21st October is National Apple Day. Yes, it’s a celebration of apples in all their gorgeous variety – in the UK alone there are nearly two and a half thousand varieties – but it’s about loads more than that. Launched by the environmental group Common Ground in 1990, it’s about the joys of autumn, the beauty of the seasons, and the richness of local ecologies. Why import apples from Australia when you can get them from your nearest orchard?
The doctor away
The humble apple also delivers a serious health and wellbeing boost. Apples are crammed with tasty goodness. Rich in antioxidants to burn up all those free radicals, full of fibre for healthy digestion, and high in vitamins A and C to pump up your immune system, they’re minor miracles. Add to that vitamin K for healthy blood clotting and biotin for fat absorption and it’s no wonder we’re talking superfoods. There’s also some evidence that apples can help reduce anxiety, lift mood and enhance concentration. Apples also contain quercetin, the same health-enhancing flavonoid found in red wine and onions – great for cardio-vascular health.
Although all apples are good for you, some may be better than others. Pink Ladies are high in antioxidants, Granny Smiths are great for your gut biome, while Royal Gala, Fuji and Red Delicious all come out high in nutritional tests – so shop around. For maximum nutritional benefit eat as fresh as possible and consider going organic – there won’t be any pesticide residues in the skin.
Shrink that carbon footprint
National Apple Day is all about local apples, local varieties, local producers. An apple from Kent has a tiny carbon footprint compared to one from South America. You can also look around for fruit and veg boxes delivered straight to your door from local farms and orchards – maxing out the health benefits and shrinking that carbon footprint. Check out local markets and greengrocers and choose local produce in supermarkets – if in doubt, ask where they come from. Local varieties can also be tasty – sweet and floral or sharp and citrusy.
Apples are also big business. Currently British apple lovers consume about 122,000 tonnes a year – that’s enough to fill 325 swimming pools. Sadly, not enough of these are home grown. Sales of British classics like Cox’s Orange Pippin, Egremont Russet and Worcester Pearmain are dwindling. Gala, with its spin-off Royal Gala, is now the biggest selling apple in the UK, closely followed by Pink Lady and Jazz, also from Down Under.
But if you want to keep ringing the flavour changes and want to go easy on the environment – which means eating seasonal – then go local. October is a great month for British apples so take a look at Cox, Lord Lambourne, St Edmund’s Pippin, Rubens, Egremont and Red Pippin, all delicious, all in season now.
And as it’s Autumn, why not try this hearty, healthy Apple Crumble.
- Mix 100g of oats with a tbsp of maple syrup and two of coconut oil
- Soften 400g of cored, peeled and roughly chopped apples in a tbsp of coconut oil – fry for about five mins
- Add 1.5 tbsps of brown sugar and a tsp of cinnamon and fry for two more mins
- Put the apples in a baking dish
- Top with the oat mix
- Put in a pre-heated oven at 200°c for 20 mins
Serve with ice cream, custard or yoghurt. And don’t forget to enjoy.