The apple. Where do I begin to start with apples? Generally speaking, I think we are all very familiar with this iconic fruit that is grown worldwide, but did you know that the tree originated in Central Asia? It’s wild ancestors still grow in Kazakhstan to this day.
They were brought to this country by European settlers back in the early 1600s and quickly became a part of the cultural and culinary fabric. When they started to grow here, they were very bitter, unlike the ones we know today. Instead of eating them as we do, they were used to make cider.
In fact, there are roughly 2,500 types grown in the States alone. (About 7,500 worldwide.) They come in all shades of red, yellow, and green.
Fun Apple Facts:
The Crabapple is the only variety native to the U.S.
We grow them in all 50 states.
About 100 species are grown here commercially and almost all of the varieties are still picked by hand every fall.
They will ripen much more quickly if left at room temperature vs. refrigerated.
The science of growing apples is called pomology.
Nowadays we use them to make everything from juice to applesauce, to butter, and of course, apple pie.
They are wonderful for you for many reasons. They are incredibly nutritious at roughly 90 calories per apple and giving great fiber, a good amount of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
That said, to obtain these benefits, you have to the apple raw, with the skin on. Nearly 2/3 of those “good for you bits” are found in the skin. By dehydrating them, juicing them, baking them, etc. you are losing out on those great qualities.
Are apples not actually a fruit?
Botanists considered fruit to be a thing that grows from the fertilized ovary of the flower of the plant. That means these fall into this category.
Are apples good for your teeth?
Yes, they are! While many dentists would agree that sugary things aren’t great for your teeth, apples are not one of them. The reason is that the act of eating one causes your mouth to produce saliva. This, in turn, rinses away bacteria and food particles.
On top of that, the texture of the flesh can stimulate your gums and provide a good midday sweep of things that might be stuck to your teeth. It should be noted that eating one should be no means replace brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
How do you prevent apples from browning?
When you slice into one the oxygen in the air starts to react with the enzymes in the apple. The flesh then begins to oxidize aka turn brown. While this isn’t harmful, it can change the taste and texture of it.
To avoid this, I like to create acidulated water. This means adding a tablespoon or two of lemon to a bowl of water and then placing your slices in there. You can then leave them in the water or do a quick dunk. Totally up to you.
The only downside is that the lemon will leave a bit of flavor on your apple. If that isn’t appealing, a touch of pineapple juice should do the trick as well.