Fruits

  




Apple 

 
Latin: Malus pumila
 
Origin:
Apple is fruit of the plant Malus pumila Mill, Malus pumila var. paradisiaca [G], Malus domestica Borkh., Malus sylvestris domestica, etc., about 25 species, of the genus Malus pumila, belonging to the family Rosaceae, the most widely cultivated fruit tree. The apple is one of the fleshy fruits, in which the ripened ovary and surrounding tissue both become fleshy and edible. Ever since it first appeared in the Garden of Eden, the apple has played a role in mythological traditions. The apple also appears in art as a symbol of love. Sir Isaac Newton formulated the Law of Gravity after an apple thumped him on the head.

Probably originating in southwestern Asia, the apples we know today descend from the wild crabapple, and date back some 3,000 years to the earliest orchards. Hundreds of varieties were recognized in Europe before the settlement of the Americas. As the wave of settlement moved across North America, it was accompanied by the distribution of seedling apple varieties, perhaps by Indians and trappers.

The largest producers of apples are the United States, China, France, Italy, and Turkey. The largest exporters are France, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and the United States.

The world crop of apples averages about 32,000,000 metric tons a year. Of the American crop, more than half is normally used as fresh fruit. About one-fifth is used for vinegar, juice, jelly, and apple butter. About one-sixth is canned as pie stock and applesauce. In Europe a larger fraction of the crop goes for cider, wine, and brandy. Of the total world production, one-fourth goes for cider.

Apples grow best in a temperate climate, and apple season is typically autumn through spring, although most varieties are generally available year-round.

Since the apple requires a considerable period of dormancy, it thrives in areas having a distinct winter period, generally from latitude 30X to 60X, both north and south. Northward, apple growing is limited by low winter temperatures and a short growing season.

The soils in which apple trees grow must be well-drained. Fertilizers can be used if fertility is not high enough. Rolling hilltops or the sloping sides of hills are preferred because they provide "air drainage," allowing the colder, heavier air to drain away to the valley below during frosty spring nights, when blossoms or young fruit would be destroyed by much exposure to cold.

Apple varieties that ripen during late summer are generally of poor quality for storage. Varieties that ripen in late autumn may be stored for as long as one year, however. For long holding, temperatures only slightly above the freezing point of the fruit are generally desirable. Apples may also be stored in inert gases or in controlled atmospheres.

Apple tree grows to about 9 m tall. It is in flower from April to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

The apple flower of most varieties requires cross-pollination for fertilization. Apples at harvest, though varying widely in size, shape, color, and acidity, depending upon cultures (variety) and environmental character, are, nevertheless, usually roundish, 50V100 mm in diameter, and some shade of red or yellow in color.

Today more than 7,000 varieties can be found worldwide. Only a few of these are sold in the markets, however. Apples fall into three broad classes:

1) cider varieties;

2) cooking varieties; and

3) dessert varieties.

These three classes differ widely but tend to emphasize color, size, aroma, smoothness, and perhaps crispness and tang. Many varieties are relatively high in sugar, only mildly acidic, and very low in tannin.

The following are some of the most popular varieties:

Braeburn: With a color that can vary from gold with sections of red to nearly all red, the Braeburn is crisp and aromatic; its flavor is both sweet and tart. While it can be used in a number of ways, the Braeburn is best eaten out of hand and is one of the best all-around cooking apples. It is available from October through July.

Cortland: A cross between the Ben Davis and the McIntosh, it has a late autumn season. As it rarely discolors with oxidation, the Cortland adapts well to fruit salads. It is an all-purpose apple that stays firm when baked. It is moderately sweet and bright red with green streaks.

Empire: A combination of the McIntosh and Red Delicious, it holds up well to mishandling and keeps longer than the McIntosh. The Empire is dark red with darker spots, moderately sweet, and can be prepared raw or baked.

Fuji: The Fuji has a sweet taste and crisp texture making it ideal for salads or eating out of hand. Its color varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red. It is available year-round.

Gaia: A variety created in New Zealand by crossing Cox's Orange Pippin and Golden Delicious, the Gaia is crisp, sweet, and juicy. This pale yellow variety has light red streaks and can be prepared in many ways.

Gala: The heart-shaped Gala has a distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. It has a crisp, sweet taste that shows off best in salads and is good for snacking. Galas are available from August through March.

Golden delicious: Developed at a West Virginia farm around 1900, this apple is unrelated to the Red delicious. Pale green, it ripens to pale yellow, sometimes with light brown flecks. It is semi-firm, juicy, and sweet. Its rich, mellow flavor makes it excellent as applesauce or eaten raw. It holds its shape in cooking and is considered to be an all-purpose apple, especially in pies and other baked goods. It is available year-round.

Granny Smith: The Granny Smith apple tree was accidentally seeded around 1868 in Australia by a grandmother named Mrs. Smith. It is unique in its solid, bright green color, and is very firm, crisp, juicy, and somewhat tart. Often used in pies, it has a distinctive flavor, whether eaten from the hand or used raw in such dishes as Waldorf Salad. It is available year-round.

Jonagold: A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, the Jonagold has a tangy-sweet flavor. It is greenish yellow in color, with a pinkish blush. The Jonagold is available from September through April and is a good choice for salads or baking, as well as snacking.

Greening: This green/yellow apple is found in Rhode Island. The season is from late autumn until spring. With their crispness and sharp flavor, Greening apples are primarily used in baking.

Idared: Pollinated in the 1940s by Jonathan Wagener, this is a red or bright red variety marked with yellow spots, and is firm and juicy. It performs well in desserts and cooking.

McIntosh: Canada's national apple is delicious raw, baked, and in applesauce. This soft, juicy variety is blushed green to yellow with red stripes and has a slightly tart/sweet taste. It is available year-round.

Melba: Red with yellow streaks and very juicy, Melba apples cook down quickly and are therefore good for compotes and applesauce.

Pippin: There are several types of Pippin. The Newtown Pippin is green with yellow highlights. It is aromatic with a tangy flavor and is available September through June. It is excellent in salads and sauces as well as pies and other baked goods. Cox's Orange Pippin, Britain's most popular apple, has a season from late autumn to spring, peaking in midwinter. Its color is a dull brown-green with light red striping. The texture is crisp and it has a moderately sweet taste.

Red delicious: This top American apple originated in Iowa and is available year-round. It's best in salads or eaten out of hand. The Red Delicious is heart-shaped and has five distinctive small "bumps" on the seed end. It is uniformly bright red or deep ruby in color, with a mildly sweet flavor and a crisp and juicy texture.

Rome Beauty: Named after its hometown of Rome, Ohio, this apple ripens to a deep bright red and lasts well after being picked. It is generally available September through July and can be used for all preparations, although it's especially good for baking. Sweet in flavor, the Rome Beauty retains its shape when cooked.

Russet: The Russet name refers to a group of varieties, including the Golden Russet. As the name implies, the color is brown with light red markings, and the taste is similar to that of a pear. Russets are all-purpose apples.

Winesap: Because of its spicy, tart flavor, the Winesap is a popular apple to use in making cider. It is also good in salads and for baking and snacking. It has a deep, almost violet-red color, and is available from October through August.

Also called Crab Apple, Cultivated Apple, Morris Apple,
 
Properties:
Sweet and slightly sour in flavor, cool in nature, it is related to the channels of the spleen, stomach and lung.
 
Functions:
Promotes the production of yin (body fluid) and quenches thirst, moisturizes the lungs, relieves restlessness, removes summer-heat, promotes functional activity of the spleen and the stomach, dispels the effects of alcohol, stops diarrhea.
 
Applications:
1. To quench thirst and feelings of bothersome heat; overeat:

Eat a fresh apple.

2. For deficiency of spleen yin, indigestion, diarrhaea:

Drink a cup of apple juice.

3. For constipation:

Eat several fresh apples.
 
Dosage and Administration:
The apple is eaten fresh, pounded to get its juice or cooked in a variety of ways or dried for later use. It is frequently used as a pastry filling, the apple pie being perhaps the archetypal American dessert. Especially in Europe, fried apples characteristically accompany certain dishes of sausage or pork.

When getting apples ready to serve, scrub them with a food-grade cleanser to remove any wax and residue from the peel. Because apples oxidize and turn brown when they are cut, they should be prepared just before serving. To minimize oxidation when using apples in dishes like salads, dip them in a bowl containing one part lemon juice and three parts water. Cooking apples stops the oxidation process.

Most apples hold their shapes and flavors and can be used in baking. With a little lemon juice to protect them from discoloration, apples add a crunchy texture to fruit salads.

Apple butter and applesauce are simple and delicious ways to use overripe apples. Simply cut apples into cubes and simmer on the stovetop with a little water and cinnamon. For variety, add raisins, rhubarb, or pears. Apples are a natural way to sweeten cooked cereals, such as oatmeal, and they make wonderful desserts when baked in pies, cakes, muffins, and cobblers. Dried apple slices keep well and make a fine snack.

The fruit of some cultivars is rich in pectin and can be used in helping other fruits to set when making jam, etc.

Although we are drawn to apples by their appearance, it's a good idea to shop by touch instead. Avoid wrinkled, bruised, or soft apples. Apples do best stored in the refrigerator, preferably away from strong-smelling foods. Unbruised apples, properly handled and stored, can keep for up to three months. Outside the refrigerator, apples ripen ten times faster. Cooked, pureed apples can be frozen for longer storage.

An edible oil can be obtained from the seed. It would only really be viable to use these seeds as an oil source if the fruit was being used for some purpose such as making cider and then the seeds could be extracted from the remaining pulp.
 
Cautions on Use:
All members of this genus contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide in their seeds and possibly also in their leaves, but not in their fruits. Hydrogen cyanide is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste but it should only be consumed in very small quantities. Apple seeds do not normally contain very high quantities of hydrogen cyanide but, even so, should not be consumed in very large quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
A medium-sized apple provides 80 calories of energy, is high in carbohydrates, and contains fruit sugar, potassium, vitamins A and C, dietary fibre, and a bit of deadly hydrogen cyanide. Among the acids it contains, about 0.5 percent in all, are mainly malic acid, quinic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid. Of the fragrance it contains, 92 percent is alcohols, 6 percent is carbonyl compounds, the other 2 percent is esters, acids and so on.

The fruit is astringent and laxative.

The bark, and especially the root bark, is anthelmintic (expelling or destroying parasitic worms especially of the intestine), refrigerant and soporific (causing or tending to cause sleep). An infusion is used in the treatment of intermittent, remittent and bilious fevers.

The leaves contain up to 2.4 percent of an antibacterial substance called "phloretin". This inhibits the growth of a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in as low a concentration as 30 ppm.

A ripe raw apple is one of the easiest foods for the stomach to deal with, the whole process of digestion taking about 85 minutes. The apple juice will reduce the acidity of the stomach, it becomes changed into alkaline carbonates and thus corrects sour fermentation. The apple is also an excellent dentifrice, the mechanical action of eating a fruit serving to clean both the teeth and the gums.

A recent study by Cornell University researchers(http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/June00/AntiCancerApple.bpf.html) showed that a combination of plant chemicals, such as flavanoids and polyphenols--collectively known as phytochemicals--found both within the flesh of apple and particularly in the skin, provide the fruit's anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits.

The fruit is a source of pectin. Pectin is said to protect the body against radiation. Pectin is also used as a thickener in jams, etc., and as a culture medium in laboratories.
 
 
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