Apple ‘Sundown’ Showing use of a common name as part of the cultivar name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Botanical Name : Malus domestica
Species: M. domestica
Common Names : Apple , Apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar
Habitat : The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production.
The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) in diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds, called pips.
click to see the picture
The center of diversity of the genus Malus is in eastern Turkey. The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated, and its fruits have been improved through selection over thousands of years. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in Asia in 328 BCE; those he brought back to Macedonia might have been the progenitors of dwarfing root stocks. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia, as well as in Argentina and in the United States since the arrival of Europeans. Apples were brought to North America by colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted in Boston by Reverend William Blaxton in 1625. The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called “common apples”. Apple varieties brought as seed from Europe were spread along Native American trade routes, as well as being cultivated on Colonial farms. An 1845 United States apples nursery catalogue sold 350 of the “best” varieties, showing the proliferation of new North American varieties by the early 19th century. In the 20th century, irrigation projects in Washington state began and allowed the development of the multibillion dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading product.
click to see the picture :
Until the 20th century, farmers stored apples in frostproof cellars during the winter for their own use or for sale. Improved transportation of fresh apples by train and road replaced the necessity for storage. In the 21st century, long-term storage again came into popularity, as “controlled atmosphere” facilities were used to keep apples fresh year-round. Controlled atmosphere facilities use high humidity and low oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to maintain fruit freshness.
About 69 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, and China produced almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is third, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many prepared foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects have been found from eating apples; however, two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit.
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock. Different cultivars are available for temperate and subtropical climates. The UK’s National Fruit Collection, which is the responsibility of the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, has a collection of over 2,000 accessions in Kent. The University of Reading, which is responsible for developing the UK national collection database, provides access to search the national collection. The University of Reading’s work is part of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources of which there are 38 countries participating in the Malus/Pyrus work group. The UK’s national fruit collection database contains a wealth of information on the characteristics and origin of many apples, including alternative names for what is essentially the same ‘genetic’ apple variety. Most of these cultivars are bred for eating fresh (dessert apples), though some are cultivated specifically for cooking (cooking apples) or producing cider. Cider apples are typically too tart and astringent to eat fresh, but they give the beverage a rich flavour that dessert apples cannot.
click to see the picture
Commercially popular apple cultivars are soft but crisp. Other desired qualities in modern commercial apple breeding are a colourful skin, absence of russeting, ease of shipping, lengthy storage ability, high yields, disease resistance, common apple shape, and developed flavour. Modern apples are generally sweeter than older cultivars, as popular tastes in apples have varied over time. Most North Americans and Europeans favour sweet, subacid apples, but tart apples have a strong minority following. Extremely sweet apples with barely any acid flavour are popular in Asia and especially India.
Old cultivars are often oddly shaped, russeted, and have a variety of textures and colours. Some find them to have a better flavour than modern cultivars, but may have other problems which make them commercially unviable from low yield, disease susceptibility, or poor tolerance for storage or transport. A few old cultivars are still produced on a large scale, but many have been preserved by home gardeners and farmers that sell directly to local markets. Many unusual and locally important cultivars with their own unique taste and appearance exist; apple conservation campaigns have sprung up around the world to preserve such local cultivars from extinction. In the United Kingdom, old cultivars such as ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ and ‘Egremont Russet‘ are still commercially important even though by modern standards they are low yielding and susceptible to disease.
Apples are often eaten raw. The whole fruit including the skin is suitable for human consumption except for the seeds, which are slightly poisonous. The core is often not eaten and is discarded. Varieties bred for raw consumption are termed dessert or table apples.
click to see the picture
Apples can be canned or juiced. They are milled to produce apple cider (non-alcoholic, sweet cider) and filtered for apple juice. The juice can be fermented to make hard cider, ciderkin, and vinegar. Through distillation, various alcoholic beverages can be produced, such as applejack, Calvados, and apfelwein. Apple seed oil and pectin may also be produced.
Popular uses :
Apples are an important ingredient in many 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 reconstituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later use. Puréed apples are generally known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are also used (cooked) in meat dishes.
click to see the picture
*In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. Similar treats in the US are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystallized 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.
*Farms with apple orchards may open them to the public, so consumers may themselves pick the apples they will purchase.
Sliced apples turn brown with exposure to air due to the conversion of natural phenolic substances into melanin upon exposure to oxygen. Different cultivars vary in their propensity to brown after slicing. Sliced fruit can be treated with acidulated water to prevent this effect
Organic apples are commonly produced in the United States. Organic production is difficult in Europe, though a few orchards have done so with commercial success, using disease-resistant cultivars. A light coating of kaolin, which forms a physical barrier to some pests, also helps prevent apple sun scalding
click to see the picture
The proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”, addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from 19th century Wales. Fruit specialist J.T. Stinson popularized this proverb during a lecture at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.
Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Apple peels contain ursolic acid which, in rat studies, increases skeletal muscle and brown fat, and decreases white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance, and fatty liver disease.
Apple peels are a source of various phytochemicals with unknown nutritional value and possible antioxidant activity in vitro. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical apple serving weighs 242 grams and contains 126 calories with significant dietary fiber and vitamin C content.
Apple juice concentrate has been found to increase the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in mice. Other studies have shown an “alleviation of oxidative damage and cognitive decline” in mice after the administration of apple juice. Fruit flies fed an apple extract lived 10% longer than other flies fed a normal diet.
Constituents: acetic-acid, alpha-linolenic-acid, benzoic-acid, benzyl-acetate, caffeic-acid, calcium-oxalate, chlorogenic-acid , ferulic-acid, geraniol, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, lactic-acid,lutein,p-coumaric-acid, protocatechuic-acid, quercetin, rutin, sugar, ursolic-a
Properties: * Anti-inflammatory * Antifungal * Astringent * Laxative
Parts Used: fruit, flowers, bark
Medicinal Uses: * Arthritis * Athletes Foot/Ringworm * Cardiovascular * Cholesterol * Diabetes * Nutrition * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Sunburns
The old folks really knew a good thing when they saw it. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”; this humble fruit can help prevent two of the major lifestyle diseases of modern life, diabetes and heart disease. Apples contain malic and tartaric acids, and salts of potassium, sodium, magnesium, and iron. They also contain soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol, help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Herbalists consider apples to be cleansing and tonic to the liver and kidneys. The best of the medicinal compounds are contained in the apple peel, so buy organic whenever possible and always wash thoroughly.84
Apple cider vinegar is such a useful and versatile substance, truly no household should be without it. You can’t go wrong with something that is good to eat, prevents hair loss, softens skin, and cleans and disinfects the bathroom to boot. When it is made from whole, crushed apples vinegar contains all the nutrition of apples, with some added enzymes and amino acids formed by fermentation. 125 The mother of all home remedies for arthritis is 3 tablespoons of ACV mixed with honey every day. This simple remedy has so much anecdotal evidence of its benefit that I can think of no reason for anyone with arthritis not to try it. If nothing else cut down on calories by substituting a fresh vinaigrette salad dressing with herbs for the calorie laden, bottled kind to help increase weight loss. Vinegar is often touted for its alkalizing, effect as a balance to the many acid producing foods we tend to overeat, like meats and grains. There is some disagreement over whether vinegar, which is an acidic substance, makes the body more acidic, which acts to prevent food poisoning by killing harmful bacteria, 124 or whether it indeed has alkalizing, effect on the body. In any case, there is wide agreement that two or three tablespoons of vinegar as a daily tonic works to decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, and may help to alleviate the crippling pain of arthritis.
The entire apple tree is useful in home and herbal medicine. In addition to the fruit of the apple tree, its bark, flowers, and leaves all have healthy properties. Herbalists use the apple tree much like its cousin the rose, for its astringent properties. The inner bark of the apple tree as well as blossoms are an astringent tonic, and can be used as an infusion for sore throats. The wild crab apple tree is considered better than modern cultivars for use in herbal medicine.
One form of apple allergy, often found in northern Europe, is called birch-apple syndrome, and is found in people who are also allergic to birch pollen. Allergic reactions are triggered by a protein in apples that is similar to birch pollen, and people affected by this protein can also develop allergies to other fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Reactions, which entail oral allergy syndrome (OAS), generally involve itching and inflammation of the mouth and throat, but in rare cases can also include life-threatening anaphylaxis. This reaction only occurs when raw fruit is consumed—the allergen is neutralized in the cooking process. The variety of apple, maturity and storage conditions can change the amount of allergen present in individual fruits. Long storage times can increase the amount of proteins that cause birch-apple syndrome.
In other areas, such as the Mediterranean, some individuals have adverse reactions to apples because of their similarity to peaches. This form of apple allergy also includes OAS, but often has more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain and urticaria, and can be life-threatening. Individuals with this form of allergy can also develop reactions to other fruits and nuts. Cooking does not break down the protein causing this particular reaction, so affected individuals can eat neither raw nor cooked apples. Freshly harvested, over-ripe fruits tend to have the highest levels of the protein that causes this reaction.
Breeding efforts have yet to produce a hypoallergenic fruit suitable for either of the two forms of apple allergy.
Toxicity of seeds:
The seeds of apples contain small amounts of amygdalin, a sugar and cyanide compound known as a cyanogenic glycoside. Ingesting small amounts of apple seeds will cause no ill effects, but in extremely large doses can cause adverse reactions. There is only one known case of fatal cyanide poisoning from apple seeds; in this case the individual chewed and swallowed one cup of seeds. It may take several hours before the poison takes effect, as cyanogenic glycosides must be hydrolyzed before the cyanide ion is released.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider