I don’t know about you, but I hate eating an apple when it’s not cut up. The skins get stuck in my teeth, and I somehow end up swallowing the seeds. But when I cut one up, it turns brown by the time I get to class. Yes, this is a First World Problem, but it would be nice if my apple still looked fresh and appealing.
The USDA agrees. They’ve just allowed trees that will bear a new non-browning apple variety to be sold to farmers.
Why does an apple turn brown in the first place? When the fruit is cut, oxygen is introduced into the injured plant tissue. A special enzyme, called polyphenol oxidase, reacts with oxygen and iron-containing phenols in the apple. Basically, the cut surface of your apple rusts. After learning this, those brown apple slices seem even less appealing now.
This new variety called the “Arctic Apple” was developed in Canada. It currently comes in Arctic Granny or Arctic Golden varieties, but the company expects Arctic Fuji and Arctic Gala to come out soon.
These new varieties grow exactly the same way, contain no new proteins and have the same nutritional value. The only difference is when the apple is bitten, cut or bruised.
The first varieties are expected to be available in small test markets sometime next year.