Vegan Grandma

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some Interesting Things About Apples

I love apples! They make delicious low-calorie snacks (about 80 calories in a medium apple), are a good source of fiber, and are versatile.

Some History and Legends

The apple, which is a member of the rose family, is thought to have originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea. The apple is one of the oldest fruits eaten by humans. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been eating apples since at least 6500 B.C. Apples were the favorite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans.

The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Irish folklore claims that if an apple is peeled into one continuous ribbon and thrown behind a woman's shoulder, it will land in the shape of the future husband's initials.

In Ancient Greece, a man throwing an apple to a woman was a proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted .

In the United States, Denmark and Sweden, a polished apple is a traditional gift for a teacher. This stemmed from the fact that teachers during the 16th to 18th centuries were poorly paid, so parents would compensate the teacher by providing food. As apples were a very common crop, teachers would often be given baskets of apples by students.

Some Apple Facts

Apples float because 25 percent of an apple's volume is air. This makes possible, apple-bobbing, which is popular at Halloween parties.

Apples give off more ethylene gas that most other fruits (except green tomatoes), and will cause many other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster.

Research indicates that the fragrance of apple-spice (such as mulled cider or baked apple) has a calming effect on people.

Apple seeds contain cyanide, but the poison is incased in the hard seed which is not broken down in the body. It is excreted intact. If a seed or two do split, the amount of poison is so small that it is not harmful. A large amount would need to be chewed to have any toxic effect

Apples should be washed well before eating because they may have pesticide residues. Peel the apples if they have been waxed (although the peel has most of the fiber and antioxidants). Buy organic apples when you can.

Apples are a good tooth-cleaner and good for stimulating the gums.
Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.


A medium apples is about 80 calories.

Apples are not the best source of vitamins, but they are a great source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. One apple has five grams of fiber.

Apples do provide a little vitamin C (8 mg-13 % of the RDA), and a little beta carotene and boron.

Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel.

It is a good idea to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content. Most of an apple's fragrance cells are also concentrated in the skin and as they ripen, the skin cells develop more aroma and flavor.

Except for fiber and a small amount of iron, most of the nutrients are lost when apples are dried. Sulfur dioxide is often added to dried apples which can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

One medium 2-1/2 inch apple, fresh, raw, with skin contains:

81 calories , 21 grams carbohydrate , 4 grams dietary fibe, 10 mg calcium, 10 mg phosphorus, .25 mg iron, no sodium, 159 mg potassium, 8mg vitamin C, 13 IU vitamin A, 4 mcg folate.

The nutritional value of apples will vary slightly depending on the variety and size.
Source: USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory

Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Some research suggests that A group of chemicals in apples could protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism.

Pesticide contamination can be a problem, but is mostly found on the outside of fruits and vegetables. Washing or peeling may reduce pesticide intake but peeling will also reduce the beneficial nutrients.

Apple consumption can help remove trapped food and clean between the teeth, but the malic acid contained within the fruit is also capable of eroding tooth enamel over time, and through excess consumption

Apple varieties

7500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. Apple varieties differ in size, texture, and taste. The color of the outside of an apple may be green, yellow, or various shades of red. Some apples are spotted. Apple colors also vary on the inside. The flesh may be yellow, white, or cream-colored. Apple flavors differ from sweet, to tart, to bitter. Textures also vary from soft and mushy, to firm and crunchy.

Different varieties are best for different purposes. Some apples, like the Empire, are sweet and are good eaten raw. Other apple varieties are better for cooking. The Rome Beauty, for example, is often used for baking and not eaten fresh because it has a firm, acidic flesh, and tough, smooth skin.

Many species of apple grown today are the result of breeding different species together. The Fugi, for example, Japan’s most popular apple, was produced by breeding the American Delicious with the Ralls Janet of Virginia.

The apple variety, Delicious, is the most widely grown in the United States.

The five most popular apples in the United States are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith.

Here are some characteristics of some popular varieties of apples.

Arkansas Black has a deep red, almost black skin. It is rock hard, sweet and tart .Arkansas Black is a long storage apple.

Baldwin apples are crisp and juicy. They are good for baking and eating raw.

Braeburn apples are crisp and aromatic. They have a moderately tart flavor. Braeburn color varies from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red. They keep their shape well when they are baked. Braeburn’s blend of sweetness and tartness is just right for snacks and salads. They are also good in applesauce and for freezing.

Cortland apples have a deep purplish-red skin and are fragrant and tangy. The flesh is white. They have a thin skin. Cortland apples are great for salads because they resist browning due to their high vitamin C content. They are also good for eating raw, for baking (they keep their shape well when baked), and for applesauce.

Empire apples are the result of a cross between the McIntosh and the Red Delicious apple. They have a thick, deep red skin, and a sweet-tart taste. They are good for eating raw.

Fuji apples have a spicy, crisp sweetness and firm flesh making them excellent for eating raw. They are also good for baking or applesauce. They store well. Fuji flavor improves in storage. Fuji skin color varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red. It was bred from a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties in Japan.

Gala apples are small, heart-shaped with yellow-orange skin and red striping. They are sweet, slightly spicy, and crisp, with a tender skin. Gala apples are just the right size for snacking and are great in salads. They hold their shape well when baked.

Golden Delicious apples are yellow-green with speckles. They should not be dark green. They are full and round and have firm, crisp white flesh that is sweet and juicy. This all-purpose apple is good for eating raw, cooking , baking, and for pies. They retain their shape and rich, mellow flavor when baked or cooked. The skin is so tender and thin that it doesn't require peeling for most recipes. Golden Delicious is very good in fresh salads and freezes well. These apples keep for three or four months in a very cool location, but spoil quickly at room temperature. They have a high vitamin C content, so they resist browning.

Granny Smith apples are light green (they shouldn’t be intensely green), and medium-sized. They are tart and crisp. They are good when baked, sauteed, made into apple butter, apple crisp, or pies.

Jonagold is a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. They are yellow, and bell shaped, with a tart, sweet flavor and a very crisp flesh. Jonagold is good both for eating raw and for cooking in pies, cobblers, and applesauce

Jonathan apples are generally small to medium in size and dark to bright red. Their flesh is yellowish-white, occasionally with red veins and they are crisp, tender, juicy, aromatic and moderately tart. They become mealy very quickly. They keep their shape well when baked. Jonathan apples are an all-purpose apple for cooking, baking or eating raw.

McIntosh apples are red with spots of green, and are squat and round. They are mildly sweet, smooth, and soft. They bruise easily and become mealy easily. Keep them cold and eat them as soon as possible. They are best for eating raw. The skin is tough and hard to peel. They are not recommended for baking or for pies because they fall apart easily, but can be used for applesauce.

Mutsu apples, also called Crispin, are sweet, firm and crisp, with a fairly coarse texture They store well. Mutsu apples are good for sauce, pies and fresh eating.

Red Delicious apples are red and bell shaped with five distinct bumps on the blossom end of each fruit. This sweet, crisp, juicy, low-acid apple is good when eaten raw but is not a good choice for cooking. They get soft and mealy quickly, and should be kept very cold. They will store for up to 12 months if kept cold, but will spoil quickly at room temperature.

Rome apples are deep red, large, and round, with a mild sweet-tart flavor. They are firm, dense, smooth, and slightly juicy. They can get soft and mealy, so they should be kept very cold. They are good eaten raw, or for baking, pies, and apple crisp. The mild flavor gets richer when baked or sauteed.

Winesap apples are firm and have a deep purple-red color, and a flat top. They taste spicy and tart, with a slightly fermented, winey flavor. Winesap apples are good for cooking, for salads, and for eating raw. They are especially good for apple butter. They often used in making cider.

Buying Apples

Choose apples with a bright and sparkly color. Look for firm flesh and smooth skin free of blemishes and bruises. The scent should be fresh.

Choose a variety that will work well in the recipe. Some apples hold their shape well when baked, so they are good for baked apples and pies. Others fall apart easily when cooked, so they are good for making applesauce. Other apple varieties are good for eating raw. See Apples For Specific Use, below.

Storing Apples

Store unripe apples at room temperature until they are ready to eat. Keep ripe, ready to eat apples in the refrigerator ideally at 36 to 38 degrees to stop the ripening process. When refrigerated, apples will stay fresh for 2 to 4 weeks. They will keep longer in the refrigerator if they don’t touch each other.

Apples may also be stored in sawdust in a barrel, in a cool dry place. Make sure the apples don’t touch each other. Check them often. Remove any decayed apples. One rotten apple can indeed spoil the whole barrel!

Keep apples away from strong-smelling foods like onions. Apples absorb odors easily.

Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated

Using Apples

Apples can be canned, juiced, and optionally fermented to produce apple juice, cider, vinegar, and pectin. Distilled apple cider produces the applejack and Calvados. There is apple wine. They make a popular lunch box fruit as well.

Apples are great for desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. They are often eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be dried and eaten or re-constituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later use. Pureed apples are generally known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly.

In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. In the US there are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystalized sugar syrup), and caramel apples, coated with cooled caramel.

Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.

Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.

A bushel of apples weights about 42 pounds and will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce.

It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.

Apples are delicious, easy to carry for snacking, low in calories, a natural mouth freshener, and they are still very inexpensive.

Apples for Specific Use


Red Delicious
Golden Delicious
Stayman Winesap


Golden Delicious
Yellow Transparent
Grimes Golden
Stayman Winesap
Rome Beauty


Grimes Golden
Rome Beauty
Yellow Transparent
Golden Delicious
Stayman Winesap


Golden Delicious
Stayman Winesap
Rome Beauty
Grimes Golden
Stayman Winesap


Golden Delicious
Stayman Winesap
Red Delicious
Grimes Golden


Yellow Transparent


Northern Spy

If you prefer a chunky applesauce, add the sugar before cooking the apples. For a smooth applesauce, add the sugar after the apples are cooked and mashed.

To prevent raw, cut apples from darkening, dip them in a fruit juice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, or pineapple) before adding other ingredients.

If the cut apples are to be baked (in a pie, maybe, or in an apple cobbles), there is no need to take precautions against browning, because the cooking will reverse the browning.

To peel an apple, use a vegetable peeler. A knife cuts off too much flesh. Remove the stem, hold the peeler at the stem end and begin turning the apple into the blade of the peeler. Angle the peeler at about 60 degrees so that each rotation spirals you towards the other end of the apple.

Apples are easier to peel if scalding water is poured on them just before peeling.

To core an apple while keeping the apple whole, use a corer. If you don’t have a corer, carefully push a small paring knife down through the top of the apple, a bit off-center from the core and cut around the core. (I have not mastered this. The apple breaks in half when I try it).

You can peel and core large amounts of apples quickly with a peeling-slicing device available in kitchen supply stores.

To core an apple for baked apples, use a melon baller, and don’t cut all the way through to the bottom.

To freeze apples, peel, core, and cut into wedges. Toss the wedges in lemon juice and then toss the apple wedges in sugar. Spread on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Put the apple wedges into ziplock freezer bags and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

If apples become slightly overripe, chop them and soak them in apple cider or apple juice in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can also peel and cut slightly overripe apples and add them to muffin or pancake batter.

Bruised or brown parts of an apple are safe to eat.

Good flavorings for apples include cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cardamon (use only a little, cardomon is strong), ground ginger (can be combined with cardamon), ground allspice, pumpkin pie spice, or grated citrus zest (lemon, lime, or orange).

The Essential Vegetarian Cook Book, by Diana Shaw, published by Clarkson Potter Publishers

Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tips, by David Joachim, published by Rodale

The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition. How to Buy, Store, and Prepare Every Variety of Fresh Food, by Sheldon Margen, M.D., and the Editors of the University of California at Berkeley WELLNESS LETTER, published by Rebus, New York, 1992

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal, an A to Z Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating, Published by the Readers Digest Association, Inc., 1997

The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book, Edited by Susan Westmoreland, Food Director, Good housekeeping, published by Hearst Books, New York, 2001

Grandmother's Food Secrets, by Dr. Myles H. Bader, published by Mylette Enterprises, LLC, Las Vegas NV 89102


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