A Bramley a day…


As the leaves change colour and fall off the trees, we all look for our share of comfort food to ease us into Winter. And nothing compares to a spicy Bramley apple crumble.

Ever since Adam bit into the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, apples have been the stuff of myth and legend.  The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed them to be aphrodisiacs and as for us Celts, crab apples were a symbol of fertility.

For many, today’s myth is that the Bramley’s role is in the dessert arena only, or on rare occasions to accompany a pork dish at dinner.

But the potential of these large flattish green cooking apples, sometimes faintly flushed with red, to cook into a frothy puree, makes them one of the most versatile low fat sauces possible. To stew apples, you chop them and then cook them in a small amount of water, and season as preferred with cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon. Really it’s that simple and so worth that sweet aroma wafting around the kitchen hours later.

Stewed apple combines well with other fruits like blackberries, lemon and dried fruits such as raisins or cranberries. Children love these naturally sweetened versions. If you’re clever enough to stew a bag of Bramleys on a quiet Sunday afternoon, you can find umpteen different ways to use them during the week.

  • Add hot or cold to breakfast cereal or porridge.
  • Add to natural yoghurt for a delicious snack.
  • Add to pancakes or crepes for a week-end breakfast treat.

Baking Bramley apples with cinnamon and raisins in the microwave or oven makes a quick dessert. Added flavours that go well include honey, citrus fruits, nutmeg, reduced-fat crème fraiche or low fat custard.

For a savoury option, the sharp taste of Bramley apples makes an excellent accompaniment for game birds and rich meats like duck, pork and goose.  They also go well with red cabbage or even diced into curries. Parsnip and Bramley apple soup is just delicious.

And recent research suggests that the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is indeed fact, not folklore. The nutritional highlights of apples including fibre, flavonoids and phytochemicals translate into apples’ ability to keep us fighting fit.  Apples contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, many of which have been found to have strong antioxidant activity and anticancer activity. Apples have been singled out as one of the small number of fruits and vegetables that contributes to a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease.

So why not make the most of this orchard gift, this wonderful local produce.

Nutrition content of Bramley apples (raw, peeled)

  Calories Fat Sugar Fibre Vitamin C
1 large Bramley apple (153g) 54 0.2 13.6 2.4g 21mg
% of GDA 3% 0.3% 15% 10% 35% of RDA

To get the same amount of vitamin C as one Bramley apple provides, you would need to eat 6 plums, 50 cherries, 6 tablespoons of peas or 20 tablespoons of tomato puree!

  Calories Fat Sugar Fibre Vitamin C Calcium
Bowl of stewed Bramley Apple with low-fat natural yoghurt 151 1.4g 29.9g 1.3g 12mg 207mg