red apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away” it’s more than a simple and famous saying. To discover all the curiosities, the varieties, the nutritional values and the benefits of apples, a whole book would not be enough! Just to give you a few ideas and facts: there are more than 7000 varieties of apples with their different colours and flavours. Apple production is the seventh on the list of worldwide cultivated fruits and vegetables, but only the fourth on the list of the fruit sector, immediately after oranges, grapes and bananas.

Currently, Italy is the sixth largest producer of apples, despite its low productivity per hectare of land.

The reason of its success is very easy: apples help being healthy and combat bad cholesterol thanks to the pectin, in which apples are very rich (1-1,5% of pectin in a fresh apple, more than any other fruit). Pectin is a fully-fledged soluble fiber, rich in beneficial properties and also useful to keep the daily sense of well-being. Pectin is also useful because it improves the intestinal function and digestion while decreasing bad cholesterol values.

Although they are available all year, apples ripen naturally from August to October, and in Autumn they are at their best. However, what are the varieties and nutritional values of apples? Have a look at this following guide.  


One fruit, many faces: all the apple varieties in alphabetical order

There are approximately 7000 varieties of apples worldwide, that differ in colours, flavours and nutritional values. Only a few are available in Italy: here is a list of the most common apple varieties.

1. Ambrosia Apple

It is an apple born, by chance in Canada, in the late 1980’s thanks to a natural mutation, without experiments. The Ambrosia is a bright apple with almost iridescent pink blush over a creamy-yellow background. It was discovered by a countryside family when they noticed some strange apples were growing in their orchard. They realized they were a mix of three kinds of different apples: the Red Delicious, the Gold Delicious and the Jonagold - a yellow-red skin apple born crossing the first and the second apples cited previously. The Ambrosia is a particularly sweet and delicious apple characterized by its low acidity (4-5%) and a high sugar content (16-17%).


2. Annurca Apple

This is one of the most loved variety of apples. This PGI apple comes from Campania (Italy) and it is well known thanks to its unique type of harvesting technique. The Annurca apple is recognizable for its wine-coloured skin, the firm and crunchy white pulp, its sweet aroma and its pleasantly acidic flavour. We will speak about it more precisely in the next paragraphs!


3. Braeburn Apple

It is firm to the touch with a red-orange vertical, streaky appearance on a yellow-green background. The Braeburn apple comes from the mountains of Trentino and has a combination of sweet and tart flavour. It is useful in cooking, because it withstands high temperatures.


4. Fuji Apple

Probably, Fuji is the most cultivated variety of apples in the world: in Italy it is harvested in October and November. It was developed by growers of Aomori in Japan in the late 1930s. It was originated as a cross between two apple varieties: the Red Delicious and the Ralls Janet (called Kokko in Japan). It is a panacea for health: with its crispy and sweet flavour, it improves the immune system thanks to its reddish skin rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that doesn’t irritate the intestinal mucosa. As most apples, Fuji is also recommended for those who are on a diet, have an intestinal disease (like colitis) or have to stay healthy: each apple, indeed, reduces hunger and is really nutritional. If you are looking for a fat-free snack that fills you up, perfect during your working hours or school hours, this is your ally: pick up apples!


5. Golden Apple

This yellow apple is the most popular thanks to its balanced sweet-tart aromatic flavour and its crisp white flesh, rich in fructose. Discovered in the USA in the 1980s, it is one of the most cultivated and sold cultivars all over the world nowadays. In Italy it is mostly cultivated in the Alpine zones between Valle d’Aosta, Val di Non and Valtellina. The Golden apple is the perfect type of apple to prepare the traditional homemade soft apple pie, without butter.


6. Granny Smith APple

The Granny Smith apple is the green apple par excellence. Originated by chance in Australia, it is a cross between a wild apple tree and a common one. It was discovered by the Australian fruit cultivator, Maria Ann “Granny” Smith, who in 1868, had bought a case of French crab apples from Tasmania to prepare her well known apple pies. The birth of the Granny Smith apple is by chance and has an interesting story: after having used them in preparing her pies, the granny discarded some near the creek. Some months after, few seeds germinated beginning to bear fruits. So, the green apple was born, taking its name from its unintentional inventor. Many years later, this cultivar has been cared for and cultivated on a large-scale. In fact, after 1918, the Granny Smith apples were exported all over the world. Thanks to its particular tart-fresh aroma, the famous Australian apple is perfect for savoury dishes or fruit salads.


7. Morgenduft Apple

This a medium-large sized apple with an unmistakable sweet and tart flavour, that has its origins in the States. In Italy it is the most cultivated apple in the zones between Valtellina and northern Lombardy. It is used in the food industry and also in the fruit juice production and confectionery industry.


8. Pink Lady Apple

Pink Lady or Cripps Pink apple was originally bred by John Cripps by crossing the Golden Delicious apple with a Lady Williams in 1913. With its single and distinctive blush mixed and green background, it has a fruity and tart taste thanks to its good sugar content. This variety requires a long growth period and a hot climate, and for this reason, it is principally cultivated in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Italy and Spain.


9. Rennet Apple

Rennet is the “noblest” variety of apples (its name comes from the French "reinette", that means "little queen"). It is one of the most ancient varieties available on the market (it has been in Europe since 1600). It prospered in Val di Non (Trentino) thanks to the ideal habitat it found there. The healthy trees produce fruits very rich in natural antioxidants ( polyphenols, that are 212mg each 100gr of rennet apples), that ripen in late September and after harvesting can be stored at constant temperature for up 7 months. The Rennet is a large-sized apple with a slightly, flattened shape and a dull yellow skin.

Thanks to its pasty flesh, it is useful in cooking and it is really good when it is baked: in the South Tyrolean cuisine, the Rennet is used to prepare strudel, apple cakes and fritters.


10. Royal Gala Apple

The Royal Gala is a juicy and crispy apple, rich in carotene and Vitamin A. It was discovered in 1920 by J.H. Kidd, a fruit cultivator of New Zealand. It is striped, mottled and overall orange in colour. Thanks to its sweetness, fine texture and aromatic taste, it is perfect to prepare centrifuged or fruit juices.


11. Stark Delicious Apple

The Stark Delicious or Red Delicious is the most popular apple. It has an intense, bright red colouring, perfect if bitten and eaten raw, thanks to its sour, cream-white, juicy pulp. It’s better to keep it refrigerated because out of the fridge, it can become floury.


Nutritional values and benefits of apples

According to a research of Harvard University, published in August 2018 on the British Medical Journal, apples, blueberries and grapes are the perfect allies to combat diabetes. According to scholars, eating these fruits, helps to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, that is the most widespread disease. Why? Qi Sun, the researcher who did the study, has explained that apples and grapes are better than other fruits thanks to their high quantity of anthocyanin, polyphenols and antioxidants, which are able to assist the glycaemic control.

When blood-sugar is high, you have to pay attention to which fruits you eat! For years, apples, in particular the Granny Smith, have been the only fruits recommended to diabetes disease patients. Nowadays, doctors recommend eating any kind of fruits, with moderation, avoiding those with a high glycaemic index (such as persimmons, figs, bananas, grapes, dried and candied fruits), as like fruit juices, for their added sugar.  

This is only one of the various benefits of apples. They are also recommended for their enormous antioxidant power and for their vitamin content, that are essential for our body, such as the provitamin A (or beta-carotene), the vitamins B1, B2, B6, E and C, citric acid, malic acid and folic acid (adults need around 200 microgram of folic acid daily); flavonoids and carotenoids (chemical compounds and natural antioxidant food supplements, that ensure proper functioning of the liver and the immune system and prevent cardiovascular diseases and inflammation).

From a nutritional point of view, the apple is considered the fruit which reduces hunger: thanks to the pectin, a soluble fiber of the skin, that helps to control the glucose levels and improves the intestinal function while preventing hunger and cellulites. The apple is the perfect fruit for those who are on a diet, for those who suffer from diabetic and hypertension diseases and for athletes because it is rich in potassium. There is no cholesterol in apples, while it is rich in soluble fibers, vitamins and potassium: elements that make apples ideal for those who suffer from celiac disease or those who are intolerant to lactose.

Seasonal fruits, in particular apples, are the best allies for beauty, for hair and skincare. They contains malic acid, that is useful for  its antioxidant and exfoliating properties, and is able to foster collagen. Many face and peeling masks, available on the market, are apple based.

How many calories does an apple have?

Even if there are many apple varieties, such as Fuji, Stark, Rennet, Golden, each with its own caloric intake, it is possible to do an evaluation of caloric values in general: a common apple, that weighs 200gr, has around 104kcal. According to this average, we can say that 100gr of apple corresponds to 52kcal, with 13gr of carbohydrates, 11.2gr of sugar, 1.6 of fibers, 0.3 of proteins and 0.2 of fats.

In particular, the low-sugar apples, as the green Granny Smith, have a low caloric intake, equal to 38kcal each 100gr. The sweetest ones reach, at most, 72 kcal each 100gr.

Considering 100gr of apples, we draw the following list:

  • Golden Apples 43 kcal
  • Stark Delicious 42kcal
  • Annurca Apples 40kcal
  • Peeled apples have a higher caloric intake than unpeeled apples: remember that the apple skin burns a part of the fats that are contained inside. Our advice is to eat apples with the skin, after having cleaned them well.

For apple juice, it is a little bit different, unless it is homemade, without adding sugar. Normally, 100ml of apple juice, which corresponds to a glass, has a caloric intake of 50 calories at most.

How many apples should you eat daily?

The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, as it has been demonstrated with a study published on the Journal of Functional Foods. Scholars demonstrated that the daily consumption of an apple reduces the bad cholesterol levels, while protecting human beings from cardiovascular diseases. This fruit is like an elixir of life, and this is also confirmed by some studies: after the experiment, the participants, who have been eating an apple a day, have obtained the decrease of LDL bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins), that in excess, provokes arterial obstructions and negative effects like strokes and heart attacks.


What is the difference between an apple and a quince?

The quince is a sort of hybrid between the pear and the apple,  with its yellowish colouring represents the Autumn in the best way. The quince plant is very old and was cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans, and originated in Asia Minor.

The quince – the main ally in health, especially for those who suffer from intestinal diseases- has many benefits: its flesh is hard and very difficult to be cut, and for this reason quince is not eaten raw, but cooked. In cooking, it is used to prepare quince cheese, a sweet, thick, jelly made of the pulp of the quince fruit.


Apple uses in cooking : our favourite recipes

Who has ever said that with apples you can just prepare an apple pie? Appetizers, main and second dishes, and also cakes: the apple is a versatile and delicious ingredient. In Italy this fruit is the protagonist in confectionery: used to prepare strudels, apple pies and biscuits, but also crêpes and spoon-desserts. Apples (especially the Granny Smith) are often used in the preparation of savoury dishes, to sweeten the strong flavours or to accompany meat dishes, such as turkey breast or strips of beef.  


Here is a short list of the products and foods that could be accompanied perfectly by apples:

  • oranges: taste the jam or the donuts made of oranges and apples!
  • honey: have you ever heard about a recipe with apples cooked with honey?
  • potatoes: the side-dish of  baked apples and potatoes has become a must-eat!
  • strawberries or apricots: is a traditional marriage in the fruit salad
  • yoghurt: this is both gastronomic (the traditional apple and yoghurt donut) and practical (the preparation of homemade face masks)
  • cinnamon: the marriage par excellence for preparing a donut, a cooked apple dish or a pie!


If you have too many apples in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with, let’s have some fun preparing a soft apple cake, good either as dessert or as a breakfast snack. Let’s also see the vegan version without butter.


The Annurca apple from Campania: the queen among the apples

The Annurca is a variety of apple also known as the “queen among the apples”, an authentic excellence that grows especially in the zones of Pozzuoli, in Campania. It is a PGI (Protect Geographical Indicator) apple that is cultivated also in other zones of Campania, near the city of Caserta. The harvesting of this variety of apple is very unusual and interesting: this apple doesn’t ripen on the tree but it is carefully harvested and placed in the sun on some layers of straw.  After turning them regularly, one by one, they are picked until they turn red -normally in few weeks.

This process makes the Annurca apple a healthy and good fruit, so far as to be considered one of the most important apples for its beneficial properties. Our company sells them at competitive prices, and buys them personally from the trusted producers from Avellino, Caserta, Benevento, Salerno and Naples.  


Properties of Annurca apples

The particular and unique taste of the Annurca is an effect of the properties of the volcanic soil in which the apple trees are cultivated. The habitat, in which this variety of apple is cultivated, together with the sunlight exposure, gives the apples a special and unique taste.

The Annurca apples are a concentrate of wellness: in fact in the Annurca, there is a high concentration of procyanidin B,  more than other varieties such as Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. This is the reason why Annurca is on the list of the authorized plants for the production food supplements.

We have taken a particular recipe from the brochure of the Italian Ministry of Health that used Annurca as an ingredient:


Annurca apple soufflé with Strega sauce

Ingredients list for 4 people:

For the soufflé

  • Milk 2.5dl
  • Butter 60gr
  • Flour 60gr
  • Sugar 60gr
  • Eggs 4
  • Vanilla, cinnamon, lemon peel
  • Annurca apples 400gr


For the Strega sauce

  • Milk 2.5dl
  • Sugar 100gr
  • Flour 20gr
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • Vanilla
  • Strega liquor 1dl
  • Milk-cream 1.5dl
  • Lemon peel




Peel the apples, chop them into small cubes and place them into an already buttered oven pan, season them with sugar and cinnamon and bake them at 320F (160°C) for 45 minutes. In a casserole,  boil the milk while adding the sugar, the lemon peel and the cinnamon. Separately, prepare a roux, melting the butter while adding the flour and the milk little by little, mixing them well. Boil them for 5-10 minutes and remove it from the flame. Let it cool, add two yolks at a time, the apples and finally the egg whites, already beaten and stiff. Put into the buttered soufflé cups. Fill them until ¾ of their capacity. Bake them at 320F (160°C) for 25-30 minutes.


Boil the milk adding the lemon peel, and separately beat the yolks with the sugar, adding the flour, the vanilla and the boiled milk. Put all on the flame and boil it again. Finally add the Strega liquor and the milk-cream, filter the mix and keep it warm in a water bath.


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