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Red Delicious: King of the Apple Orchard?

More Antioxidants Than 7 Other Apple Varieties, Canadian Study Shows
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Delicious Data

The mildly sweet Red Delicious apple is a "classic … America' favorite snacking apple," says the Washington Apple Commission's web site.

It's got lots of company. There are 7,500 apple varieties grown worldwide, says the University of Illinois Extension's web site. A medium apple has about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber; Americans eat nearly 20 pounds of fresh apples (about 65 apples) per year, says the university.

Gourmet Guide

Red Delicious apples may be antioxidant heavyweights, but your taste buds might appreciate a little variety. Here's a look at the Washington Apple Commission's guide to other apples:

  • Golden Delicious: Mellow and sweet
  • Gala: Crisp, snappy, aromatically sweet
  • Fuji: Immensely flavorful, crisp, big, super sweet; originally from Japan
  • Granny Smith: Extremely tart, juicy, crisp; often used in pies
  • Braeburn: Rich, sweet-tart, spicy flavor; very firm
  • Jonagold: Juicy, orange-tinted, delicate flavor
  • Pink Lady: Unique tangy-tart, sweet flavor
  • Cameo: Sweet with a zingy crunch

Some varieties -- like Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Pink Lady -- are favorites in pies, and all of them make good salad ingredients (as well as snacks), says the commission.

Building a Better Apple?

Two polyphenols -- procyanidin B2 and epicatechin -- were the most important individual antioxidants in apples, according to the study.

Quercetin -- the antioxidant from last November's rat Alzheimer's study -- wasn't a top-ranked apple component. Red onions are a better source of quercetin.

Tsao's findings could lead to the breeding of hybrid apples that maximize antioxidants, says the news release. Of course, taste will always be important.

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