As autumn arrives, various fresh fruits from cold regions begin to flood the Vietnamese market, with the most familiar ones being grapes, pears, and apples. Among them, apples are the most easily confused.
Due to the same name, both green and red apples, small and large, are all referred to as "táo" in Vietnamese. So, which ones are the "real" apples, and which ones are Vietnamese apples?
The Red Delicious Apple (Táo Tây).
First and foremost, let's talk about the most easily confused fruit. This fruit belongs to the Rose family and is primarily found in temperate regions, with its fruits typically ripening in autumn. For us Vietnamese, this type of apple has its origins in Western countries but in reality, it is also grown in Asian countries with temperate climates, such as Japan, South Korea, and China.
In Vietnam, Red Delicious apples are also cultivated in provinces bordering China, like Son La and Lao Cai. However, due to unsuitable soil conditions, the Red Delicious apples grown in Vietnam are smaller, about the size of a child's fist, crunchy but tangy, and do not have significant economic value. This confusion has led to the presence of many apples of unclear origin on the market (some possibly imported from China without proper food safety inspection) being falsely labeled as Vietnamese apples, using names like "Ha Giang stone apple," "ethnic apple," "Sapa apple". The only apple variety in the Rose family that thrives in Vietnam is the "táo mèo" (cat apple), which will be mentioned below.
Please note that "táo tây" is the Vietnamese term used to refer to "Red Delicious apples." The term "tây" in Vietnamese translates to "Western," and "táo" simply means "apple." This term is used to distinguish the apple variety originating from Western countries.
The Vietnamese Apple (Táo Ta).
The Vietnamese apple is one of the fruit-bearing trees native to tropical regions, belonging to the Rhamnaceae family. Its origin can be traced back to Asia, primarily in India, and it is occasionally found in parts of Africa as well.
The Vietnamese apple tree is a woody plant that grows rapidly, reaching heights of up to 12 meters and can live up to 25 years. Despite developing on the same tree, Vietnamese apples often have uneven ripening periods, displaying different shades, ranging from pale green (when unripe, with white, crunchy flesh and flavors varying from sour to sweet) to yellow (when ripe, featuring soft, fragrant, and slightly sweet flesh). Inside the fruit, there is a hard, oval-shaped, brown seed. The shape and size of the apples depend on the different cultivated varieties.
Sour apples are pure varieties from wild apples, elongated fruits, thin skin, easy to ripen and when ripe, have a pleasant sour, sweet and sweet taste, and are still grown in many northern provinces. Sugar apples are original grafted apples, round fruit, hard flesh, sweet but no aroma. Persimmon apples in the western provinces, wind apples and Phan Rang pomelo are popular varieties of sugar apples grown in our country today.
When it comes to wine, it is impossible not to mention apple cider, this is an apple originating from one hundred percent in Vietnam, unmistakable and a specialty of the Northern mountains. Similarly, the cat apple also belongs to the Rose family, so it is also called a western apple, but because it grows in the land of the Meo (also known as the Hmong) it is gathered and used by the Meo people. . so I don't know when it died with the name "cat apple". Apple cat is actually a very famous Chinese medicine, also known as medlar. Fresh apples with green skin, very firm flesh. When cooked, the meat is more porous, the skin turns apricot yellow or red, the smell is very fragrant but the taste is not sweet at all. Apples are very sour and acrid, so they can't be eaten raw, but can only be processed - the best way is to soak them - to get all the sweet aroma and medicinal properties.
Chinese Apple (Jujube).
Finally, we must mention a fruit that has sparked debate in the past two years and also belongs to the same family as Vietnamese apples: the Chinese apple, also known as jujube.
As the name "Chinese apple" suggests, it is undoubtedly grown in China. Fresh Chinese apples may be unfamiliar to Vietnamese people, but dried Chinese apples are well-known. Dried Chinese apples come in two types: black Chinese apples (which are still sold in dried goods stores and traditional medicine shops) are made from unripe fruits, sun-dried to a certain extent, and then coated with sugar and various traditional medicines before being dried to preserve them for a long time. The other type is red Chinese apples, which are fully ripe apples dried on the tree from autumn to winter, then harvested as a whole. There are many varieties of Chinese apples - the largest being almost the size of a newborn's fist, while the smallest is only as big as an adult's finger joint - but they all share the characteristic of having deep brown skin and soft flesh when ripe.
What types of Chinese apples are there?
In the Vietnamese market, Chinese apples are distinguished by two colors: red apples and black apples.
Delicious Creations from Apples.
Understanding the numerous benefits of consuming appel, these versatile fruits are utilized in various culinary delights and beverages, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. Let's explore some of the delicious creations made from these apples:
Apple Juice: If you prefer not to eat apples directly, you can enjoy their goodness in the form of freshly squeezed apple juice or blended into delectable apple smoothies (which can be combined with other fruits according to your desired recipe) for daily consumption. This method provides added convenience for those who may find chewing apples less appealing.
Apple Tea: Apple tea is another popular beverage used for refreshment and health benefits. You can combine fresh apples with black tea, herbal tea, and other fruits to create distinct flavors for each variation of apple tea when enjoying your cuppa.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has become a widely-used seasoning among many women, both in cooking and for its beauty benefits.
Apple Jam and Preserves: Whether it's any variety, you can make delectable apple jam and preserves. This treat is loved by those who enjoy snacking or used as a delightful treat to serve guests, and it can even serve as an ingredient in baking or accompanying unique desserts.
These are just a few examples of how these apple varieties are creatively used to tantalize our taste buds and enhance our dining experiences. Each apple type brings its distinctive flavors and textures to various culinary delights, making them an essential part of many recipes worldwide. The versatility of Red Delicious, Vietnamese, and Chinese Apples truly showcase the rich diversity and culinary value of these wonderful fruits.