Apple Phenolics: Fuji

Phenolic Compounds of Fuji Apples
Phenolic Compounds of Fuji Apples

Fuji is such a common apple that unless you live in the historical cider regions of France, England, or Spain, you will probably be wondering if it makes a good cider. It was developed in Japan in the 1930s and is the offspring of the American Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Janet. It usually has solid sugar numbers. I’ve actually had some Fuji measure over 1.080 when picked late in the season. I’ve also had some in the 1.050 range as noted by K.A. Thompson-Witrick and associates(1). No matter the sugar level, they don’t usually have much acid and the pH can range from the high 3s to the low 4s.

From a phenolic perspective, the flesh has a phenolic level similar to an Arkansas Black apples. The peel phenolics, however, are the lowest of any apple that I have reviewed. Let’s explore what it would take to create a cider using the peels. We will use the American cider apple, Harrison, as our phenolic baseline. The Harrison apple has 122.4 ug/g of total phenolic compounds in the flesh(1). Assuming a 50% yield on the flesh to juice weight or 61.2 micrograms of phenolics per gram of juice. That is 0.0612 grams of phenolics per liter of juice.

Using the same logic, Fuji juice will give us 0.0111 g/l from the flesh. That means we need an additional 0.0501 g/l of phenolic compounds. The peels of the Fuji apples contain 94.8 micrograms of phenolics per gram of peel(1) and I assume we extract 100% of these. Therefore, each gram of peel will add 0.0000948 grams of phenolics. That means we need 528.5 grams of Fuji peels per liter of juice (0.0501/ 0.0000948) to give the cider the same amount of phenolic compounds as a single variety Harrison cider. That’s over 2,008 grams of peels per gallon!

I have been using 75-125 grams of peels per gallon. While I have been pushing that number higher, over 2,000 grams per gallon is a lot of peels. My recommendation is to use the juice but skip the Fuji peels and try another apple. My current favorites remain Arkansas Black, GoldRush, and Akane. However, I should note that some compounds can have very low detection thresholds so maybe Fuji peels could provide positive contributions. If you try some Fuji peels, add a comment and let us know how they work. I admit that I have had other more promising apple peels to try so I haven’t experimented yet with Fuji peels. I did find the data interesting though.

(1) K.A. Thompson-Witrick and associates, Characterization of the Polyphenol Composition of 20 Cultivars of Cider, Processing, and Dessert Apples Grown in Virginia, J. Agric. Food Chem. 62, 2014

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