Climate influence on apple flavor


The Association of Polish Fruit and Vegetable Distributors “Unia Owocowa” continues the second year of the campaign “Strength of taste, vitamins and colors – get to know the quality of apples from Europe”, which aims to promote European apples in the United Arab Emirates.

This time we would like to focus on the topic of climate influence on the taste of apples. What makes so many varieties to choose from, and they differ not only in taste, but also in shape, color, size, flesh firmness and a number of other features? One factor that influences the flavor of an apple is the climate in which the apple variety is grown. In other words, the same variety grown in different climatic conditions will differ, for example, taste from the same apple grown in a different climate. Royal Gala from Poland or France will have a different taste and appearance than the same variety grown in New Zealand or Chile.

The taste of apples is determined, among others, by sugar and acid content and their proportions. As we know, most consumers choose sweet varieties, although sweet and sour apples are sometimes irreplaceable as an ingredient of some meals. The genetic characteristics of a given variety are also very important. According to the campaigns’ website – “they decide, inter alia, on tree growth, susceptibility to diseases, maturation date, and the appearance of apples and their taste properties ”. To improve their quality, fruit growers introduce their colorful mutations, which arise naturally (eg: Najdared variety [red mutant of Idared variety], or Red Chief [mutant of Red Delicious variety]). The method of apple production, environmental conditions and the aforementioned climate are also important factors.

When it comes to climate, the most important factor is light and its intensity. It gives the tree its longevity and productivity, and the apples have flavor and appearance. Its lack may be the reason for the alternate fruiting of apples. A way to improve the insolation of fruits is to form the crown of trees in such a way as to ensure the penetration of light into their interior. This is especially important in conditions where the intensity of sunlight is lower. Summer pruning is performed in the run-up to harvesting revealing the fruit, thus improving access to sunlight. It is also called “color cut” (well colored apples are sweeter). This also applies to yellow and green apples.

Too high temperature causes the transport of water and minerals to be disturbed. The low temperature, in turn, makes the apple mature later and smaller. Warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for the color of apples, and thus improve their taste. According to the portal, “the research has also shown that warmer temperatures mean an evolution in the taste and texture of apples. The climatic changes cause a reduction in the acidity, firmness and water-dilution of the fruit, with a simultaneous increase in the sugar concentration”.

Water is essential for the growth and yielding of apple trees, as well as for the formation of a blush. Dry soil and dry air around the tree crown delay the dyeing process. For these reasons, an additional water supply is necessary during periods of drought.

Fruit growers are concerned about climate change and are keeping a close eye on it. For apple production systems, these “changes will include the effects of higher temperatures on flowering, yield and fruit quality.” According to the president of the Fruit Union Association, Arkadiusz Gaik, climate change is inevitable and fruit growers must work together with other industries to prepare an action plan to ensure profitable production, while caring for the environment. It is worth noting that the problem is treated very seriously by the European Commission, which has prepared a number of measures to minimize climate change and its effects. To this end, a climate strategy to 2050 has been established and divided into phases. For example, by 2030 a goal was set, incl. reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990, the acquisition of 27 percent. energy from renewable sources, improving energy efficiency by 27% compared to the business-as-usual scenario.

European apple producers use this knowledge, which results in tasty, well-colored fruit, containing many vitamins and minerals at the same time.

The promotional campaign “The power of taste, vitamins and colors – learn the quality of apples from Europe” aims to promote European apples, increase their competitiveness and consumption on the United Arab Emirates market and the re-export markets from the UAE.