The Complete Guide to British Apples

Reading Time: 8 minutes
British apples

As orchards bloom, we see every corner grocery store transform into fruity heaven with numerous species of delicious fruits. From peaches to mangoes to juicy red apples, there’s a ton of sweet joy you can experience exploring these fruit species.

However, in this article, we will focus mainly on British apples and the different varieties of this delicious fruit that you can enjoy every day. Continue reading to learn more about apple varieties UK.

Introduction to British Apples:

Introduction to British Apples

Whether you want a delicious fruit bowl or a smoothie that pairs well with mid-summer heat, apples make a significant constituent of such treats offering immense flavour and remarkable health benefits. It helps that countless varieties of these British apples may not suit everyone’s taste buds, but they provide a versatile experimentation ground for interested apple lovers.

Here is a fun fact to put things into context, there are around 2500 varieties of apples in UK alone, which means you can have a different tasting apple every day for the next six years. These insane statistics show how huge the world of apple orchards is and how little we have experienced it.

Although apples are a winter fruit, the boost in production has led to a year-round supply, so you can always find them online or in a market.

Types of British Apples - description and best uses:

As describing every British apple variant in the scope of this article is an impossible task, we decided to put together a list of the most common types of apples UK that are famous for their juicy taste. Take a look:

  • Red Prince

Red Prince is the literal description of its name; dark red fruit of premium quality that feels expensive. It is a cross between two parent species, i.e., Golden delicious and Jonathan. It carries the characteristics of both parents as it borrows rich juiciness from the former and crunchy crispiness from the latter.

They originate from the Netherlands, first planted and introduced to the community in 1994. The name Red Prince was the idea of the first grower in the Netherlands, Mr Princen, who strumbled upon this seed and continued to grow it after naming it after himself. North Americans have only recently discovered this luscious variety of apples and are now preparing recipes with it.

The dark colour of this treat shows the presence of rich antioxidants that promotes a healthy lifestyle and reduces the risk of terminal diseases such as cancer. It also has a large amount of Vitamin C, pectin, and dietary fibre that controls LDL cholesterol levels and improves digestive functions.

Many vendors store Red Prince apples in a cellar to age them for a few months. This practice brings out a tangy-sweet flavour in these apples and makes them sweeter. You can find Red Prince in stores throughout the year, but their primary season only stays until late winter.

You can use Red Prince apples in various ways, and this versatility is what makes this apple variant a hit among the audience. Use in baking, cooking, or simply preparing a refreshing juice. Of course, you can also add them to salads or soups and makes sauces out of them. Store your Red Prince stash in a refrigerator so they stay fresh for extended periods.

  • Bramley

Bramley apples were initially small, crab-shaped apples grown in the Bramley area of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. The apples were brought to the UK in the 1700s and were primarily grown on small orchards, not large farms.

The apples were rarely sold in supermarkets and were only found in speciality stores, such as Spitalfields in London. Today, Bramley apples are almost always available in supermarkets, often with the brand name “Bramley” or “Golden Delicious,” but are often mislabeled as “Apple” or “Granny Smith.”

Bramley apples have a unique tart and spicy flavour, a cross between an apple and a pear. They’re grown on many farms in the UK and are generally available from October to December.

Bramley apples are often used for baking or as a garnish for cocktails, but they can also be eaten raw. Many people like to eat them with a hammer and chisel, which helps release the juice more quickly.

Bramley apples are used for many things, from making jam and marmalade to jelly and other types of preserves. They are also used as a base for desserts, such as apple pie and crumble. The sweetener erythritol is often added to Bramley products, which gives them a similar texture to sugar but is much lower in calories and is not as tooth-aching as table sugar. Erythritol is produced by fermenting sugar cane or beets.

  • Evelina

The Evelina apple is a cross between a red delicious and a baking apple. They’re sweet, rich red, and very crisp and juicy. The best way to tell if an apple is an Evelina is if it has a W-shaped indentation on the blossom end. The skin is thicker than a red delicious, and the flesh is redder in colour.

 The name “Evelina” refers to Evelina Gali, the wife of an orchardist who discovered the apple in the 1960s. Today, Evelina apples are most commonly found in baking rather than eaten raw. You may have also heard of the Evelina apple’s “tartness,” which refers to the apple’s astringency.

Evelina apples are used in baking and are great for making pies, apple cider, and vinegar. They’re also great for making sauce because their tartness is balanced out by applesauce or other sweeteners. You can also eat the fruit raw, but the flesh is very tart and isn’t great for anything other than a snack. Apple cider doesn’t have much taste, so you can use the apples for other purposes, such as canning if you don’t mind the smaller quantity.

  • Gala

Gala apples are the most giant, beautiful apples you’ll ever see. Unfortunately, they don’t last long on the tree, as they turn brown and fall off before they’re even ripe. The best way to enjoy a gala apple is to eat it right off the tree. Although they’re delicious fresh, galas are also grand for baking, making sauce, and even cider.

Gala apples are a hybrid variety, developed in 1966 by the University of Minnesota specifically to be cold-hardy. They’re well-suited to cooler areas like the Pacific Northwest and New England, where temperatures regularly dip into the 20s and 30s. However, they’re not suited to the heat of the South, where they’ll quickly succumb to late-summer blossom-out. This variety has smooth, crisp, and sweet flesh, with high water content and almost no seeds.

Gala apples are rich in flavour and healthy for you. You can eat them as-is, make a salad, or use them in cooking. The only downside: they’re not very convenient. But don’t despair! Their taste is well worth the hassle.

  • Cameo

You probably think of a classic red apple when you think of an apple. But there is a whole world of apples out there, each with its unique flavour, appearance, and history. One of the most exciting of these new apples is the Cameo, red on the outside but white on the inside. The Cameo is a cross between a baking apple and a crabapple, making it the perfect addition to pies, pastries, and other desserts.

These apples are the perfect bite of sweet and tart; these apples are the classic addition to any fall dessert recipe. You can find them in jars at the store, or, in this recipe, we’re using an apple cider and white sugar syrup to give them a drizzle of sweetness and a thick, sweet glaze. The recipe calls for a specific variety of cameo apples, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand or can find at the store. The more type, the better!

The uses of cameo apples don’t end with pies and pastries, and you can use them for baking, poaching, cider, and even for juice. Their benefits are endless, and it’s easy to see why so many people are excited about them. The Cameo is the perfect addition to any fall dessert recipe, and it’s sure to become one of your favourites!

  • Cox

Cox’s apples, also known as green-fleshed apples, are an excellent choice for baking. They have a sweet and tart flavour paired with various spices and sweeteners. These apples can be used in assorted desserts and are often used in apple pie. The skin of a cox apple is green, and the flesh is white.

Cox’s apples are small and tart and are primarily grown in New Zealand and Australia. The flesh is crisp, with a mild apple flavour and various textures, including creamy flesh and crunchy seeds. Cox’s apples also come in red and green varieties, sweeter and milder than their white counterparts. Cox’s green apple is also one of the best sources of the antioxidant quercetin, which helps to protect the body from disease.

These apples are great for baking as they have a sweet and tart flavour that pairs well with various spices and sweeteners. These apples can be used in assorted desserts and are often used in apple pie. The skin of a cox apple is green, and the flesh is white. Cox’s apples are small and tart and are primarily grown in New Zealand and Australia.

  • Spartan

The Spartans were a Special Forces unit in ancient Greece. Legend has it that the soldiers would eat nothing but an apple a day to fuel their training. Today, Spartans continue to fuel their training with an apple a day. This delicious hybrid boasts an impressive nutritional profile, with a fantastic amount of antioxidants and dietary fibre.

The Spartan apple, also known as the Spartan bitter-shining apple, crosses between the bitter-shining and the hybrid crabapple species Amygdalus persica. The fruit is a golden yellow ball, approximately the size of a ping-pong ball, which is sweet and juicy. The fruit is highly aromatic, with a strong scent reminiscent of apples. The skin is thin, and the flesh is white, firm, and crunchy.

The Spartan apple is primarily used for making juice, though you can also eat it fresh. The fruit is delicious when eaten fresh and makes a great snack. It can be juiced, creating a healthy juice, or it can be used to make sauces, pies, and even vinegar. It is also used for baking.

When are British apples in season?

British apples are in season from spring through late summer, when they are available at their best quality. The best time to go apple picking is in the early spring when you can find tart, fresh green apples. As the weather warms, the best quality apples appear in the market and can be enjoyed raw, salads, and desserts. By the end of summer, most apples in the market have become over-ripe and are best avoided.

How many do we grow in the UK?

There are over 20 different species of apple that are grown in the UK, with most orchards having just a couple of apple varieties. Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Fuji, and Jonagolds are the most common, but many orchards also have other English apple varieties, such as Mutsu, Granny Smith, Balthazar, and Pink Lady.

Like those in the US, Orchards in the UK mainly grow apples for eating, with some producers also growing apple trees for their fruit juice, primarily for making cider.

Where to buy British apples?

Brits have been growing apples in the UK for centuries, and today you can find a wide variety of apples are grown in the UK at supermarkets, growers’ markets, and orchard supply stores. Choose British apples for the best selection of types, flavours, and culinary uses.

Most British apples are grown in Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall regions. However, you can also find popular varieties like Gala and Braeburn grown in other countries like the US and China. British apples are best for eating fresh, cooking, and cider.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our full review of British apples and how to use them to make delicious and refreshing recipes. We hope this article helps you become familiar with the British apple varieties, and you can make an informed decision next time you’re at the supermarket. Cheers!

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Andy Canter

Andy

Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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