There’s no denying the popularity of apple desserts. It’s a topic of endless delight, and one we’re actually in the habit of discussing every couple of months! You can see that in our Tarantino-fueled Apple Strudel, Anyone? or simply our Grandma’s Apple Pie Top 5 Secrets. However, then we realised there’s a National Apple Day. So we thought there’d be no harm in adding another apple post to the mix. Apples are healthy after all.
The hardest part is probably deciding on just what apple-filled dessert to enjoy. There are over 7,000 apple species, each with their own distinct levels of sweetness, tartness, crunchiness, and juiciness. Thus, we have endless opportunities to combine them.
The UK charity Common Ground recognized this diversity among apples. So they attempted to raise awareness about the importance of diversity within the communities in which we all live and initiated the holiday in 1990.
Drawing comparisons between humans and apples with cultural and genetic diversity, they even produced a Common Ground’s Apple Source Book. This book contains over 2,000 apple varieties grown in the British isles – an idea aimed to shed light on local orchards who were preserving apple diversity.
30 years after their first London event, Common Ground’s Apple Day celebrations continue around the world. They range from apple games in gardens, to apple villages festivals. The festivities include cooking demonstrations, competitions, apple identification programs, and gardening advice.There’s also the consumption of apple juices, ciders, and desserts! Basically anything apple and orchard related that promotes the production and sale of locally distinctive apples.
As we said, we can find thousands of apple varieties all over the world. The mind boggles trying to think about all the possible Apple Day celebrations and associated apple desserts. Just consider the Dorsett Golden for a second, which comes from the tropical Bahamas… Now think about the incredibly cold resistant Antonovka, which is native to Russia! Some people even create apples in labs; take for example the Ariane, which was developed in the National Institute of Agricultural Research, Angers, France, in 2002. It’s not as young as the Czech Republic’s Admiral, which is only 8 years old. However, that’s nothing when we compare to the Swedish Åkerö apple or the Polish Kosztela apple, from the 15th and 16th centuries respectively!
Unfortunately, it would be near impossible to taste all of the apple varieties in the world.The best thing we can do, though, is make sure we are familiar with any locally grown species. Based on the site of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, there are 42 different apple varieties across Canada (see table below). Interestingly, all 6 provinces that grow apples commercially produce the McIntosh Apple.
After all of this apple talk, are you starting to feel hungry? We know we are. For apple pies, tarts, crumples, and crisps near you, you’ll see variations that include almonds, cranberries, chocolate, and even caramel. If your liking is more of a cake and less of a pie, look out for apple cakes, cupcakes, and/or muffins. Perhaps you’re all about the apple pastries like chausson aux pommes, strudels, and danishes. In which case, no one can blame you.For more general apple sweets that include caramel candy apples and apple cookies, it’s worth seeing what’s available near you and what apple varieties they use… For something a little different, you might even be interested in tasting some applewood smoked cheeses?
So is it true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? If so, surely apple desserts have to be good for us as well. There are countless options for pies, cakes, and pastries.When was the last time a locally grown apple found its way into your dessert?