Monday, 2nd October 2023, marks the start of the new British apple season and UK growers say recent record sunshine hours have had a sweet impact on the fruit.
The sunniest June since 1957 ensured young British apples got the sunshine hours they needed to develop the full potential of their taste and flavour. In particular, the sunshine helped to build up the delicious natural sugars in the new season crop.
UK growers are now in full harvest mode, with an estimated 22 million apples being hand-picked every day this month (October). The first new season British apples are already on supermarket shelves and while the extreme heat last year means the crop is not quite as large as in 2022, the quality is excellent.
"This is a really exciting time for growers and UK apple lovers," explained Ali Capper, executive chair of British Apple & Pears Limited (BAPL), the UK grower organisation. "We're really proud of the wonderful home-grown apples we produce in this country, and we know Brits love them too."
It's not just the great taste and flavour that will be delighting UK shoppers this year, British apples are increasingly being seen as a hidden superfood.
"The health benefits of apples are sometimes overlooked," said Ali Capper. "But recent comments by Michael Mosely – advocating an apple a day – and new scientific research about the benefits of quercetin – found in high concentrations in apples – have elevated the humble fruit to something of a superfood. Even Hollywood is getting in on the apple revival – Jennifer Garner eats an apple a day. It's her favourite snack."
Apples are rich in polyphenols, that act as antioxidants. They are great for gut health and can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating apples has been shown to also reduce total cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation.
"This year, there are more reasons than ever to munch on a home-grown British apple a day and support UK growers. Apples are not only a treat for your taste buds but your gut, heart and whole body too!"
For more information: britishapplesandpears.co.uk