Apples are the most widely cultivated tree fruit of temparate regions, with over 7,000 varieties, ranging in hue from green to yellow to red. The flesh surrounds a tough, central, pip-containing core, the texture varies from crisp to soft, and the flavour from tart to sweet. Tarter varieties, called cooking apples in the UK, contain more malic acid so disintegrate to a purée when cooked, while sweeter dessert or eating varieties hold their shape. Apple varieties are categorized as eating (or dessert), cooking (or baking), cider, and crab.
Apples are tempting enough to eat raw, but they are also versatile as a fruit with which all kinds of delectable dishes can be prepared. Apples are a readily accepted source of energy and essential fluids. Fruit sugars such as those found in apple products serve as an immediate source of energy. Apple juice is an excellent means of providing essential fluids to the body.
- Choose apples with smooth, clean, shiny skin and good colour for the particular variety.
- Overmature fruit will be unpleasantly mealy without firm crunch. Avoid apples with dull skin, bruises, or punctures (which result in decay spots).
- Store apples in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Apples may be left out for up to 48 hours before they turn mealy. For long-term storage, apples must be absolutely sound with no blemishes or bruises, and must be kept in a dry, cool place without touching each other.
Wash under cool water.
Remove the stem by twisting it until it comes off.
Peel, if desired, using a vegetable peeler or knife.
Core the apple using a special coring implement or by cutting off the four sides around the core. Discard the core.
Mix cut-up apples with apple juice to keep them from browning and to preserve the apple flavour.
Crisp, juicy apples are great in lunch boxes.
Bake cut-up apples into a variety of desserts, including apple crisps, cobblers, pies, cakes, strudels, and tarts.
Add apple pieces to salads.
Cook apple cider down to a thick syrup then combine with apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and vegetable oil to make a salad dressing.
Make applesauce from crabapples.
Dip apple wedges in peanut butter.
Apples can be eaten freely, but more than two or three a day does not increase the health benefits. Large quantities of apple juice can encourage tooth decay and diarrhoea. Apples are best eaten raw, as cooking them can reduce the flavonoids by as much as 70 percent into the cooking water. It is also a good idea to eat the apple unpeeled as flavonoids are contained in or near the skin.
Apples, known as a cleansing food, contain fibre, antioxidants and fruit flavonoids. The most important of the flavonoids contained in apples is quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory as well as anti-cancer actions. Apples contain vitamin C as well – more so in green apples than in red ones. Apples can reduce blood cholesterol levels, counter constipation and diarrhoea, help joint problems and help prevent diseases in general.
- Apples are
a good source of dietary fiber
a good source of pectin, great for lowering cholesterol levels
rich in potassium
high in vitamin C
fat-free and low in sodium
a great source of carbohydrate energy
Some Popular Apple Varieties
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