Apple is a fruit we tend to take for granted, but one of which we never tire. And how could we with so many great varieties to choose from? Bearing a host of fascinating names such as Fuji, Alice, Jonagold, Granny Smith and Pink Lady (to name but a few), and sporting a rich variety of hues – some green, some red, some brightly mixed – we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy these enticing fruits throughout the year, whether from the supermarket or the garden. It’s no surprise that the apple is the most popular fruit, way ahead of its delicious fruity rivals such as bananas, oranges and mandarins. In this post we’ll mention a few things about the nutrients you get from an apple and explain to you what apples have to do with the gas, ethylene!
A guilt-free snack
Apples contain hardly any protein or fat, and so the energy they deliver comes more-or-less exclusively from carbohydrates. A medium-sized apple (100 g) has about 50 kcal, which corresponds to about 2% of the daily energy requirements for a predominantly sedentary adult, making the apple an ideal snack for in-between meals. Thanks to its mix of easily digestible sugars, in the form of fructose and glucose, an apple readily staves off dips in energy levels between main meals.
Apples need to be stored in a cool, dry place and can be kept for up to 50 days in a refrigerator. In a Liebherr BioFresh compartment they can be stored for up to 80 days. But, when storing apples, there is one, not-so-insignificant thing that you need to be aware of: Apples produce a gas called ethene (commonly known as ethylene) on ripening. People are often shocked to hear this as it does sound somewhat mysterious and unappetising but have no fear; ethylene is a natural plant hormone that sets off the ripening process. And, amazingly, any other fruits that are stored in close proximity to apples will ripen more quickly! You need to pay attention to this: if your fruits ripen faster they will subsequently tend to spoil sooner. Apples aren’t the only fruits that emit ethylene in this manner – apricots, pears and bananas also produce this plant hormone, as do some vegetables e.g. potatoes.
Many fruits and vegetables wouldn’t ripen without ethylene
Bananas have to travel a long distance before they arrive on our supermarket shelves. They are harvested whilst they are still green so that moulds will not affect them during transit. After shipment, before they reach the shops, they are then artificially ripened by exposure to ethylene, which also promotes a more appetising appearance. This is how our shop-bought bananas acquire their customary yellow colour and how our tomatoes become a beautiful glowing red – in their unripened state, neither tend to sell very well.
How to take advantage of this ripening effect
You can use the positive ripening effects of ethylene yourself. At room temperature, place your unripe fruit or vegetables in a sealed container or bag together with an apple (or other ethylene-producing fruit or vegetable). This will accelerate the natural ripening process. Don’t worry that you’ll then have to eat all your ripened fruit and vegetables in a hurry, before they spoil; simply store them in a Liebherr BioFresh compartment. Despite having hastened the ripening process, you will still have plenty of time to enjoy your fruit and veggies at your leisure. You can find out all about storage lives and about which fruits/vegetables are best suited to BioFresh storage by referring to our BioFresh storage data or by downloading our BioFresh app. And, should you find that the ripening process has advanced a little too far, and that your apples are looking a little worse for wear, do not despair – they will still be absolutely perfect for making a great applesauce!