The age old tradition of apple bobbing at Halloween may be seen as a game of luck, but a new formula reveals that the secret to success is as simple as B = (BU + S) x (C + BI).
Morrisons discovered the formula with help from apple expert, Nicholas Dunsby, manager of Cotswold Orchards, and applied it to the five most popular apple brands in the UK: Cox, Gala, Braeburn, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.
Bobability (B) is judged on buoyancy (BU), size (S), colour (C) and biteability (BI). The criteria were selected by Nicholas who supplies Morrisons. Buoyancy equates to how quickly the apple bobs back up to the surface having been dropped in the water, and biteability relates to skin thickness and texture. Size and colour were also taken into consideration, with smaller and brighter varieties, optimum for bobbing.
Dunsby commented: “Our experiment showed that certain apples provide a distinct advantage when it comes to bobbing. We discovered that Gala pips the other varieties to the post with a perfect score of 100, thanks to its floatiness, thinish skin and firm but juicy flesh. If you’re going for 1st place, you should leave the Golden Delicious apple firmly in the fruit bowl, keeping it as one of your 5-a-day, as it’s too big for successful chomping.”
Adrian Barlow, Chief Executive of trade association English Apples and Pears Limited said: “British apple varieties are growing rapidly in terms of total sales, due to their unrivalled taste, so it’s great to see English Gala and Cox leading the pack for apple bobbing success. The wildcard is the Spartan apple, not included in our list, but another UK apple which would also be great for bobbing as its bold skin colour and juicy taste makes it a real favourite in the autumn.”
The origin of apple bobbing is unknown. Some claim it dates as far back as Roman times, when it was played on November 1st during the festival for Pomona, the goddess of fruit, trees and gardens. However, there is more evidence to suggest it originated a few hundred years ago in Britain and was associated with fortune telling and predictions of true love.