Gala apple is a clonally propagated apple cultivar.
The common depiction of apples is that they are bright red all around, but not all apples are like that. Gala apples are an excellent example. You’ll notice it does not have a solid color but instead, the skin has a somewhat mottled color, like fading orange and red with streaks of yellow in some parts.
If you see a much redder Gala apple, it is probably the Royal Gala. This is a Gala apple sport, patented by Stark in 1977. The main characteristic is redder fruits compared to the original cultivar.
Species: M. domestica
Hybrid parentage: ‘Kidd’s Orange Red’ × ‘Golden Delicious’
Gala Apple Trivia
- Red Delicious used to be the apple cultivar with the highest production in the US, but in 2018, Gala apple got that distinction, according to the US Apple Association. Red Delicious reigned supreme for more than 50 years until Gala apple became the top cultivar.
- Humans have been eating apples since 6,500 B.C.
- If you are wondering why you are seeing a lot of apples in the supermarket and they look different from each other, it is because there are 7,500 apple varieties in the world. There are some which are preferred for commercial growing, like Gala apples.
- In 2015, Royal Gala and Granny Smith apples from California caused a Listeriosis outbreak in the US.
Gala Apple Buying Guide
Gala apple peak season varies in different parts of the world. Growers in the northern hemisphere harvest Gala apples from May to September. In Australia, Gala apples are available beginning in late January. In California, there are Gala apples until October. Gala apples become in season in the UK in August. But thanks to food technology, cold storage, and controlled atmosphere storage, there are ways to make sure Gala apples are available all year long.
The only downside to buying Gala apples when these are not in season is that they may taste different compared to Gala apples sold during peak season.
When buying Gala apples, check if these are firm. A good Gala apple should be firm and not soft or mushy so that it is crunchy when you bite on it. Hold the apple and press your fingers against it to test its firmness. The next thing to check is the quality of the Gala apple’s outer appearance. Are there holes, or cracks, or discoloration?
Lastly, smell your Gala apples. Apples, in general, have no noticeable fresh fruit scent unlike other fruits like mangoes or oranges. What you want to accomplish by sniffing the Gala apples is to make sure it has no foul or unnatural scent that could indicate potential quality problems for the Gala apples.
Gala Apple Production & Farming in Texas
Gala apple was created in the 1930s as a result of the cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd’s Orange Red in New Zealand. This is the work of orchardist J.H. Kidd. A US plant patent was secured on October 15, 1974, for this new cultivar, by Donald W. McKenzie, an employee of Stark Bros Nursery.
Today, Gala apples are grown in many parts of the US, including Texas. The estimated 2018 production of Gala apples from U.S. growers was at 52.4 million boxes.
There are three types of apples commonly grown in Texas – Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Gala Apples. The place that offers the best conditions for growing Gala apples is in the eastern part of Texas. Here, there is moderate rain and plenty of sunshine to keep the soil dry. These are important when growing Gala apple trees. Gala apples are suitable in areas such as Dallas. Texas A&M recommends Gala apples in medium and high chill areas in Texas.
To grow Gala apples in Texas, it is important to have warm summers and a cold period during the year which is important in the apple tree’s fruit production. It is also important that the location provides the apple tree a well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. It should receive at least 10 hours of sunlight every day. Gala apple trees should have ample room to grow, so plant them in a way that the orchard does not turn out crowded. If you are planting a tree, do so after the threat of frost has passed. Prune it annually and feed it fertilizer between April to June.
Apples are treated with chemicals, and Gala apples are no exception.
- Acetamiprid – a neonicotinoid insecticide used for the control of sucking-type insects
- Azinphos-methyl – an organophosphate insecticide used for pest control
- Boscalid – a synthetic carboxamide fungicide
- Buprofezin – an insecticide used for control of insect pests such as mealybugs, leafhoppers, and whitefly
- Carbaryl – a man-made pesticide used to control aphids, fire ants, fleas, ticks, spiders, etc.
- Carbendazim (MBC) – a fungicide is used to control plant diseases in cereals and fruits
- Chlorantraniliprole – insecticide intended for the control of Lepidopteran, Coleopteran, and some Dipteran pests in commercial agriculture
- Chlorpropham – herbicide used as a sprout suppressant for grass weeds, alfalfa, etc.
- Chlorpyrifos – an organophosphate pesticide used to kill pests, including insects and worms.
- Cyhalothrin – a pyrethroid insecticide to control pests such as aphids, Colorado beetle, and thrips.
- DCPA – a pre-emergent herbicide used to control annual grasses and broadleaf weeds
- Diazinon – an organophosphorus insecticide used to control pest insects in the soil, on ornamental plants, and fruit and vegetable field crops
- Dicofol – a miticide that is very effective against spider mite
- Difenoconazole – a broad-spectrum triazole fungicide highly effective against diseases caused by various fungi
- Diphenylamine (DPA) – Used to prevent “storage scald” wherein the skin of the apples turns brown.
- Endosulfan I, Endosulfan II, Endosulfan sulfate – a pesticide used to control a variety of insects including whiteflies, aphids, leafhoppers, Colorado potato beetles, and cabbage worms
- Esfenvalerate + Fenvalerate – synthetic pyrethroid insecticides used to control a wide variety of insects infesting crops.
- Etoxazole – a narrow spectrum systemic acaricide used to combat spider mites
- Fenbuconazole – a triazole fungicide used as agricultural and horticultural fungicide spray to control leaf spot, yellow and brown rust, powdery mildew, and net blotch
- Fenpropathrin – ingestion and contact synthetic pyrethroid used to control a range of insects, especially mites
- Fenpyroximate – a miticide/insecticide that works through contact action, applied through foliar spray
- Flonicamid – a pyridine organic compound used as an insecticide on aphids, whiteflies, and thrips.
- Fludioxonil – a phenylpyrrole pesticide applied to fruit and vegetable crops post-harvest to minimize mold
- Imazalil – a post-harvest fungicide
- Imidacloprid – a systemic insecticide that affects the central nervous system of insects
- Methoxychlor olefin – used to protect crops against fleas, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other insects
- Methoxyfenozide – an insect growth regulator (IGR) used to control pests and preserve beneficial insect populations
- Myclobutanil – used for preventative and curative control of fungal diseases
- Ortho-phenylphenol – an antimicrobial agent used as a fungicide to control fungal and bacterial growth on stored crops
- Pendimethalin – herbicide used in preemergence and postemergence applications to control annual grasses and certain broadleaf weeds
- Permethrin – a restricted use pesticide for crop and wide area applications
- Phosmet – a phthalimide-derived, non-systemic, organophosphate insecticide used mainly used on apple trees for control of codling moth
- Pronamide – used for pre-emergent and post-emergent control of weeds
- Pyraclostrobin – an agricultural pesticide product used to kill blights, mildews, molds, and rusts
- Pyrimethanil – contact fungicide
- Pyriproxyfen – a pesticide used against a variety of insects like whitefly, fleas, cockroaches, ticks, ants, carpet beetles, and mosquitoes
- Spinosad – used to control a wide variety of pests like thrips, leafminers, spider mites, mosquitoes, ants, and fruit flies
- Spinetoram – controls or suppresses worms, caterpillars, various Diptera, thrips, sawfly larvae, certain beetles and psyllids, some Orthoptera, fleas, and red imported fire ants
- Tebuconazole – fungicide used to treat plant pathogenic fungi
- Tetrahydrophthalimide (THPI) – used on a variety of terrestrial and greenhouse food/feed crops, post-harvest fruit dips, indoor non-food uses, seed treatment, and ornamental sites
- Thiabendazole – a systemic benzimidazole fungicide used to control fruit and vegetable diseases such as mold, rot, blight, and stain
- Thiacloprid – used in crops to control sucking insects like aphids and whiteflies
- Thiamethoxam – a broad-spectrum, systemic insecticide that deters insect feeding
- Trifloxystrobin – an agricultural fungicide for control of diseases such as mildew and scab
Gala apples originated in New Zealand in the 1930s. It was then introduced in the UK and planted in commercial volumes during the 1980s. Today, 20% of commercial production for eating apples grown in the UK is Gala apples.
In the US, 36 of the 50 states grow apples. The top producers are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia. American apple growers grow different varieties, including Gala apples.
China is the top apple producer in the world. Other major producers include the U.S., Poland, Italy, and France.
Gala apples are stored in a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage until these are to be packed. Some facilities use hydro handling which means Gala apples are transferred into a water dunk tank and float out to a conveyor belt. Other facilities use dry loading, wherein bins transfer the apples directly to the conveyor belt. The next step is through a sorting line to remove bad apples (decayed, defective, damaged, and undersized apples). This is followed by cleaning (soaking in water containing food-grade detergents and disinfectants), rinsing, and air-drying. Next is spraying the apples with food-grade wax to help prevent moisture loss, slow down respiration in storage, and increase shine. This is followed by computerized grading based on appearance, color, size, weight, and internal quality. This is followed by labeling (this is when they put the sticker you usually find in apples). Packaging may mean the apples are placed in a tray (made of carton, plastic, or foam) in groups or sets (i.e. 6 apples in one pack). Each tray of apples is covered with plastic wrap. A popular apple packaging is the foam net. These are then placed in carton boxes for shipping.
Enjoying Gala Apples
When you eat Gala apples, you will notice it has a mild and sweet flavor. It has a good texture and you can smell its good aroma from the first bite. The juicy and crunchy Gala apples are a great choice for a snack. Before eating Gala apples, make sure to wash them first. The best method is water mixed with a little baking soda. If you can wash the apple with water, just make sure to at least wipe it before taking a bite.
Eating apples is easy, convenient, enjoyable, and satisfying because it is a very versatile fruit that goes well with other foods like cheese, bacon, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, oatmeal, peanut butter, jelly, etc. It pairs well with a lot of different kinds of fruits too.
Should I refrigerate Gala apples? Yes. Keep them on the counter or table and they won’t make it to 14 days. The crisper is the best place for your Gala apples. Put it in a plastic bag with holes in it. You can also cover your apples with a damp paper towel. Apples will keep for up to eight weeks if stored properly.
What if your apples do not fit in the fridge? The cellar or the garage are your options for storing apples, just make sure the place is cool and dark. Keep in mind that the ideal storage temperature is 30 to 35 degrees F. with 90 to 95 percent relative humidity. But don’t just put your apples there, you still have to do other things. First, make sure the apples still have their stems (this will help prolong the apple’s freshness). Second, wrap each apple individually. Use old newspapers or any paper. Put the apples in a tray and avoid stacking apples on top of the other. Check your apples from time to time and remove apples that are starting to go bad.
I have cut apples left uneaten. How do I store them? Use a resealable bag or an airtight container, and refrigerate. This will keep for 3 to 5 days. Will they turn brown (this happens because the enzymes in the cut surface oxidize when exposed to air)? Definitely. But some ways may slow down the browning of sliced apples. But first, remember this: even if they turned brown, they are still ok to eat. Unappetizing, I know. But don’t throw it away if it is still good to eat. Throwing away food just because they are not good to look at is one of the reasons why food waste is a problem.
Now, on to the tips: try putting sliced apples in salt water, lemon juice, or lemon-lime soda.
Can I freeze apples? Yes! But only if you plan to use the apples for cooking. Freezing apples will remove the juicy, crunchy qualities of fresh apples. Frozen apples will keep for several months. Wash whole apples, set them on a tray, and freeze them. For sliced apples, make sure to remove the core, wash them in salt water or lemon juice, rinse, and store in a sealed freezer bag.
Here are other things to keep in mind regarding storing Gala apples:
- Avoid storing other vegetables with apples because this fruit releases ethylene gas that speeds up the decay of fruits and vegetables near it.
- When picking which apple from your storage to eat or use, pick the largest because the smaller apples usually last longer in storage.
- How long your apples remain in good condition during storage starts with how you handle them during picking or in the grocery. Avoid dropping them or anything that results in the apples absorbing impact, because this will damage the skin resulting in bruising and activating the release of ethylene gas that makes apples rot.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but won’t you get tired of eating apples every day? Not if you explore the many ways to prepare and eat apples! Let’s start with the classics: apple pies, sliced apples on fresh salad, and caramel apples.
There is a lot of pastry and baked goods you can make using apples – apple turnovers, apple strudel, apple tart, apple galette, apple fritters, apple dump cake, apple pound cake. You can also make apple chips (with cinnamon) or use apples as toppings on pancakes. Carve out some space in your apples and put ice cream in them to make caramel apple ice cream cups, or make apple crumble with whipped cream and pecan toppings. Use Gala apples to make apple butter, apple sauce, apple jam, or homemade apple cider.
If that is not enough, here are some ideas you might have not heard of yet: infuse apples with spirits like vodka, make apple dumplings, or make donuts using apples as the base (top and decorate it as you would a donut).
Gala apples contain calories, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. Gala apples also contain high levels of polyphenols. This helps in managing cholesterol and weight loss. Eating Gala apples is a great way to protect yourself against heart disease.
Eating Gala apples can help in preventing cancer. This is also a good fruit to eat for those managing asthma. If you want to keep your bones strong, include Gala apples in your diet. This is also good for your brain health.