Dutch apple dumplings (Full of Plants)
To buy local organic English apples is not about some xenophobic ‘patriotic’ duty or anything like that. It’s about local people in all countries supporting their own orchards, which is good for you, the planet and local organic farmers. Most apples sold in supermarkets in England are quite old (a few months), covered in chemicals and stored frozen in central distribution houses, which is why most don’t taste very nice. In addition, if not organic they are often sprayed with shellac (dead insects) to make them shiny. If you think you don’t like apples that much, try biting into a crunchy juicy apple from a real orchard, and taste the difference. Carley’s Organic Apple Puree is made from Cornish harvests.
The best place to find local organic apples (unless you grow your own) is community orchards (these often let you pick them for free) or local farm shops. You can also buy them online. Sheffield’s Abundance Project has a free e-book to help you ‘scrump’ windfalls from properties, where the owners can’t reach the fruit. The volunteer gets a third, the landowner gets a third, and the other third is usually donated to local community projects. Also see grow your own fruit trees.
Keep fruit pips/seeds and nutmeg away from pets. Although a little chopped apple is usually safe for horses, too much could give them colic so never feed horses fruit, as others may do this too (pick up windfalls to avoid animals over-feasting and making themselves ill). Same with rabbits – small quantities of apples are safe (but not cores, seeds or stems). One or two slices is plenty, read more on safe rabbits treats.
Apples don’t just grow in Kent, there are orchards nationwide, so you won’t have much trouble finding local apples (pink lady apples don’t grow here, so are never local). Some popular varieties are:
- Braeburn is juicy and quite sweet
- Cox is the most popular with a honey aroma
- Egremont Russet is brown and wrinkly, nutty taste and tastes a bit like pears. Popular in Victorian days, these are good with vegan cheese
- Royal gala has a stripy skin, very sweet
- Bramley apples are the best choice for cooking or baking
- The Orchard Project lists more unusual varieties including the apple banana (it really does taste like a banana), the Rubinette (the ‘best-ever tasting apple) and their own Core Blimey apple!
The Apple Book is a beautiful guide by Rosie Sanders of 144 types of apples from Cox’s Orange Pippin to Egremont Russet. Painted with their blossom, twig and leaf, Rosie offers detailed descriptions of each apple’s aroma, flavour and season, along with history. The book includes an essay on apple growing by Harry Baker, fruit officer for many years at Royal Horticultural Society.
Ideas to Use Apples
- Top your porridge
- Make homemade apple juice
- Make an apple pie smoothie
- Make apple overnight oats
- Slice up and serve with vegan cheese
- Make a homemade apple cake
- Try some stuffed apples
- Make a raspberry apple crumble
- Baked apple chips are a health snack
- Bake apple-walnut breakfast bread
- Bake some apple-maple cinnamon rolls
- Bake some apple-raisin mini-muffins