We've teamed up with Countdown to cover all you need to know about amazing apples, which varieties to use in recipes and why they are so good for you.
Dating back to ancient Rome, apples are a member of the Pomes family along with pears, quinces and nashi. With varieties that range from super-sweet to tart, and whether you prefer green, red, yellow or blushed fruit, there a perfect apple for every taste. They work well in both sweet and savoury dishes, but best of all they are available all year round!
Where apples grow
While apples grow all over New Zealand, one very special apple grower is John Altham from Sunfruit Orchards in Hamilton. Watch the video to see the steps he takes to grow and deliver delicious premium apples. A passionate third-generation orchard owner, John has been growing apples for 40-50 years, and he supplies Countdown supermarkets with seven to eight million apples per year - wow!
Are you thinking of ways to reduce food waste? Even though we are used to apples looking perfectly smooth and unblemished, there's nothing wrong with them if they look a bit different or slightly odd. Look out for the Odd Bunch bags of apples in store at Countdown, as they help reduce waste and save you money - it's a win, win!
Know thy apple
With so many wonderful varieties, it's a good idea to know which apple work best in certain recipes. Some apples stay firm when cooked while others become big softies, making them perfect for apple sauce! So here's a little Apple 101 to get you sorted with the right apple for the job.
Braeburn, Pink Lady and Jazz apples are all firm cooking apples that work well when you want the shape and texture of the apple to remain present after cooking. Use firm cooking apples for this amazing savoury Alpine macaroni and cheese with roasted apples, a Swiss favourite that combines the sweetness of apples, with a rich cheesy flavour. Or why not enjoy a delicious family dessert with our apple and pear free-form tart. Trust us; it tastes a good as it looks!
Both Royal Gala and Granny Smiths are your go-to when you are after an apple sauce for Sunday's roast pork. We also love this pork, apple and prune casserole for the perfect one-pot family meal, sprinkled with fresh sage and brimming with contrasting flavours. Thyme is a herb that also partners beautifully with apples, so whip up these apple, cheddar and thyme pies, perfect with a salad for dinner or weekend lunch. For a sweet treat don't forget to team apples with caramel, nuts, cream and toffee flavours with our all-time favourites being caramel, apple and pistachio cake, salted caramel baked apples or these sugar-free muffin pan pies served with lashings of whipped cream!
Of course, apples are wonderful raw, and any variety you love to eat will work well with these recipes! Serve this overnight apple muesli with yoghurt and honey for a simple, easy and delicious start to the day. Raw apple adds the x-factor to coleslaws, so impress your guests or family with this blue cheese and apple barbecued chicken slaw, or combine with paprika crumbed schnitzel and make this crunchy apple and mint slaw - delish!
An apple a day
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is an old, but wise saying. Apples are nutritional powerhouses, free from fat and cholesterol. They are high in fibre, vitamins C and antioxidants which all add up to a healthy cardiovascular, digestive and immune system. The high fibre content is also known to help clean teeth and gums, so keep popping them in your children's lunchboxes. When storing your apples at home, we suggest the crisper section of your refrigerator but remember they are one of the highest producers of ethylene, a ripening hormone. So keep apples away from ethylene sensitive veggies such as broccoli.