One feels it is almost unfair to blame the apple and of course Eve for Man’s downfall. After all, for the weak Adam what more could be more tempting than a delicious prettily shaped apple glowing with yellowish tints against green or one that is wholly red; and presented to him by the quintessence of womanhood, Eve? Still, it is interesting to note that in Europe, in the Middle Age, such was the horror of the apple that for almost two centuries (the 14th and the 15th) all the peasants avoided eating tomato, thinking it was apple!
But the apple reigns supreme today not because it has inherited such a seductive reputation (although that can be taken into account as well, it is rather seductively shaped and colored), but because it is such a versatile fruit. Imagine the All-American Apple Pie for one, apple juice for another, the crunchiness and honey-like flavor it adds to the sometimes dreary salad. The Austrians lap it up in the form of the apple strudel, the English core and stuff it with dried fruits and then bake it – whichever way you do it, the versatile apple always retains one of its characteristics – it’s simply delicious.
Then of course, one should never ignore the health-giving properties of this wonderful fruit. It only takes a moment to enumerate the vitamins and the minerals it contains for one to realize that it is an ideal fruit for the dieter, trying to shed those excess pounds. It fills you up, makes you feel less hungry, but while doing so, it provides you all the nutrients for health and beauty.
Apples are virtually fat free and very low in calorie content. Yet they are a good source of energy and satisfy the sweet tooth because of their natural sugar. In addition, they are excellent source of calcium (which helps clear blemished skins) and riboflavin / vitamin B2 (important for preventing excessive oiliness). Vitamins A and C, another two important components found in apples are essential for preserving the skins smooth texture, preventing dryness and premature aging, especially among sun-worshippers. And the mineral contents (potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and sodium) help in various ways to support functions of other nutrients like giving you more color, good vision and healthy hair.
Selection & Storage
‘Raw’ and Fresh are the watchwords when selecting apples. Check for bruising or discoloration. The apples should appear fresh looking. When selecting green apples, do select those which are yellow-green and not grassy green in appearance the apples may be soft and mealy with loss of juice and flavor. The same applies to red apples. Try selecting apples from the Washington state. Their red and golden delicious are renowned for their crunchiness and delicious flavor reminiscent of honey. However, one of the simplest and best ways to taste/tell all the different fresh apple varieties is to slice them into wedges.
To store apples at home, keep them cool in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. This will maintain proper humidity and prevent them from absorbing other food flavors.
When entertaining, serve wedges of the apple varieties accompanied by different kinds of cheese and wines. Experimenting with the cooking and baking of apple varieties is a pleasure in itself. They add texture and flavor to baked foods and provide a world of decorating possibilities. Apples are a natural in just about any fruit or vegetable salad too. Toss them with coarsely chopped raw vegetables for a deliciously nutritious salad. The color of the apples (especially red apples) enhances the appearance of the salad. Serve them with banana and orange slices in refreshing tropical fruit salads. Or use apples as a special topping on cream cheese fillings in pear or peach salad.
Desserts become more interesting when you add apples. Saute apple slices and California raisins in butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, and serve with a dollop of ice-cream. Cook them with a fruit compote or use as a fruit topping for cakes. You will find that the uses of apples are endless.
Have apple slices with peanut butter to assuage your snack cravings.
Be creative and try your own ideas.