Know your apples and pears
With a growing number of different apple and pear cultivars produced around the world today, the options for fruit-lovers are wide and varied. While the benefits of antioxidant-rich fruits like berries are well known, commonly consumed fruits, like the pear and apple, have many nutritional benefits as well.
The average apple can range in size from 158-260 grams, and a typical 200g apple usually has around 117 calories, with around 0.4 grams of fat, 0.75 grams of protein and about 28 grams of carbohydrates. Apples also contain small amounts of most other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. The nutritional values in different varieties of apples usually only differ by a single per cent at most, meaning choosing the best apple for you really can come down to your tastebuds.
Like apples, pears come in a variety of different types. They are roughly the same size as apples, with an average pear ranging between 140 and 230 grams. In an average pear (200g) you would usually find 114 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 0.8 grams of protein and about 30 grams of carbohydrates. They also include calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, B-complex vitamins and vitamin E. Unlike apples, differences in nutritional values between pears can be much more extreme.
The Crimson Gold
A thin-skinned apple bursting with a bright, crisp and complex taste. The sweet and tart flavour lends itself wonderfully to an apple best eaten out of hand. However, Crimson Gold apple are also good when baked, poached and create delicious apple jelly due to the light density of the flesh. This variety of apple is actually a modern cultivar of applecrab, meaning it is a cross between a crabapple and a domesticated apple, meaning they are traditionally smaller than other varieties.
The Pink Lady
Get some natural “fizz” from a Pink Lady. Ideal for fresh, out-of-hand eating, Pink Lady apples also make great dessert apples. Because the flesh of the Pink Lady is slow to oxidize once it is cut, it is particularly good for cheese boards, sandwiches and salads. However, the sweet-tartness also give additional flavour and sugar to applesauce and purees. They retain their shape when baked in pies and tarts, and can be poached in cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla-infused sauces. Pink Lady brand apples must meet certain trade mark quality specifications including sugar content, firmness and blemish control.
Sometimes referred to as the Beurré d'Anjou, the juicy Anjou, is a short-necked cultivar of the European pear. It is thought to have originated in the mid-19th century in Belgium or France. It can be used for baking or sliced in salads, and they are also good for poaching, roasting, grilling or eating fresh. Because this pear does not show ripeness by colour, it is recommended to test the top near the stem with a slight press of the thumb until it gives slightly. This is because pears ripen from the inside out and the top is closest to the inside.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about Fuji apples is they have an extraordinarily long shelf life compared to other apples, even outside of the fridge. But with refrigeration, Fuji apples can remain fresh for an incredible 12 months. The Fuji apple was named after the town where it was developed: Fujisaki and it originated as a cross between two American apple varieties—the Red Delicious and the Virginia Ralls Genet. It is thought to be the largest-sized apple on the market and has a lovely blush skin with a dense and sweet flesh inside. They have bright red stripes over their creamy yellow flesh and they usually have a good shape from growing in ideal weather conditions. Bite into one for a quick and tasty snack, or use them piled on crepes and pancakes.
A Conference pear is a variety of pear that was developed in Britain by Thomas Francis Rivers from the Rivers Nursery in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. These pears are good both raw and cooked and are wonderful when baked and roasted. Conference pears can also be poached in citrus zest or a simple syrup, baked on a pizza, blended in smoothies with ginger, roasted in warm spices, or baked in tarts or cheesecake.