It is hard to imagine getting excited about a variety of apple, but there is a new fruit in our midst that’s a major game changer. The Opal is a truly non-browning apple—yes, you heard that right, this fruit naturally doesn’t brown when it’s cut open. Our family loves fresh produce year round, and this apple provides us with a sweet snack anytime of day. Knowing that this variety is also Non-GMO Project Verified, I have come to appreciate this fruit more than ever.
Steer clear of GMOs in Apples
The Opal went through Non-GMO Project verification to stand apart from the three genetically modified Arctic apple varieties which are arriving in grocery stores in North America. Just like Opals, Arctic apples also will not brown—except instead of being naturally crossbred, Artic apples have had their original polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme genes removed and replaced by genes that produce trace amounts of PPO. The genetic modification means that when an Arctic apple is bitten, bruised or sliced, there will be no enzymatic browning to the flesh. More genetically modified fruit varieties are in the pipeline for development and potential approval. So far, the USDA has given the green light to Arctic Goldens, Grannys and Fujis.
The GMO technology used to alter the Arctic apple genes has not been tested in human food on a wide scale. Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth, declared “this apple is understudied, unlabeled, and unnecessary.” No one knows for certain if or how the alteration of the Arctic’s enzyme genes will affect human bodies. I choose to protect my family from GMOs by supporting the farmers that grow Non-GMO Project Verified apples.
Winter is Opal Season!
An amazing alternative apple to the GMO Arctic varieties is the naturally non-browning Opal. Farmers in Europe crossed the Golden Delicious and Topaz varieties to create this tasty hybrid using traditional breeding methods. Opals are now available across North America from November through May.
Whether you are cutting apples for a Super Bowl party fruit platter or packing fruit slices into your child’s school lunchbox, the Opal will stay crisp and white long after you prepare it. You’ll still know when to compost it: the fruit will yellow in a few days to a week depending on the environment (unlike the GMO Arctic apples which will stay unnaturally white for up to two weeks past their prime). When searching for Opals in your grocery store, look for their name in the produce section or listed on the sticker of each apple. Non-GMO Project Verified tags have not yet been introduced on the fruit.
A Family Friendly Whole Food
The long, dark days of winter are now a little brighter for my family with each Opal we share. My partner and I enjoy the special sweet slices in fruit salads or pin-wheeled atop a bed of greens drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. Our son and his buddies love peeled chunks at any time of the day. Apples that take longer to brown are perfect for babies and toddlers who may eat a few bites before running off to play for an hour or two. When they return, the apples are still white and just as appetizing to eat.
Requesting Opal apples at your local grocery store is a great way to help support the growth and presence of non-GMO apples in the marketplace. Not only will an Opal a day help keep the winter blues away, but it will also keep the GMOs at bay. Our decisions to choose traditional breeding methods that are naturally non-GMO at the grocery store will reinforce that we do not need nor do we want GMOs in our apples. Together we are building a non-GMO future for all generations.
Learn more about Opals at www.opalapples.com