FIVE OF A KIND – 5 heritage apple varieties to grow at home

One of the oldest featured food heroes – the apple – has starred in stories since biblical times and for good reason; ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor at bay’ is far from an old wives’ tale. There’s abundant evidence of apples putting their high pectin and fibre content to work in lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood, and their skin has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

These health attributes are due to their high levels of phenolics which are more prevalent in the older heritage varieties. Not only are the heritage varieties better for you, they serve up a complex range of flavours.

In today’s commodity-centric world, the scale of apple orchards has grown immeasurably since the late 1970s, forcing many small-scale family-owned orchards to close. With these closures, many of the local varieties of apple have declined too, favouring instead the handful of varieties that can be picked early, stored well and transported easily in our long supply-chain food system. As a result, the more than 7000 registered global varieties are now little known.