Apples grow in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but it's classic green apples that we love the best. Compared to their shiny, juicy, red apple companions, the green apple is shamefully underrated. That's surprising, especially given the wonderful health benefits that green apples have!
Green apples are all too often relegated to the kitchen (Granny Smith apples have more to offer the world than apple pie filling!), but they are delicious in their own right. Compared to red apples, the green apple is high in fiber, low in sugar, and packed full of great vitamins (like Vitamin A).
Get your apple peeler ready because we're here to explain just how good green apples are! Here's everything you ever need to know about green apples.
Why are green apples green?
Let's start with the most important question of them all, though. Why are green apples actually green?
As apple enthusiasts know, there are thousands of varieties of different colored apples that are grown in the US alone. Some are natural, some have been cultivated recently for their particular qualities, and others have been shaped by human farming practices over centuries.
Different apples vary (sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically) in terms of taste, texture, shape, size, longevity, density, and structure. Some are good for cooking and baking; others are best for snacking or dipping in peanut butter.
The most effective way for us to categorize apples, though, is often by color.
There are green apples, red apples, and yellow apples (and a few in between). As you'll see, green apples have distinctive qualities in comparison to other colors of apples.
But what makes them green?
- The green color of apples comes from the presence of green chlorophyll in the apple skin.
- This chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis, but it also works as a skin pigment.
- Red apples also have chlorophyll, as they too need to photosynthesize; however, the green color of the chlorophyll is hidden by the presence of a compound known as anthocyanin.
- This compound isn't present in green apples, but in red apples, it's responsible for the vivid red sheen.
- But while apples are green because of their chlorophyll, the health benefits of green apples aren't related to the presence of chlorophyll - these are due to other minerals and vitamins that are present in the apple itself.
Different varieties of green apples
As we already mentioned, there are a lot of different varieties of apples. A lot of these varieties are classed as green apples.
Again, not all green apples are equal. Different green apples have different qualities; some are best used for baking cakes while others are best for turning into applesauce.
A few of the most popular green apple varieties include the following:
- Ashmead's Kernel
- Duke of Devonshire
- Golden Delicious
- Ginger Gold
- Granny Smith Apples
What do green apples taste like?
Green apples all have their own unique tastes. The Honeygold is much sweeter than the tart Granny Smith, for instance.
All green apples, however, tend to have a distinctive taste in comparison to red or yellow apples, however.
- Broadly speaking, green apples have a tough yet crunchy texture.
- They snap loudly when you bite into them, but they are juicy on the inside.
- Green apples aren't as sweet as red apples, however, as their taste is much more acidic. This level of sweetness to tartness varies from one variety to the next.
- Extremely tart apples are often only used for cooking or for turning into applesauce - the bitterness can be too much for anyone with a sweet tooth (Granny Smith, for example).
- The tougher exterior also makes green apples well-suited for the kitchen.
- Mid-level varieties, such as the Golden Delicious, can be eaten almost interchangeably with sweeter red apples.
How many calories in a green apple?
These unique tastes, acidity, and tougher skin, are in part a result of the unique nutritional makeup of the green apple.
Green apple nutrition is surprisingly different from red apple nutrition, and so we see (and taste) a significant difference between the two.
Compared to red apples, green apples have much lower sugar content, for instance. This is why the red apple tastes much sweeter than a tart-tasting green apple.
Less sugar also means green apple calories are lower than red apple calories (although in practice, these stats are marginal when comparing red and green apples, given the small size of an apple!).
Here's a quick rundown of the green apple nutrition facts. According to the FDA, 1 medium-sized green apple (approx 160 grams) contains the following nutritional value:
- 97 calories
- 0.3 grams of fat
- 22 grams of carbs
- 16 grams of sugars
- 4.7 grams of fiber
- 0.7 grams of protein
In addition, a green apple also contains sizable quantities of important vitamins and minerals, accounting for a large portion of your recommended daily intake.
A green apple contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, iron, potassium, calcium, and more. It might not be classed as a 'superfood,' but the humble green apple is certainly underrated given its nutritional strength!
The health benefits of green apples
Given its great nutritional content, there are a lot of green apple benefits we should all be looking to take advantage of, especially given how accessible green apples are all through the year.
- Green apples are low in calories but high in fiber.
- There's not much fat, and sugar levels are lower than red apples.
- It's the nutrients and vitamins, however, that offer the best benefits.
To quote an overused but accurate phrase: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Here are a few of the major health benefits offered by green apples.1. Promotes a healthy digestive system
Green apples are an easy and effective source of fiber. One apple alone can account for up to 20 percent of your daily fiber intake.
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system, but green apples also contain a compound called pectin, which also helps to promote a healthy digestive tract and a happy gut.2. Boost your immune system
Apples are great for keeping your immune system in great shape (hence the saying about apples and doctors!).
Because of the high nutritional content, you can rest assured that your body is going to be kept topped up with all the minerals and vitamins it needs to fight off any viruses that might be going around...3. Reduce the risk of cancer
No, that's not dramatic. Green apples can help you to reduce your risk of cancer, and there are a number of reasons why.
First of all, green apples are high in certain vitamins that help our bodies to fight off cancer cells. The main vitamin here is Vitamin C, which helps us to keep skin cancer at bay.
Apples are also high in antioxidants, which again perform a similar function to those helpful vitamins in fighting cancerous cells!4. Reduce signs of aging
Green apples help to reduce several different signs of aging, allowing you to stay fresh and healthy for much longer than a non-apple eater!
Being an excellent source of Vitamin A, green apples help to keep our skin moisturized, allowing us to replace dead cells quickly.
Green apples are also linked to shinier hair, hair loss prevention, and much more.5. Weight loss and diabetes
Compared to other snacks you could be eating (even just compared to red apples), green apples can help with weight loss and diabetes prevention or control.
Green apples are a light snack that has high nutritional benefits, but they are low in calories. This makes them perfect for a weight loss diet that aims to cut down calories.
The green apple weight loss theory only works in conjunction with a balanced diet, though. Eating a mountain of fries then following it up with an apple isn't going to help you to lose weight!
In terms of diabetes, green apples are relatively low in sugars compared to other types of fruits and other snacks you could be eating. This helps you to keep your blood sugar levels low, which in turn helps prevent or control type 2 diabetes.
The last word on green apples
In conclusion, it's safe to say that green apples are a great way to add extra nutrition to your diet without adding extra calories.
An apple a day really does help to keep the doctor away, so why not stock your kitchen full of green apples? Why not bookmark our guide to green apples, too?