A romantic walk through the apple orchard...

A definitive ranking of the apples of New Zealand

Tara Ward sets out on a valiant quest to find the best apple in Aotearoa. 

The idea that every apple is a good apple is fake news. We’ve all got stories about shit experiences with apples, when it looked good on the outside but it was a floury disaster zone on the inside, or it was tart when you wanted sweet, or, God forbid, it was red when all you wanted was a tangy Granny Smith. Apples may be small and cute and healthy, but they don’t call them the forbidden fruit for nothing. Trust no one, especially an apple.

To ease this paralysing anxiety, I’ve scoured the nation’s fruit bowls and taken a deep dive into the orchard of life (three supermarkets and something called The Crazy Pumpkin) to discover which apple is most worthy of our love and affection. The apple prayers that nobody has been making have, at last, been heard. Which apple is best? Which is worst? Why does Adam have one stuck in his throat? Oh, fruit, you always bring the laughs.

Let’s take a hearty bite into the one and only, 100% definitive, no-correspondence-will-be-entered-into power rankings of the greatest fruit in the universe, aka the humble apple. Read it and weep, peel it and call yourself a waaambulance.

15) AMBROSIA

Look, someone’s got to be last and it’s nothing personal. I’m very sorry.

14) ENVY

‘Tis a mortal sin to be this low in the power rankings, especially when this apple claims to be “grown for our busy, modern lives”. Stick it in your pippy core because unless you’re a pair of pants with big pockets, you shall not help our busy lives.

13) GRANNY SMITH

Fuck yeah, Granny Smith. Women reckon they become invisible at a certain age but Granny Smith is proof that this is just another fruity lie from the fairer sex. These grannies are bloody everywhere, all bright and cheery with their waxy green skin and their flesh so tart it’ll suck your cheeks inside out. At the end of the 5+ a day, who doesn’t like a nice tart granny?

12) LEMONADE

Beyonce’s fruity inspiration.

11) NZ QUEEN

It’s Rachel Hunter’s fave, Kate Sheppard ate it religiously, and Hilary Barry prefers hers sliced into quarters. Must be kept on a throne in the pantry.

10) SIMPLY RED

If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never, never know me.

9) PINK LADY

The blue manchild apple is still in development and I’m counting down the sleeps until we finally achieve fruit equality. Gender issues aside, the pink lady is the only apple to partner with the Breast Cancer Foundation, so on behalf of breasticles everywhere, please eat the ladies to help save the girls.

8) SMITTEN 

Cute name, cute apple, smite me right through my crunchy heart.

7) PACIFIC ROSE

Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed. Others say it’s just an apple perfect for a salad. An apple in a salad? Now I’ve seen it all.

6) RED DELICIOUS

It’s red, it’s delicious, say no more.

5) FUJI

The Fuji apple is half fruit, half Japanese mountain. It’s also apparently the best type of apple to freeze (WHAT) and lasts in your fridge for up to three months (STOP). OMG, Fuji.

4) ROYAL GALA

It’s the Prince Harry of the apple world: part regal, part good time. It’s business out the front with its red skin and pert stem. But cut inside this bad boy and the party juices flow like an antioxidant tsunami. It’s a fruit party for one, but be warned, a single bite of that crisp skin and you’re practically sleeping with the queen. Weird.

3) JAZZ

It’s jazzy, it’s snazzy, chop it up with your jazz hands and eat it in your jazebo. It’s so good Roxie Hart went to prison for it in Chicago (all that JAZZ), but alas, it’s been knocked off the top spot thanks to its shithouse name. I mean, Jazz? Call it crunch, call it Ripe Ball Of Happiness, call it This Is A Nice Apple. Anything but Jazz. Am I right, Jazz Man?

Don’t ask him, he’s too busy laughing at the name.

2) EVE

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This is the apple that brought about the downfall of man, and every bite takes you to paradise. It’s God’s work, and I think I want to marry you, Eve.

1) BRAEBURN

Zest! Tang! That’s the sound that you hear when you put a Braeburn to your ear and nuzzle it softly. It’s a pockety parcel of everything sweet and tart, red and green, brae and burn. People weep whenever they bite into one, because it’s like tasting heaven. In ancient times, Braeburn meant ‘greatest apple of all time and not a word shall be heard against it’ and with that in mind, I rest my appley case.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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