Red-pulp apple varieties contain high concentrations of antioxidants and natural phenols with health benefits. However, wild varieties that bear this trait have a terrible astringent taste. Now, breeders in Europe and New Zealand are developing modern varieties of red meat using traditional techniques such as crossbreeding as well as genetic engineering.
Deep in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, select farms grow a rare variety of apples not unlike most traditional varieties found abroad. The apple’s elongated peel is a fusion of shades of yellow, green, and pink, with small white spots decorated throughout. For the unsuspecting consumer, these delicate apples can easily be confused with common cultivars like Gala or Braeburn.
Inside, however, the fruit reveals its deception: its crunchy core has a striking red color instead of the typical white that is characteristic of most commercial apples. Known as Mountain Rose Apples, Hidden Rose, or Airlie Red Flesh, these striking apples have a similar sugary aroma and flavor with notes of moderate acidity. Some say apples taste like cotton candy, strawberry lemonade, or even fruit juice. Others pick up on its subtle notes of citrusy and citrusy flavours.
The presence of red pulp in apple cultivars results from the MYB10 gene, a localized genetic protein and transcription factor of the anthocyanin pathways. Anthocyanins, a type of water-soluble polyphenol pigment, give fruits and vegetables their distinctive shades of red, purple, blue or black. Consumers are likely familiar with anthocyanins in the production aisle: purple potatoes and purple cauliflower, for example, are the colors produced by anthocyanins.