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July 26, 2010

Red-fleshed apple goes on sale in UK

The appearance of the humble apple pie is about to be transformed after the world's first red-fleshed apple went on sale in Britain.

Like many other apples, the new Redlove variety has a bright red skin on the outside but is unique as it has the same colour running right through to the core. The rosy-red hue maintains its striking colour while being eaten and even after being cooked and pressed.

This means the contents of a traditional apple pie will now take on more of a pinky-red look.

The new fruit is not only said to be extremely tasty - it has a 'berry nuance' - it is even healthier than your average apple as its colourful flesh is richer in antioxidants.

A grower has spent the last 20 years painstakingly breeding the new fruit. He has used natural cross-pollination techniques involving an number of 'parent' trees before finally coming up with the Redlove variety.

Seed and sapling company Suttons has secured the exclusive rights to sell sapling trees in Britain, with 1,500 orders taken from amateur gardeners already.

But orchards across Europe are now being planted with Redlove saplings so the apples can be produced on a commercial scale.

British supermarkets are expected to start selling them within the next few years.

Tom Sharples, spokesman for Suttons, based in Paignton, Devon, said: 'This is the very first red-fleshed, fine-tasting apple in the world.

Natural: The rosy-red apple has been grown without the use of genetic modification techniques

'It has a delicious sweet and tangy taste with a hint of berries to it if eaten raw and is also ideal for cooking.

'The skin is crimson and is rosy-red right through to the core and also has a beautiful pattern running through it.

'It obviously has a huge novelty factor to it because it looks so striking but there serious health benefits too as there are higher levels of antioxidants in the colour pigments.

'It retains its red colour even when cooked and is ideal for things like fruit salads as it doesn't turn brown after a while.

'When pressed, they produce a clear pinky-red apple juice that looks more like cranberry.'

Nursery owner Markus Kobert has spent the last 20 years meticulously producing the Redlove apple at his fruit farm in Switzerland.

He has cross-pollinated different varieties of apples such as Royal Gala and Braeburn with another specimen that has pink flesh but no taste.

Mr Sharples said: 'This has been a natural breeding process and no genetic modification techniques have been used.

'The trees were grown in tunnels rather than outdoors so that there would be no random pollination from bees. Instead the pollen from the flowers off the trees has been deliberately crossed over to flowers on other trees until the Redlove apple was finally produced. We have got the rights to sell year-old saplings through mail order to private customers and we have taken 1,500 orders already. They will be ready for delivery in November.

'These trees will start producing fruit in the second year. We think they will be available in supermarkets in Britain in four or five years time. Trees are going down in orchards across Europe for large-scale commercial production. Two varieties of Redlove applies have been produced.'

They are the Redlove Era, which can be harvested from September and stored up until Christmas and the Redlove Sirena which can be harvested from August and stored until October.

As well as the eye-catching fruit, their trees produce beautiful deep pink blossom in the spring.

The saplings are available from Suttons and cost £24.95.

Jim Arbury, fruit superintendent at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, said: 'I've heard about these new apples and I very much look forward to trying one. Until then I obviously can't say anything about the taste but it certainly looks interesting and I'm sure it will appeal to lots of people. There are other apples about that have red flesh but they tend to be red close to the skin. This one appears to be consistently red right through and also keeps its colour.'

Daily Mail

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