It’s one of the most recognizable apples around thanks to its bright green skin, famously tart flavor, and tremendous versatility in the kitchen. But, what do we really know about Granny Smith apples? This post will answer just that by sharing all of the fun facts about your favorite green apple variety, Granny Smith.
Who is Granny Smith, anyway?
The story about how Granny Smith apples came to be is quite unique, and dates back to a 1924 article in Farmer and Settler that was based on interviews of farmers who knew the real Maria Ann (Granny) Smith. She was a British-Australian orchardist who farmed with her husband on 24 acres just outside of Sydney, Australia. The story goes that Granny Smith would often toss the remains of French crab apples (from Tasmania) among the ferns and creek on her property. In 1868, she noticed that the apples had seeded and began to work with a few of the chance seedling trees. The apple the chance seedling bore was unique, so Granny Smith took it upon herself to propagate the new apple and along the way, found it to be great for both snacking and cooking. She began selling her seedling at Sydney’s George Street market until her death in 1870. Her farm’s new owner, Edward Gallard, planted the apple extensively. He marketed it locally until it was widely adopted after winning the prize for best cooking apples at a horticultural show around 1890. Granny Smith quickly became a top variety in Australia because of its unique flavor and qualities, late harvest time, and great shelf life in storage and for exporting.
The high acid levels in Granny Smith is the secret behind it’s baking abilities.
More than a century after it received notoriety for being the “best cooking apple,” Granny Smith is still among the best apples to bake with. The apple is very acidic, which means they hold their shape well when placed in the oven at high temperatures. The tartness of Granny Smith also makes it a favorite in for baking recipes, especially apple pie.
Granny Smith is a high-antioxidant apple.
All apples contain high levels of antioxidants, which inhibit free radicals from causing irreversible damage to the body’s cells during a process called oxidation. Granny Smith is among several high-antioxidant apple variety, and contains the highest concentration of phenols. Additionally, recent research from Washington State University found Granny Smith apples to have more non-digestible compounds than other leading varieties, which could have positive effects for fighting obesity.
The legacy of Granny Smith lives on today.
Granny Smith is honored every year at the Granny Smith Festival in Eastwood, NSW in Australia. Her life and legacy is recognized alongside fireworks, a carnival, and a parade. Additionally, Granny Smith’s great-granddaughter, Edna, continued to praise Granny Smith apples until her passing. She lived to be 101 years old and attributed her long life to “good genes and lots of Granny Smith apples.”
Granny Smith grows best in warm climates where there is plenty of sunshine.
It’s no wonder why this apple variety grows so well in central Washington, as Granny Smith loves the sunshine! The leading apple growing region in the U.S. is home to long, warm summer days and cool nights that occasionally give Granny Smith a pink blush on her cheeks. The arid climate is the main reason why Stemilt is able to consistently grow crisp, vibrant, and flavorful Granny Smith apples year-after-year.