The apples of your eye

The apples of your eye

With autumn in full swing, now is the perfect time to shine the spotlight on the nation’s favourite fruit.


With autumn in full swing, now is the perfect time to shine the spotlight on the nation’s favourite fruit.

Sweet and crisp, tart and tangy, there’s no doubt about it: the apple is the nation’s favourite fruit. We eat an enormous 122,000 tonnes of apples a year – that’s the equivalent of 47 Blackpool Towers! From late August through to early November, British orchards are bursting with a variety of apples, including Braeburn, Bramley, Royal Gala and Cox.

With their vibrant hues of green, red and gold, apples are the embodiment of the autumn harvest and changing seasons. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of them.

Fruity festivities
It’s not just their looks that link apples with autumn. Apples have played iconic role in autumnal festivities in Britain for centuries.

At Halloween, children often play a game of ‘apple bobbing’, during which a tub is filled with water and children attempt to bite the apples to pick them up. As apples have a lower density than water, they float to the surface. The origin of this tradition dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain. The Romans planted apple trees as a tribute to their goddess of plenty, Pomona. Once a year, young people took part in a ceremony that saw them try to bite apples floating in water or dangling from trees. The first to successfully bite into one would be the next to marry.

Bonfire Night also brings our favourite fruit into the spotlight… in the form of toffee apples. These sticky baubles are loved by children and adults alike and are a delicious way to add some extra theatre to a sparkling fireworks show.

A surplus of sweet treats
If you have an apple tree in your garden, there’s a good chance that you’ve got more fruit at the moment than you know what to do with.

Apple crumbles and tarts are always a popular option, but if you’re looking for something a little different, here are a few other ways that you can use up your harvest:

  • Why not try preserving your apples by making a tangy chutney or zingy jam? This will give you the chance to enjoy your apples all year round.
  • With Christmas just around the corner, now is a great time get ahead and whip up some mincemeat, ready to use for homemade mince pies in December. Adding chopped apples to your mix will give your pies a tangy twist this year.
  • For a warming, hearty breakfast full of autumnal flavour, try gently stewing apples for a couple of minutes in a saucepan. Add porridge oats and milk, and drizzle with peanut butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.
  • If you still have an ample pile of apples left over, why not try making your own cider? This takes more time and effort than a pie or pudding, but it’s a truly rewarding experience for a budding brewer. You’ll need approximately 9kg of fruit to make five litres of cider.

British to the core

If you haven’t got a garden overflowing with apples at the moment, don’t worry! We’ve got a great selection of British apples for you to choose from, picked when they’re perfectly ripe: