WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
...Keeps the Keebaughs at play!
My father ate an apple every night after dinner, so it became a tradition for me to do the same as a child. Even now as an adult, if I had to choose one fruit to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose the humble apple.
It’s not a showy fruit; it’s delicious, it’s good for you and great for cooking with - it is just so damn versatile. Be it in salads or desserts I can go on forever about fabulous recipes that include this fruit. OK, I'll admit it, I love the styling benefits of apples as well. They look great as the centrepiece of a table, hanging bountifully from branches, and there are so many crafty things you can make from them - so all in all, they are pretty handy!
Available all throughout the year, Australian apples come in many varieties and are grown all over the country. One rotten apple really can ruin the lot, so keeping them as happy and healthy as possible by storing them in the fridge is a must. By doing this, they can last up to six weeks, as opposed to on the bench where they will only last for a week or two. They can last for even longer if you individually wrap your apples in newspaper and store them somewhere cool, a fridge isn’t always needed - you could use your garage or shed, as long as it has a cool temperature. But what’s what? There are so many apple varieties available, how do we know which ones are good for cooking and which ones are good for snacking on? Relax, the apple Queen is here!
Golden delicious apples
Golden Delicious are crisp and sweet and perfect for everything it seems; snacking, cooking, drinks, pies, sauces and for freezing.
Galas are very sweet. Similar to the Golden Delicious, this apple is a great all rounder.
Granny Smith Apples
The Granny Smiths are crunchy and tart. A favourite for pie makers, this apple variety is a great addition to many different recipes where some tartness is needed.
The Fuji Apple is full of crunch and flavour, another great addition to salads and perfect for snacking.
Pink Lady Apples
The Pink Lady is a crunchy and sweet apple with a slight edge of tartiness. Gorgeous in colour, this apple is another all rounder.
There is nothing better than biting into a juicy Pink Lady. I remember cutting them into slices for my kid's lunch boxes only to be met with the complaint that they were brown come lunch time. Slicing them with a sharp knife rather than a blunt one has always made a difference, but unfortunately the browning still occurs. So after a little research, I found some handy tips on how to keep them looking yum.
How to prevent your apples from browning::
- Slice the fruit in water
- Brush or dip sliced apples in lemon juice
- Soak cut fruit in ginger ale
- Soak the slices in salt water
- Sprinkle with ascorbic acid powder
- Wrap a rubber band around a cut apple to hold it in its original form
- And then there’s always, well, don’t do anything
Creative ways to use apples around your home::
- Use them as stamps. Cut them in half and slather with some paint to make a fun apple shaped stamp. Perfect for making wrapping paper. Simply lay your blank paper down and stamp away.
- Do you remember at a party bobbing for apples in a bucket of water? Using nothing but your mouth to try and be the first one to pick (or rather bite) it up out of the water? This is a fun game for a hot summer's afternoon when you're not afraid of getting your hair or face dripping wet.
- Cut out the core of an apple wide enough so you can put tea candles in to create your apple candle holder
- Freeze apple juice in your ice tray to add some sweetness to a glass of water or vodka and tonic
- Using a vegetable peeler, see who can make the longest length of skin peel without it breaking - start at the top and peel around the apple as finely as you can. This was my poppies favourite trick, and the treat was to be able to eat the skin at the end.
- To accelerate ripening. Place unripe bananas, avocados and tomatoes in a paper bag with an apple and it will take you from green and hard to sweet and tender.
- We all love a natural remedy - so let’s see if this one works! To brighten up your face, grate a peeled and cored apple and apply to skin; let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
- Store cakes and baked treats with half an apple, the moisture of the Apple keeps the cake fresh for longer. Just be sure to use an airtight container.
- A kitchen tip I love: Place a slice of apple in a sealed bag with hardened brown sugar. The sugar will be soft again in a few days as the sugar absorbs the moisture of the fruit.
Have these humble fruits inspired you to get snacking? Remember just one a day will keep the doctor away! My favourite is the Fuji, what’s yours?