Germans' favorite fruit: Ms. Haiden, aren't apples from the supermarket as good as their reputation?


Germans' favorite fruit: Ms. Haiden, aren't apples from the supermarket as good as their reputation?

Ms. Haiden, describe a perfect apple to me. For me it is medium-sized, round and plump. He is yellow and of course has red cheeks. And most importantly: it is sweet and sour at the same time. The Blenheim Renette would be such an apple. It has a light, white flesh and a fine, nutty aroma. The balance between sweetness and acidity is perfect! Most eating apples lack this refreshing acidity. They're mostly sweet. Your new cookbook is all about the apple. Why does he get so much attention from you? Because I love apples. In the village where I grew up, almost every house has an orchard with apple trees - of various varieties. My parents also had a small farm and two large orchards. As a child, I was always there - picking apples, processing them. In the meantime I look after the gardens and plant heirloom varieties. I tell you, anyone who has ever eaten an old variety of a really good apple, perhaps even fresh from the tree, will never want to be without that taste. Many people are now looking for these special varieties again. They call the apple the king of fruits. What can it do that other fruit can't? I assume based on our culture, the apple probably won't be that important in Asia or Africa. But for us, the apple is the fruit that stands above all fruits and is very popular because it is suitable as a snack fruit, but can also be used in many ways in the kitchen. In Germany, each individual eats an average of around 20 kilos of apples a year . How many can you do? Phew. I think more than 20 kilos hopefully. Maybe twice as much. I eat a lot of apples, especially in season. The last apples went into the compost in May because they were shriveled and inedible. But until March, early April we ate apples from storage. There are also some that only become good through storage.

Why doesn't the apple actually get boring? After all, there are also mangoes and pineapples and kiwis and... well, fruits, with less old-fashioned charm. Why can't we keep our hands off him? It's the versatility. You can see this in the many, many recipes with apples from the regional kitchen. Apple pie alone is part of the culinary culture in German-speaking countries. Nevertheless, apple growers have told me that apple consumption has fallen slightly in recent years. In contrast to berries, which are currently being heavily promoted. The apple is advertised as a regional, domestic fruit. But can that still be said given the consumption quantities? Finally, it is also imported in large quantities. Most of it still comes from local cultivation. But cheap competition from abroad is also an issue. I've heard from growers that imports from Poland are very strong, there are huge apple orchards there and production is cheaper there. South Tyrol is also an apple country that exports a lot within Europe. But you can also find South African and Argentinian apples in the supermarket - unfortunately. Is it actually okay to buy apples in the supermarket? It is often unavoidable. The beautiful old varieties that taste and look so individual are actually reserved for a minority. You can't or rarely get apples like this in the supermarket. The producers say they can hardly or not produce these apples. The trees have too few and then alternating yields, so they don't produce a harvest every year. Firstly, there are not enough apples from orchards and secondly, these few are hardly available. The average person is more or less forced to buy supermarket apples. But most people don't know any other apples anyway... In the supermarket there are usually only the same varieties like Braeburn, Elstar, Gala. About 100 years ago, there were more than 1,000 different apple varieties in Germany alone, but today most of them have been forgotten. Pomologists are trying to bring back old varieties. You also have apples like this in your garden, why? I have to honestly admit that whenever I eat apples from the supermarket, I'm glad to have my own orchard. Most supermarket apples taste boring. Although they are good for eating raw, they are not great for cooking. In the spirit of diversity, as with all other products, it is important that there are many different varieties. In addition, the orchards are valuable ecosystems.

Cultivated apples are bred according to consumer tastes. They are sweeter than most of the old varieties and brown less quickly. But that also has disadvantages. According to researchers, this also makes them less healthy. This is due to the fact that there are far fewer secondary plant substances in cultivated apples. Are mainstream apples not as healthy as their reputation? There are various studies that show that old apple varieties have more ingredients than modern varieties. And we also know that old apple varieties are better tolerated by people who actually have an intolerance. But many of these varieties are not well suited for retail. They become slightly floury. The peel is delicate and the apples quickly develop rotten spots. Apples from orchards or from the home garden sometimes have scabs and spots and are harder to sell at a market. Consumers are used to a visually perfect apple. I, on the other hand, always think it's a shame when the apples in the supermarket look like they have been painted. And which type of apple is the best? There is no "best" apple. Every region has its special varieties, and you can find great apples everywhere. You can have a favorite apple – one of my favorites is, as mentioned, the Blenheim golden reinette. It tastes refreshingly sour and is also great for cooking. It becomes a fine, delicate puree without you having to do anything. Do you know the world-famous film scene from "Sleepless in Seattle" in which Meg Ryan peels the apple in one piece... I don't know if I can do that too. What I know: Grandmother always recommended peeling apples so thinly that as little of the flesh as possible is lost. But you don't have to peel a good apple anyway.

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