The Compost Apple
If not for a chance discovery by Australian Maria Ann Smith nearly 150 years ago, one of America’s most popular apples wouldn’t have been. You see, Maria Ann (Granny) Smith in 1868 happened upon a chance seedling that had sprung up in her compost (or so the story goes). After the seedling matured enough to provide apples, Granny Smith realized the apples were great for cooking and baking because of their tart acidity and robust taste.
From these unlikely beginnings the Granny Smith apple grew in popularity. Sadly, Granny Smith died shortly after her discovery. Thanks to other planters from her area, Granny Smith’s discovery didn’t die with her. It wasn’t until 1890 though, at the Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show that “Granny Smith’s Seedling” gained more widespread attention when it won the prize for the best cooking apple. In the following years Granny Smith’s Seedlings were being exhibited at many horticultural shows in Australia.
Over the following decades the Australian government began actively promoting the Granny Smith apple as an export commodity because of its exceptional storage properties. They found that because the Granny Smith apple has an exceptionally thick skin and dense flesh that it could be stored for many months after harvesting. Shortly after the First World War, Granny Smith apples were being exported from Australia in great numbers. By 1975 the apple accounted for 40% of Australia’s apple crop.
Granny Smith apples were introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1930’s but oddly it took almost 40 more years before Washington apple growers were planting the trees on US soil. Interestingly, for you trivia lovers out there, the Beatles used an image of the Granny Smith apple as a corporate logo for their Apple Corps Limited in 1968.
Another great property of the Granny Smith apple is that they are high in dietary fiber, potassium and antioxidants. The apple is an especially good source of phenols, having the highest concentrations of any apple variety. Granny Smith’s are also a great source of the flavonoids: cyaniding, and epicatechin which are found mostly in its skin.
So whether it’s cooking for rich flavored applesauce, that tart apple pie, or just for eating a healthy snack, the Granny Smith apple is a perfect choice. And as an added benefit you can store them in your refrigerator for weeks (or months) and they will keep their tart crispness just fine.
his Week at the Market
If you are wondering, yes, we got Granny Smith apples at the market this week. Edith Beatty will be bringing her Miller Canyon grown Granny Smith apples for you to enjoy. Sivonn at the information booth also has Granny Smith as well as Backyard Gardening & Growing.
At the market this week you’ll also find fresh greens from several vendors, winter and acorn squash, fresh oranges, meat, fish, nuts, and fresh raw milk. Not to mention all sorts of fresh baked goods and pastries.
For a full list of all our great vendors and their products, please see our weekly newsletter at www.sierravistafarmersmarkets.com If you haven’t checked out our newsletter recently we are updating it to include links to the websites or Facebook pages of all your favorite vendors. With just a couple of clicks you can now go directly to their sites and pages to learn more about them, what they are bringing to the market each week, and any specials they might be offering. So be sure to visit their pages and get to know them better.
Hope to see you all at the market this week in Veterans Memorial Park (this Thursday) between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Submitted by William Struse