English Apples - Vitamin C Content

A few of you may be interested in the vitamin C content of apples. However, before reading this, you should be aware that paying too much attention to nutritional data can lead to a preoccupation with various kinds of unbalanced diet....this is not the way to stay healthy.

The taste of vitamin C is very distinctive; it's present in very large amounts in oranges, and in fairly large amounts in some apples.

Yorkshire Orchards (see links page) reckons that the apple highest in vitamin C is Ribston, and of the thirty or so apple types I've tried, I would agree with this, judging by the taste. But I've looked around the internet and found some figures. The vitamin C content varies quite a lot - it depends on the conditions under which the apple was grown, and how long ago it was picked. If an apple goes "off" rapidly then so does the vitamin C level. Coxes and a number of other storing varieties are reckoned to lose about half of it in three months. The data refer to freshly picked apples, so far as I can tell, but sources vary widely.

mg/100g Variety
25 Sturmer
16 Ribston
15 Blenheim
13 Red Delicious
11 Cox (another ref. says 16mg)
11 Jonathan (another ref. says 19mg)
..9 James Grieve
..8 Spartan
..7 Golden Delicious (another ref says 23mg)
..6 McIntosh

I don't believe the figures in brackets for Jonathan and Golden Delicious, and the Sturmer figures look rather high. My personal estimate of vitamin C level, in a few of the apples I know, judging by the taste, would be (highest to lowest):

- Ribston
- Blenheim
- Cox
- May Queen (in a good year)
- Allen's Everlasting
- Laxton's Fortune
- King Edward VII
- Bramley
- Golden Noble
- James Grieve
- Wyken Pippin
- Devonshire Quarrenden
- Worcester Pearmain
- Merton Knave

Of the commercial varieties I guess Braeburn would be similar in Vitamin C level to Laxton's Fortune, and Golden Delicious ( a misnomer if there ever was one) would be close to Merton Knave. Granny Smith is probably a little below Cox, though the high vitamin C level doesn't compensate for the poor texture or the unpleasantly waxy skin.

So far as I know there is no "standard procedure" for measuring the vitamin C level of an average apple. It would be interesting to devise one.

If anyone has better estimates than the above, or more information, I would be interested to hear.

N.D., Diversity website

UPDATE: I am working on a method for measuring vitamin C in apples. See further down main Apples page.

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