Many Canadians have not spent too much time thinking about where their food comes from, other than that it comes from Loblaws or Sobeys or Walmart. One thing the pandemic and recent food shortages have done is make us more aware of our supply chain. Where do we get our most basic food needs from? Also, where can we get our own food, including a good Canadian apple, if the grocery store is all out?
Apples are a staple in most people’s homes and in all grocery stores. They are a nutritionally packed fruit that can be grown here in Canada. There are many benefits to eating locally sourced produce, convenience being only one of them. While there are at least 15 varieties of Canadian apples, these 5 are the most popular.
Popular Canadian Grown Apples
This mysterious Canadian apple variety was developed in 1936 by Dr. R.C. Palmer. It is a hybrid of Macintosh apples and another still unknown variety. These British Columbia grown apples are bright red on the outside and white and juicy on the inside. These sweet, tart, and aromatic apples are available for harvesting in fall and early winter. As they spend time in storage, they get sweeter!
These sweet apples are typically used in cooking and in baking desserts.
This small to medium sized apple was created in Kentville, Nova Scotia. The flesh is crisp and juicy with a sweet and sugary flavour. These little apples ripen in fall.
Although the creators had hoped its sugary flavour would make it a favourite for dessert recipes, its small size has led to it being more often used in ciders and frying.
This variety of apple originating from British Columbia is believed to be a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples. These medium to large sized apples have a golden yellow skin with pink blush spots. The flavours of this variety of apple are sweet with some acidity and faint notes of honey.
Once these Ambrosia apples are ready to harvest in the fall, they are most often used in baking cakes, muffins, pies, and tarts but also can be thinly diced to top salads with.
This is a newer apple variety introduced in Nova Scotia in 1971. These large apples have a greenish yellow background with what can appear like red stripes on their skin. The inside is crisp, juicy, and firm with a sweet taste.
These apples are ready for picking in late fall, but they can still be tough when first picked. The longer they sit in storage, the more sweet they become. Not very well-known or popular, these apples are most often used as dessert apples.
The national apple of Canada, McIntosh was around when Ontario was still called “Upper Canada” in 1811! These apples, discovered by John McIntosh, are vivid red in colour and occasionally have white spots. The time of picking matters a great deal with respect to the flavour; those picked in fall will have a sweet and tart flavour with hints of spice while those picked later into the winter will be sweeter, crisp, and juicy.
These apples are best used on tarts or pizzas, in soups or purees, or to make ciders or juice.
If you aren’t sure which Canadian apple to use for your recipe, the Ontario Apple Growers have put together this helpful chart for which apples to use where.
Optimal Growing Conditions for Apples
Apple trees are a pretty hardy fruit tree. However, they do have optimal growing conditions of a cold winter and a moderate summer with medium to high humidity. If you have ever lived in a coastal province of Canada, you’ll know there is definitely high humidity! Knowing that makes it not hard to believe that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and British Columbia are some of the best provinces for growing apples in Canada. Thankfully for us Canadians, the apple tree is a hearty tree, able to survive winter chills of up to -40 degrees Celsius.
Canadian Apple Pie
It doesn’t get much more Canadian than an apple pie that includes maple syrup! Source both locally and what a fun project to do with your kids!
- 2 pie crusts (either homemade or store bought)
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp white sugar, to taste
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 5 cups apples, peeled, cored sliced
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp. water
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Line the pie dish with a crust.
Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir apples, maple syrup, and whole egg into cornstarch mixture.
Pour apple mixture into the prepared crust.
Cover with top crust, seal the edges, and cut away excess dough.
Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Mix together egg yolk and water and brush over pie.
Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, covering with foil after 20 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Apple Cranberry Muffins
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup large flake rolled oats
- ½ cup dried cranberry
- ⅓ cup natural wheat bran
- ½ cup liquid honey
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup chopped, cored, peeled apple
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a large bowl, mix together buttermilk, rolled oats, cranberries. and wheat bran. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Stir in honey, oil, sugar, and egg.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Stir into oat mixture just until combined.
Stir in the apple.
Divide among 12 lined muffin cups.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until muffin tops are firm to the touch.
Let cool completely.
Let us know which Canadian apple is your favourite and how you like to use it!
This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our themes page that has a new theme topic added every month!