quickly.
Although apples require no preparation to be eaten as a snack, there are a myriad of different ways they can be enjoyed. Here are 5:
1. Bake a real homemade apple pie and serve piping hot with lots of cream.
2. Include apple slices on a cheese platter.
3. Make baked apples by stuffing cored applies with dried fruit, spice and honey, dot with a little butter and bake at 200°C for 30 minutes or until tender.
4. Serve homemade apple sauce with roast pork.
5. Make toffee apples by dipping red apples on a stick into toffee and allowing to harden.