Why Is My Apple Red Inside?

Why Is My Apple Red Inside?

Living in the apple capital of the US, Washington State, apples are everywhere. Heck, during harvest season, you don’t even need to go to the grocery store to buy them, they are along the side of every major highway in east of the Cascades! Occasionally, some of my personal favorites will have a hint of red in them.

However, red is not the only color that you might see when you take that bite. The colors cover the full spectrum from light pink all the way to deep purple, bordering on black!

Perhaps you’ve had this happen to you as well. Otherwise, why would you be here?

So, let’s get right to it. Shall we?

The reason your apple is red inside is because of naturally occurring water soluble pigmentation (or coloring) in the flesh of the fruit known as anthocyanins and pyrocyanidins. Not only are they not harmful, but they’re considered antioxidants and might be beneficial in the scavenging of free radicals in your diet.

This pigmentation is drawn into the flesh of the fruit, but it can also appear in the leaves and flowers as well.

What Causes Red Flesh in Apples?

A variety of factors may be involved.

There are some varieties of apples specifically cultivated for this pigmentation effect, but in the most common grocery store brands, the causes are almost exclusively environmental and not the result of chemicals or pesticides. You also shouldn’t mistake this for artificial dyes or coloring, it’s completely harmless.

As mentioned, common among these factors are those related to the environment which produced the apple. These factors can include variations in temperature, light intensity, and drought conditions. In general, the more stress the fruit is subjected to during its growth, the higher likelihood sugar concentrations will rise and along with that, the accumulation of anthocyanins and pyrocyanidins.

While this might sound surprising, apples aren’t the only fruits and vegetables that feature high levels of pigmentation. Much more common examples include varieties of berries, such as strawberries, peaches and plums. Perhaps the vegetable with the highest concentration of these pigments is one we’re all familiar with – red cabbage.

Types of Apples With Red Flesh

As previously discussed, color spectrums can range from pink to dark purple, almost black sometimes. These are cultivated specifically for the flesh pigmentation. There are many such varieties* of these apples, some harder to come by than others. A partial list of these include:

  • Airlie Red Flesh/Hidden Rose Apple
  • Almata Apple
  • Apricot Apple
  • Baldwin Red Flesh Apple
  • Bakran Apple
  • Baya Marisa Apple
  • Belle Fleur Krasny Apple
  • Blush Rosette Apple
  • Breunsdorfer Apple
  • Brown’s Apple
  • Budavgosky Apple
  • Bundy’s Ringwood Red Apple
  • Burford’s Red Flesh Apple
  • Burgundy Apple
  • Clifford Apple
  • Christmas Pink Apple
  • Devonshire Quarrenden Apple
  • Dirleton Red Apple
  • Discovery Apple
  • Dubbelman Apple
  • Eagle Point Star Apple
  • Firecracker Apple
  • Geneva Apple
  • George’s Red Apple
  • Giant Russian Apple
  • Glowing Heart Apple
  • Grenadine Apple
  • Hall’s Pink Apple
  • Hansen’s Red Flesh Apple
  • Harry Baker Apple
  • Kingsbury Priory Apple
  • Laura Apple
  • Laxton’s Fortune Apple
  • Maypole Apple
  • Merton Knave Apple
  • Merylinn Apple
  • Mott’s Pink Apple
  • Niedzweckyana Apple
  • Norfolk Rattlebox Apple
  • Pendragon Apple
  • Peach Melba Apple
  • Pink Beauty Apple
  • Pink Bouquet Apple
  • Pink Parfait Apple
  • Pink Pearl Apple
  • Pink Princess Apple
  • Pink Sparkle Apple
  • Pixirosso Apple
  • Pomfital Apple
  • Purple Passion Apple
  • Purple Wave Apple
  • Raven Apple
  • Red Devil Apple
  • Red Flesh Apple
  • Redfield Apple
  • Redford Apple
  • Red Hook Apple
  • Redlove Apple
  • Red Moon (Roter Mond) Apple
  • Red Miller’s Seedling Apple
  • Roter Herbstkalvill Apple
  • Rosette Apple
  • Rubaiyat Apple
  • Scarlet Surprise Apple
  • Scugog Apple
  • Soulardii Apple
  • Surprise Apple
  • Thornberry Apple
  • Totem Apple
  • Vampire Apple
  • Watermelon Apple
  • Webster’s Pinkmeat Apple
  • Weirouge Apple
  • Winter Redflesh Apple

* Source: Sutton Nelms

Additional Resources

For those of you who’d like a deeper understanding of the genetics behind apples specifically raised to have red flesh, you’ll want to check out this video on the topic. It’s a short but fascinating discussion on this remarkable phenomenon.

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