Apples 101 – About Pink Lady Apples

Apples 101 – About Pink Lady Apples

Pink Lady apples were developed in 1973 by John Cripps, a researcher at Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture. They are a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples. The apples may also be called Cripps Pink, in honor of their developer. To be labeled as a Pink Lady, the apple must meet strict criteria for color, sugar, and acid content. Those that do not meet the specifications are labeled as Cripps Pink apples.

Pink Lady apples were first available for commercial production in the United States in the late 1990s. They are very firm with a sweet-tart flavor. Pink Lady apples are the only pink apples on the market and they were the first apples with a trademark. Pink Lady apples are harvested in October and early November in the state of Washington, and are available in stores from November through July. They are excellent apples for snacking, salads, baking and cooking.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Pink Lady apples are high in Vitamin C and fiber, and also contain some Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, boron, and pectin. It is important to mention that most of the fiber and many other nutrients are in the skin, so eat the peel of apples, if at all possible. In fact, a raw apple with the skin has been found to contain up to 312% more Vitamin K, 70% more Vitamin A, 35% more calcium and potassium, and 30% more Vitamin C than a peeled apple. Apple peels also contain most of the fiber found in apples.  This includes the important fiber, pectin, a soluble fiber.

Antioxidant Protection. Apples have been linked with a number of health benefits, many of which are associated with their high levels of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants. In fact, in a study conducted at the University of Western Australia, researchers found that Pink Lady apples had the highest levels of antioxidants among the apples tested. All apples are healthful to eat, but this makes Pink Lady apples extraordinary, awarding them as being the healthiest apple to consume.

Flavonoids and other antioxidants, as found in apples have been studied for their ability to stop free radicals that cause damage at the cellular level. That damage can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, and other health issues. Consuming apples on a regular basis can help to keep your body supplied with these important compounds, warding off disease in the process. Since Pink Lady apples are so rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants, they would be an excellent choice when shopping for apples.

Anticancer Properties. In a study reported in 2007 in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, the antioxidants in apples were shown to help to ward off colon cancer, protecting against DNA damage, improving cell barrier function, and inhibiting invasion of mutated cells. Researchers concluded that apple phenolic compounds were shown to beneficially influence key stages of carcinogenesis of colon cells in vitro.

In a study reported in 2000 in the journal Nature, researchers found that whole apple extracts inhibited the growth of colon and also liver cancer cells, in vitro. Researchers attributed the effects to the antioxidants, including Vitamin C found in apples. They concluded that whole fruit may be more effective than taking the antioxidants in supplement form. Another reason to eat your apples WITH the skin!

Gastrointestinal Health. In 2017, a study reported in the journal Microbiology Ecology, researchers found that pectin, a fiber found in apple peels and other fruits, has a prebiotic effect on intestinal microbes that have anti-inflammatory effects. This suggests that pectin helps to reduce inflammation in the intestines with the help of specific bacterial species within our gut microbiome. Red apples were found to have the most anti-inflammatory nutrients. Furthermore, Pink Lady apples were found to have more flavonoids and other antioxidants that some other apple varieties. Also, red-skinned apples have been found to have the most anti-inflammatory nutrients, when compared to green-skinned apples. Among red apples, researchers found Pink Lady apples have the highest flavonoid levels, which was found mainly in the skin.

Cardiovascular Health. Pink Lady apples have been found to be high in pectin, a water-soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known for helping to keep blood cholesterol levels down by binding with bile in the intestinal tract and removing it with the feces. This forces the liver to make more bile from existing cholesterol, helping to keep blood cholesterol levels down.

Researchers at The University of Western Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Food examined the heart health benefits of apples high in flavonoids. They found that flavonoid-rich apples improved blood vessel relaxation and enhanced nitric oxide status, which causes blood vessels to relax. This, in turn, promotes lower blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Characteristics of Pink Lady Apples
Appearance. Pink Lady apples have characteristics of both their parents, a green-yellow apple (from Golden Delicious), topped with a blushed pink-red skin (from the Lady Williams apple) that becomes a deeper shade of red where it was exposed to more sun. The flesh is creamy white in color.

Flavor and Texture. Pink Lady apples are very sweet with a slight tartness, and a strong, pleasant apple aroma. They are very crisp, with a slightly dry and firm creamy-white flesh, and a thin, smooth pink-red skin.

Storage/Shelf-Life.  Pink Lady apples have a very long storage life, which makes them available almost year-round. For the longest life, the apples should be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator with the air vent open, or on the fruit setting. They should keep well for about a month when kept cold and dry. If you plan on eating them quickly, within 3 to 5 days, they may be kept at room temperature.

Best Uses for Pink Lady Apples
Fresh. Pink Lady apples are excellent for eating in any fresh application imaginable. Their refreshing, crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor makes them wonderful apples for eating out of hand, cut into salads, spread with nut butters, served with dips, or dipped into candy coatings like caramel or chocolate. They pair well with crackers and cheese, such as goat cheese, gorgonzola, and gouda. Pink Lady apples tend to brown slower than many apples, so they are a good choice for applications when you need to cut apples in advance.

Baking. Pink Lady apples may be baked into baked apples, baked in muffins and other quick breads, baked into crisps, crumbles, and tarts, and roasted in savory dishes. They pair well with pork and poultry. The apple slices will tenderize yet retain their shape when baked in pies. To give apple dishes a pinkish color, leave the skin on the apples and the baking or cooking process will leach the reddish-pink color into the food.

Cooking. Pink Lady apples can be cooked down into applesauce. Make your sauce pink by leaving the skin on the apples when they are cooked. They are also excellent pureed in soups, paired with meats, poultry, and seafood. They can add a little flavor boost when shredded and added to meatballs, especially those made with ground poultry. Try poached Pink Lady apples served over ice cream.

Drying. The firm texture of Pink Lady apples makes them good candidates for dehydrating or baking into chips.

Recipe Links
Pink Lady Apple Crisp

The Best Old Fashioned Apple Crisp Recipe

Pink Lady Apple Galette with Sea Salt

Waldorf Salad

Grilled Apples and Ice Cream

No-Sugar Homemade Applesauce

Spinach and Apple Salad

Easy Homemade Applesauce

Smoky Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

Overnight Oatmeal with Apples

Apple Chai Spice Granola

Apple-Carrot Morning Glory Muffins

Apple-Coconut Quinoa Cereal

Tart Apple, Strawberry and Basil Hidden Green Smoothie

Shamrock Smoothie

Apple, Grains, and Greens Bowl

Apple, Fennel, Celery, and Walnut Slaw

Apple Quinoa Lentil Salad

Pink Lady Apple Sauce with Cardamom and Cinnamon

Pink Lady Apple, Oat, and Cinnamon Energy Balls



About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

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