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The Shimla region of India produces a wide range of apples, from the globally-familiar Red and Golden Delicious, to more local, Indian varieties. Types include Royal Delicious, Red Gold, Super Chief, Gale Gala, Washington Delicious, and Babbu Gosha.
Shimla apples are available from summer through fall.
Shimla apples come in many different varieties of Malus domestica, but all originate from the same apple-producing region of northern India. Shimla is a region within the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan foothills. Each Shimla orchard produces apples several thousand feet above sea level, growing the fruit on small plots of flat land or terraces. The average apple yield in Shimla is approximately 500,000 metric tonnes. The apple industry, along with the rest of its horticulture, is a core part of Shimla's economy.
All apples are good sources of Vitamin C and dietary fiber, which help keep the immune system and digestive systems functioning well. The antioxidants in apples also make them a great part of a healthy diet.
The apple varieties available in Shimla cover all the uses of apples. Fresh eating apples, cooking apples, and juicing apples are all easy to find in Shimla. Apples that hold their shape, such as Golden Delicious, are best for baking. Sweeter apples are good for making applesauce and fresh eating, while tarter varieties are good for baking. Many types can be combined together for juicing. Avoid mealy fruits by choosing apples that are firm. All varieties store best in the refrigerator, although some will last longer than others.
The Shimla apple industry attracts thousands of tourists to this region. International tourists, locals, and travelers from the rest of India come together to visit orchards, pick apples, and, of course, sample the fruits.
The first European apples were brought to India by British colonialists. Varieties such as Cox's Orange Pippin were grown by the end of the 1800s, but they did not suit Indian tastes. Samuel Evan Stokes introduced more popular strains. Stokes was a British man who came to the country through charity work, and who stayed for his entire life. He planted Red and Golden Delicious trees in Thanedar in Shimla, and sold them to the public in 1926. Indian consumers liked them much more than the more sour English varieties, and now many orchards exist in Shimla and Himachal Pradesh. The land under apple cultivation has grown enormously from the beginning of the apple industry to today.