Gala apples are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to conical shape. The apple’s skin is thin, bruising easily, and smooth with a light sheen, showcasing a yellow-orange base covered in red and pink blush. There is also prominent red-pink striping and mottling on the skin’s surface, giving the fruits a vibrant appearance. It is important to note that Gala apples will have a lighter, yellow-orange coloring early in the season, and as the season progresses, the fruits will develop darker red hues. Underneath the skin, the ivory to pale yellow flesh is fine-grained, firm, and aqueous with a crisp but tender, snap-like quality. The flesh also encases a central fibrous core filled with dark brown and flat seeds. Gala apples emit a perfumed, floral aroma and have a mildly sweet flavor with a hint of acidity. The flesh often bears fruity and floral undertones, combined with nuances of vanilla, apple blossoms, and pears.
Gala apples are available year-round.
Gala apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a well-known commercial cultivar belonging to the Rutaceae family. The variety was developed in New Zealand in the mid 20th century and was selected for its mild, sweet flavor, crisp flesh, and versatile nature. Gala apples were created from a lineage of famous apple cultivars. The variety was produced from a cross between golden delicious apples and kidd’s orange red apples, an offspring of cox’s orange pippin and red delicious varieties. Gala apples have also been used in breeding programs to develop other commercially grown apples, including Jazz, Envy, Sweetie™, Pacific Rose, and Delfloga. In the modern-day, Gala apples are one of the most commercially cultivated apples worldwide and are grown in both hemispheres, providing year-round production. The apples are considered a multi-purpose variety, often used in fresh, cooked, and preserved preparations and mixology.
Gala apples are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and calcium to protect bones and teeth. The apples also provide vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and other nutrients, including iron, vitamin E, magnesium, boron, zinc, copper, and vitamin K.
Gala apples have a mild, fruity, and floral flavor and a crisp, fine-grained texture suited as an all-purpose variety for fresh and cooked preparations. The apples can be washed and consumed straight, out of hand, or they can be sliced and dipped into chocolate, caramel, or served with cheeses. Gala apples are also popularly chopped into salads, shredded into slaws, cut for fruit bowls, or diced into salsa and chutney. The apple’s snap-like texture provides a source of crunch when layering onto sandwiches, paninis, and burgers, or the apples can be minced and stuffed into sausage. In addition to savory preparations, Gala apples can be combined with stronger flavored apples such as granny smith, Arkansas black, and mutsu, and baked into tarts, pies, galettes, crisps, crumbles, and strudel. The apples can also be cooked into butter, sauces, jams, and jellies, or pressed into ciders, juices, and smoothies. Gala apples pair well with cheeses such as cheddar, brie, and swiss, nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, meats such as poultry, turkey, and pork, pears, caramelized onions, and squash. Whole, unwashed Gala apples will keep up to one week at room temperature and 1 to 3 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.