MARKETS: High in fibre, vitamin c and antioxidants, it's no wonder apples have a reputation for keeping the doctor away.
MARKETS: High in fibre, vitamin c and antioxidants, it's no wonder apples have a reputation for keeping the doctor away. Kate O'Neill

It's apple season at the markets

MORE than 100 years ago, Swiss nutritionist Dr Max Bircher-Brenner was so convinced of their health giving properties, he served them to his patients three times a day (as a core ingredient in his famous bircher muesli) and even believed raw apples had helped cure him of jaundice.

While he was criticised at the time (bread and meat were staples back then), most modern nutritionists would agree adding more apples to your diet is a good thing.

Aside from their nutritional benefits, apples are also one of the most convenient snacks around. There's no need for peeling or preparation, and you can take them with you virtually anywhere. In the kitchen, they're incredibly  versatile - in desserts like apple pie, apple crumple and apple strudel or in sauces and relishes. In summer, they're great in salad -  try a classic Waldorf, or combine grated apple with grated beetroot, fresh leafy greens, goats cheese and pecans and then dress with olive oil and lemon juice. And there's always the bircher of course - soak grated apple with oats and top with nuts and fresh fruits for a wholesome summer breakfast.

The new apple season always begins around February and apples are at their peak in autumn and winter.

The first to appear at the local farmers' markets are the royal galas - one of the best tasting apple varieties and a popular favourite. These will be followed by varieties such as the Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Fuji and Sundowner.

Most apples varieties aren't well-suited to growing in the Northern Rivers climate, so those you'll find at the farmers' markets are mostly from Stanthorpe in southeast Queensland.

The main suppliers at the New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers' Market are Costanzo Apples, known for their full-flavoured fruit and McMahons Apples, who have freshly picked certified organic apples.

Apples are pretty tough fruit - they can last quite a while in the fruit bowl, but in the heat of summer, or if you're not going to eat them straight away, they'll last longer in the fruit and vegetable crisper in your fridge.

- New season apples are available now at the Mullumbimby and New Brighton Farmers Markets.


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