Excerpt From:

 

 

The Valley Gourmet: 

Fruits A-Z

Apple-Mania

 

By

Louise Hart

 

 

 

 

© 2000 by Author. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

You must have written permission from the author and/or publisher to use or reprint any portion of this text. If you copy it without permission, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

 

Recipes include:

Potted Apples, Apple Soufflé, Apple Snow, Apple Tea, Apple Carrot Cake

And more... 

INTRODUCTION

 

Historians tell us that apples most probably originated in Central or Southwest Asia, an area thought to be the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden. Certainly, according to the Bible, apples have been enticing and tempting man literally since the Garden in which an apple tree was designated the forbidden tree of knowledge. That knowledge most certainly included sentience of sweet pleasure.

Man left the garden and with him, he took the apple. Evidence of man's use of apples goes back to prehistoric times. Indeed, as soon as man developed the ability to write and communicate, he evangelized the apple. Mention of apples can be found in the earliest writings of Egypt, Babylonia and China. Such mention went beyond the mere cultivation or ingestion of these pomes. In the Old Testament, King Solomon recognized their healing properties. Over 2000 years ago, Roman Cato identified seven varieties of apples in his writings. By the first century A.D., Pliny could name 36 varieties.

The Roman legions carried apple seeds with them on their march through Europe. Carbonized apples have been found in prehistoric Iron Age dwellings in Switzerland. Evidence has also been found that apples were eaten and preserved by slicing and sun drying in Stone Age Europe.

The Europeans brought the apple with them to the New World. Pioneers carried apple seeds with them across the continent. Even the legendary fathers of the country, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, cultivated this delicious fruit.

The first apple crop in the colonies was harvested from trees planted by the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. In 1647, Governor Stuyvesant brought a grafted apple tree from Holland and planted it at what would later be the corner of Third Ave. and 13th Street in New York. The tree stood until it was knocked down by a dray wagon in 1866. The first commercial, apple tree nursery was established in New York in 1730.

Champlain's first colony in Nova Scotia planted apples, and settlers found nurseries of apples on their arrival in Ohio and Indiana. The nurseries were planted by entrepreneurial Jonathan Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed, who reasoned that new settlers and pioneers would want apples on their arrival in the new lands.

Today, apples are produced in temperate climates around the world. Each tree of apples can produce enough fruit to fill 20 42-pound boxes every year (four small, three medium or two large apples usually equal a pound and a pound yields three cups of diced apples).

Apple trees grow in temperate climates, wherever there is enough moisture, sunlight, well-drained soil and winter seasons (for the trees to rest). In addition to China, Japan, Israel, the Mid and Far East, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, they are grown in the Americas. Apples are, in fact, the most widely grown fruit in North America. They make up about half of the fruit tree production. In the 35 or more of the 50 U.S. states in which apples grow, over 145 million bushels of apples are harvested each year. About half of these are sold fresh, the other half are processed into apple juice, applesauce or dehydrated products.

Apples have been valued since ancient times not just for their taste and nutritive qualities, but also, for their anesthetic, antiseptic, sedative and stimulant attributes as well.

Apples are abundant in Quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid, that is believed to improve lung function. In fact, a recent study in London found that participants who ate five or more apples a week had significantly better lung function than those who did not eat apples. The study's results held regardless of whether or not the participant smoked cigarettes or participated in a regular exercise program.

Practically, colonists in America tapped the preservative power of apples. An apple was placed in a bag of potatoes to keep the potatoes from sprouting. An apple was also placed in the jar or tin with brown sugar or cookies to keep them moist.

 

The average apple is 2.75-inches in diameter and has 80 calories. Twenty-five percent of an apple is air, which is why they float when we toss them in a bucket of water and play dunk for apples at Halloween.

Because apples can vary greatly not only in color, but also, in tartness or sweetness, juiciness, firmness, texture, flavor and aroma, cooks have long delineated how we should select and use each variety. That is, the tart and colorful varieties were recommended for use in baking, salads and cooking. The sweet and tender were considered best for snacking. The rich green Granny Smith was preferred for fruit salads and baking as well as snacking as was the McIntosh, Jonathan and Red Delicious. In contrast, the yellow to golden colored, Golden Delicious known for its sweetness and juiciness was recommended for snacking and fruit salads.

For more tasty facts about apples and delicious recipes,

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