If you love the texture of apples but hate their taste, then Grapples are just the thing for you. These unique fruits look like nice fresh apples but have a completely different flavor. Produced by Todd Snyder of C&O Nursery in Washington, Grapples are apples that taste exactly like Concord grapes.
According to the Grapple website, these apples “begin either as Washington Extra Fancy Gala, or Fuji Apples, depending on the season. These premium apples are the ones that take on the grape flavor best.” The apples are put through a patented process and infused with 100 percent food grade grape flavor solution. The ‘relaxing bathing process’ does not contain any additional calories or sugar. The apples aren’t genetically altered either. “It’s as healthy as if you picked an apple off a tree,” the website claims.
Of course, the grape flavor isn’t natural. It is the “same synthesized grape flavoring agent used in hundreds of other retail food items.” Which means that the ‘natural and artificial’ taste of the fruit comes from the chemical methyl anthranilate, used in grape juices and candy. The flavoring permeates the apple fruit to the core, completely changing the way it tastes and smells.
Photo: Nicole Lee/Flickr
Grapples hit the market in late 2011 and are available in major store outlets in the U.S. They aren’t sold loose with the rest of the ‘normal’ apples, but are specially packaged. This is because the WSDA (Washington Department of Agriculture) labels these products as ‘processed’. So Grapples are always sold in a packaged form. The grape-flavored apples do not come cheap. A pack of 12 including postage costs $29.66 online, and a pack of four in retail stores is priced at $5.
The concept sounds great, and theoretically, it should be possible to use this method to make apples taste like any other fruit. However, not everyone seems to be in love with Grapples. According to a user review on the MailOnline, from 2011, “the Grapple’s smell is overpowering and more akin to that of artificial grape flavor than a ‘real’ grape. The foreign flavor is all-pervading and on the cloying side – even before a taste. On taking a bite, the grape-ness isn’t as strong as it could be – the apple’s usual acidity comes through, its fresh sweetness not to be completely camouflaged by the patented flavor dunking.”
MailOnline’s final verdict: “The Grapple is the unlikely love child of an apple orchard and a jug of KoolAid.”
I don’t know about you, but all this talk of Grapples has got me craving some fresh apples. And perhaps a glass of grape juice to wash them down.