Apples are almost certainly one of the first fruits to have been cultivated, although their origins are not clear. There are thought to be over 7,000 varieties of apple worldwide. The National Fruit Collection, at Brogdale Farm in Kent, has over 2,000 varieties in its collection and is thought to be the most comprehensive in the world.

Between late September and the end of the year, there are plenty of different varieties of British-grown apples available. Only the British grow a large range of apples specifically for cooking, the Bramley apple being the best-known. They are larger, less sweet and tend to break down when they are cooked. Once they are cooked they can be added to mixtures as part of the liquid in, for example, an apple sauce cake, which will not need any eggs, or added to yeast and flour to make a delicious apple bread. Otherwise, add raw apple pieces to pies, crumbles and cobblers.

Dessert apples can be used in French Apple Tart, Dutch Spiced Apple Cake, Normandy Apple Flan, Apple Turnover and Tarte Tatin. Other flavours and ingredients that go well with apples in baking are: cinnamon, cloves, caramel, cider, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cheese, raisins and of course, blackberries.

In season: end of September -

end of December.