Recently our family was lucky enough to sample a new kind of apple named the Opal. It is a special apple, not only because it resists browning, but also because it can help nonprofits!
From their press release:
“The Opal is a very special apple. An apple that doesn’t brown when you cut it? Too good to be true? It’s a dream come true for mothers struggling to get their picky eaters to eat an apple once it’s oxidized. Not only is the Opal® apple a dream for mothers, it’s great for nonprofits across the U.S. which will now have a shot at part of $50,000 in grant funds from the sales of the Opal apple through its “Youth Make a Difference” initiative.”
“In 2012, FirstFruits Marketing, developer of the Opal apple, granted $20,000 to Katie’s Krops, allowing them to expand from 24 to 55 community gardens in 24 states. You may have heard of Katie’s Krops – now 14 year-old Katie Stagliano started the first garden when she was nine. Her gardens provide food for local soup kitchens to stop hunger. Katie’s Krops will benefit from another $20,000 grant this year and they plan to grant in total up to $50,000 in grants to other youth-led nonprofits that address issues such as: food security, nutrition, agriculture, food politics or food education.”
Opal apples are available at local grocers like Lund’s and Byerlys as well as national retailers like Safeway and Walmart.
We’re pleased to report that it definitely lives up to its promise. The apples stayed white for a surprisingly long time after being cut. Even more important, they are a really tasty variety that all of our kids loved.
Our kids preferred the Opal apples over the three varieties of other apples already in our fruit bowls, and quickly ate them all up. When our toddler got into one and left a few tiny bites, we discovered it the next morning and it was still mostly pale fleshed.
We did an experiment to compare how the Opal apples oxidized compared to traditional apples. Click on the “list” button to see the progression over 30 hours.
Note: The Opal apple is a hybrid, which is a natural product of plant selection and cross-breeding that farmers have been doing for hundreds of years. This is not the same process as genetic modification, which is done in a lab and creates food products that would never occur in nature (such as inserting bug toxin DNA into corn). The Opal apple is not GMO and is available as organic, in season.
Braeburn and Opal Apples
The Opal apple (on the right) compared to a Braeburn. These are the two we used for our experiment. They were about the same in terms of age and freshness.
The first cut.
The apples, after being cut up. We started the experiment at 9 a.m. by cutting the apples into a series of wedges. We put them on a plate and left them out to test the oxidation.
After one hour
The apples, after being left out for one hour. You can see that the Braeburn apple is already starting to brown, while the Opal still looks fresh.
4 hours later
At 1 p.m., the Braeburn is definitely showing more signs of oxidation. The Opal, on the other hand, is still very white and looks crisp and fresh-cut.
The taste test.
After four hours, we did a taste test. The Opal apple was still firm and crunchy, while the Braeburn was becoming soggy and losing its crispness.
7 hours later
After seven hours (4 p.m.), the differences are really becoming pronounced. The Braeburn is definitely becoming oxidized because of exposure to the air, while the Opal is still bright.
The pieces from the taste test.
These are the apples that were sampled previously. You can see that the Braeburn apple is shriveling and turning very brown where it was bitten, while the Opal appears to have had no effect from it.
24 hours later
These are the apples at 9 a.m. the following day, after 24 hours of being exposed to the air. The Opal is still surprisingly white and firm-looking, while the Braeburn is suffering.
30 hours later
These are the apples after 30 hours of being left out. The Opal is finally starting to show signs of oxidation, but it is a tiny amount and still looks better than the Brauburn did after one hour!