Apples

Apples

ApplesApples are one of the most common fruits eaten worldwide. They are available on a global scale and whenever people think of fruits, apples are usually the first thing that pops up. Apples are available in different colors, depending on the family they belong to. Apples can be green, red, yellow, pink or a mix of these colors. This article will address the history, the benefits of apples and how to store them.

Description

Apples are a round fruit which do not only have a crisp, but also contain white flesh on the inside. As mentioned earlier, apples can have different colors depending on the sort they belong to. It is said that apples are a member of the rose family. Many people do not expect apples to belong to the same family as roses. However, roses make rose hips which is a fruit that can be considered to be close to apples. The majority of apples have a sweet taste. There are also a few sorts of apples which have more of a sour taste to them. Apples in general have a refreshing flavor and mostly have a certain tartness as well. Similar to the taste of an apple, the tartness of an apple is dependent on its variety. For example, green Granny Smith apples and Pippins are tart. Apples which are called Red Delicious or Golden are more sweet and have a milder taste compared to the aforementioned types. Apples which are tart are best when used for cooking. During cooking these apples retain their texture. It is for this reason that they are preferred when cooking desserts. For example, when having apple pie, it is most likely that Granny Smith apples have been used. However, Fuji apples and Braeburn apples are mostly eaten raw since they have a sweet taste. Also, these apples quickly lose their texture when cooked.

History

It is said that the first apple trees were found in South West Asia and the Eastern regions of Europe. Ever since, apples have spread to different regions around the world and can be found in almost all countries in the world. While they might not be cultivated in all countries, these countries usually import apples from countries where they do grow. Over the years, many different hybrids have been developed. This has led to the fact that there are currently over 7,000 different varieties of apples on the market. For many people, apples have been associated with the story of Adam and Eve, as told in the Bible. Although, it was not specifically mentioned that the fruit was an apple, many people still believe that the fruit was an apple. In the Norse tradition it is said that by eating apples people stay young forever. It is also famous saying that eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away. This is due to the fact that apples have different health benefits. This will be addressed in the next paragraph. It was around the 17th century that apples were introduced in North America. The only apples which are considered to be native to North America are crab apples. While there are still regions which mainly consume crab apples, they are not as commonly consumed as others. The first apples which grew in the United States had their seeds brought over from Europe. During the 20th century, different irrigation projects started in Washington. These projects allowed for a billion-dollar fruit industry. Apples were the leading product in this industry, and they still continue to be nowadays.

Important nutrients

Different researchers have referred to apples as being nutritional powerhouses due to the many important nutrients they contain. One of the nutrients apples contain is Vitamin C. According to the University of Maryland Center, this nutrient blocks the damage which is caused by free radicals in the body. Vitamin C is also referred to as being a natural antioxidant which boosts the body’s resistance against various infectious agents. Another important nutrient present in apples is the B-complex vitamin. This vitamin can be divided in the vitamin B6, riboflavin and thiamin. While these specific vitamins all have a different function in the body, they do have a few things in common. For example, these vitamins do not only keep the nervous system in good condition, but they also maintain the red blood cells in the body. Fiber is another nutrient present in apples. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom has indicated that a diet which is high in fiber can prevent the development of various diseased. Besides this, it can also prevent the level of cholesterol from rising in your blood. Apples also contain phytonutrients. These nutrients also protect the body from the damage which could be caused by free radicals. While phytonutrients also serve other goals, their function overlaps with that of Vitamin C. Apart from the abovementioned nutrients, apples also contain phosphorus, potassium and calcium.


Allergies

While many people can enjoy eating apples without any trouble, some people are allergic to apples. One of the most common forms of apple allergy is called the birch-apple syndrome. People who have the birch-apple syndrome are usually also allergic to birch pollen. This is due to the fact that a protein which is present in apples can also be found in birch pollen. People who are affected by this protein might also develop an allergy for other products. This could be either other fruits, vegetables or nuts. People who have an allergic reaction mainly experience the oral allergy syndrome. This entails that they might get itchy and their throat or mouth starts to inflame. This reaction mostly occurs when fruit is eaten raw. However, they usually do not experience these allergic reaction when the product is cooked. This is due to the fact that the allergen in neutralized during the cooking process. The storage conditions and the maturity of apples could also have an influence on the allergen present in the fruit. For example, the longer the product is stored, the higher the amount of proteins is that could cause the birch-apple syndrome. There are also people who have are allergic to apples because they are also allergic to peaches. This is due to the fact that apples and peaches have various similar proteins and nutrients. The allergic reaction to apples in this case in more severe compared to the allergic reaction mentioned above. The side effects in this case include severe abdominal pain and vomiting. For these people, it does not matter whether the fruit is cooked or uncooked. They mostly have an allergic reaction when consuming either type of fruit. Different experiments are currently being done to produce a fruit which is hypoallergenic and could be consumed by people with an apple allergy.

How to select and store

When buying apples at the supermarket, local store or market, pick those which are firm and are rich in color. Apples which are green and fellow with a bit of a red color as well are considered to be the best ones. When selecting apples, it is also important to keep in mind whether you would like to eat them raw or use them for cooking. Your choice also depends on whether you like the apples to be sweet or more tart. As mentioned, the Granny Smith and Pippin apples are those which are more tart while Red and Golden Delicious are sweet. Apple grow at the end of summer until the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. Apples are, however, available throughout the year. This implies that apples which are sold outside of the apple season have either been imported from the southern hemisphere or have been cold stored. It is also possible to buy apple juice. However, apple juice does not have a high nutritional value compared to whole apples. The process of juicing apples reduces the concentrations of the nutrients found in the whole fruit. Apples can be stored for a long period of time. They can last up to three months. In order to prevent the loss of nutrients it is recommended to store apples at a low temperature. It is therefore recommended to keep apples in the fridge. An interesting fact about storing apples is that once one apple has gone bad, it also spoils the rest. Thus, for example when an apple has been dropped an therefore been bruised, it will not take long before the other apples look the same. This is due to the fact that the spoiled apple releases ethylene gas which affects the surrounding apples. It is therefore important that spoiled or damaged apples are not stored with others.

How to prepare an apple

Apples can be eaten with or without the skin. However, it is always recommended to eat the skin as well since the skin is rich in nutrients. It is also recommended to purchase organic apples to avoid getting pesticide residues or other contaminants in your body. If it is not possible to buy organic apples, but you would still like to eat the skin of the apple, it is recommended to rinse the apple thoroughly. In this way you will be sure that no pesticide residues are left on the apple. If you have cut an apple in pieces, you will notice that the pieces brown quickly. In order to prevent the apple pieces from becoming brown, put the slices in a bowl of cold water and add a bit of lemon juice to them. The pieces can also be stored in the freezer once they have been put in a plastic bag or container. As mentioned earlier, apples lose the concentration of nutrients once they have been processed. A loss occurs once apples are processed to applesauce, but a greater loss occurs once they are processed into apple juice. Thus, in order to keep as many nutrients as possible, it is recommended to eat apples as a whole fruit. Both apple sauce and apple juice can also be bought in organic stores. These types of apple juice are usually more healthy compared to the regular apple juice that can be bought in the supermarket.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 827x
Added: 21-09-2016 19:04
Last modified: 20-10-2016 13:51

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