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It's crunch time for cooking with apples

November 5, 2012
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The apple may well be an everyday British fruit but that's not to say that they don't make for the perfect ingredient for delicious recipes and along them comes a number of health benefits.We've all heard the phrase 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'. And with apples of different textures, colours, tastes, shapes and sizes there is undoubtedly an apple out there for every taste buds - whether it be a beloved classic Cox or a fun and sweet Pink Lady. In fact, there are more than 7,000 members in the global apple family - as a result of natural variation and the work of experimental gardeners who tirelessly graft and cross varieties in search of the perfect crunch.

This dependable household fruit is the ultimate pre-packaged snack, as well as being a welcome ingredient in pork dishes, salads and drinks. They maintain their shape well when cooked making them ideal for baking and pastries. Cooking apples such as Bramleys are often eye-wateringly sour in their raw form but they mellow upon cooking so you might not need as much sugar as you think.Versatility aside, they are bursting with health benefits. They score high in the fibre and vitamin C stakes and help keep your teeth squeaky clean too. And think before you peel! The skin is also a nutritionally valuable part of an apple as it is full of the quercetin antioxidant, a useful ally in protecting your lungs from pollutants.

Thanks to modern farming techniques, you can enjoy British apples from September through to May. Early season flavours are subtle and light and by spring they are more full-bodied. Look for an apple with a smooth, wrinkle-free skin. And maybe try something a little different with one of the more interestingly named apples such as a Cat’s Head, a Peasgood Nonsuch or a Laxton’s Superb.Now that we have you enthused for your apple consumption, try out one of these tasty recipes:

Apple and Walnut Crumble

Apple Tarte Tatin

Phil Vickery's Green Thai Fish Curry with Bramleys

Brie, Smoked Chicken and Apple Ciabatta

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