I AM AN… APPLE
You’ve heard the story of Adam and Eve, and how they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for swiping an apple. Well, I know why they did it – apples are good for you! Those crazy kids just wanted a little bite of the bountiful, a jolt of the juicy, and frankly I don’t blame them one little bit.
Before I go any further, I guess introductions are in order. My name is Adam – I know, I know, I get that a lot. An apple named Adam, it’s kind of like a cat named Tom, or a dog named Chili. You just can’t make stuff like this up. Anyway, I’m Adam, and it’s nice to make your acquaintance. While my most famous ancestor was a product of the spectacular one-tree orchard at Eden, most of my relatives originated in Western Asia.
I don’t mean to sound immodest, but we apples really are the rock stars of fruit. Back in the day, Gaia (aka Mother Earth) presented a golden apple tree to Zeus and his blushing bride, Hera, on their wedding day. The ancient Persians, followed by the Greeks, then the Romans, considered apples the very personification of pleasure (that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? You won’t hear anything like that said of, say, grapefruit). Wealthy Persians created walled apple gardens, and called them pairidaeza. The Greeks and Romans followed suit – in Latin they were called pardisus. Sounds like paradise to me.
It was the Romans who, in the process of conquering most of Europe, brought apples along with their legions and flush toilets. The Roman poet Horace noted in 100 B.C. that the perfect meal starts with eggs, and ends with us.
We were brought to North America in the 1600s by European immigrants – if I remember correctly, the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted near Boston in 1625. Now, of course, you can find us in virtually every state and province in the USA and Canada. Not to mention much of the rest of the world. From our modest, hard-scrabble beginnings in the mountains of Kazakhstan, there are now almost 7,000 varieties of domesticated apples on the planet. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?
Most of you eat us raw – watch out for our seeds, though, they’re slightly poisonous. For those of you who are a little more industrious, we can be canned or juiced, we can be milled to produce apple cider, and our juice can be fermented to make vinegar and distilled to make all sorts of alcoholic beverages. Apple butter (my personal favorite) and apple jelly are both popular –we can even be made into oil.
Remember the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, like many sayings, this one happens to be mostly true. We are, in fact, very, very good for you. Researchers have said we may reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and lung cancer. We’re a rich source of antioxidant compounds. We may also help combat heart disease, promote weight loss, and our fiber can assist in controlling cholesterol. My green cousins can act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser, and even aid in softening gallstones. Because of our high-water content, we’re cooling and moistening, and can aid in reducing fever – just grate us and serve to the patient, et voila. Steamed apples sweetened with honey are beneficial for a dry cough and may help remove mucous from the lungs – plus, prepared that way, we’re just plain delicious.
But wait, there’s more! Eating us raw gives the gums a healthy massage and cleans the teeth. And as if all that wasn’t enough, we’re a good source of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C. We also have trace amounts of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc for good measure.
I could go on, but I don’t want you to think I’m bragging. So, I’ll stop with the back-slapping and pass on a few ideas for ways you can eat me. When you toss me into a salad, my little bursts of sweetness will make said salad special. Slice me on top of your peanut butter sandwich to give it some sweet crunch, and pleasantly contrasting flavor. Make a vegan Waldorf salad with diced apples, diced celery, raisins, and vegan mayonnaise. If you’re fortunate enough to have a juicer in your kitchen, you can enjoy fresh apple juice throughout the year (yum). And in case you’re felling a little frisky, try some of these easy recipes featuring yours truly. Enjoy me for your health. Enjoy me for the sheer fun of it!
Apple’s contain good quantities of vitamin-C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
ROZIE’S APPLE COFFEE CAKE
1 1/3 Cups (300mL) Flour
¾ (180mL) cups sugar
3 tsp (15mL) baking powder
¼ tsp(1mL) salt
¼ Cup (60mL) butter or margarine (room temp)
1 whole egg, beaten or use 4 Tbsp (60mL) liquid egg whites
¾ Cup (180mL) Milk
1 tsp (5mL) vanilla extract.
2-3 Cooking apples. Peeled and sliced. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or orange juice to prevent apples from turning brown.
1/3 Cup (80ml) brown sugar ½ tsp (2ml) cinnamon
Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in or Rub butter into flour mixture until it is crumbly. Make a well in the center. In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add milk and vanilla. Pour into well. Stir just enough to moisten. Place into a greased 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) cake pan. Arrange sliced apples on top of batter, slightly pushing them into the batter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mix over top of the apples. Bake in a 350 F (180 C) oven for 35-45 min. Every oven bakes differently so watch for it to brown nicely and that apples are tender.
Rose-Marie MacPherson Strathmore, Alberta
Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories. They contain no saturated fats or cholesterol but are rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fiber also help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
APPLE HARVEST SOUP
4 apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp (30mL) vegetable oil
1 Tbsp (15mL) butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 Cups (900mL) butternut squash, cubed
2 large carrots, sliced
2 parsnips, sliced
1 Cup (250mL) apple juice or cider
3 Cups (750mL) chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp (1mL) pepper
1/2 tsp (2mL) curry
1 Cup (250mL) milk
Heat the oil and butter in saucepan, add the onion and apples and sauté over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Add the squash, carrots, parsnips, apple juice, stock and spices. Cover pan and simmer for 25 minutes. Purée the vegetables in a blender or food processor. Return purée to saucepan, add milk and bring almost to boil. Pour into serving bowls and top with a few thin apple slices.
Apples contain dietary fibre in their skins and core. About 10 % of an apple is made up of carbohydrate and 4% is a variety of vitamins and minerals. The rest of the apple, more than 80% is water.
Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.
In addition, an apple is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body.
BAKED APPLE SALMON STEAKS
2 Salmon Steaks
1 Large Apple Chopped
1 Onion chopped
3 Tbsp (45mL) Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Lemon juice
Place salmon separately on 2 tinfoil sheets large enough to fold and seal salmon. Add chopped apple and onion divided evenly between salmon steaks. Pour balsamic vinegar and lemon juice over salmon, apple and lemon mixture.
Wrap tightly in foil so juice and steam do not escape.
Place on baking pan and bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Susan Kane – Strathmore, Alberta
APPLE CRANBERRY CRISP
5 Medium Apples
1 Can (398 mL) whole cranberry sauce
¾ Cup (180 mL) sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour
½ Cup (120 mL) Grated nuts of your choice
1 Cup (240 mL) rolled oats
5 Tbsp (75mL) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
¼ Cup (60 mL) melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For filling peel and core apples then slice. Combine cranberry sauce, sugar and flour in bowl. Mix well. Pour cranberry mixture over apples in baking pan.
Combine nuts, oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well. Sprinkle over mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes or until fruit is tender.
Serve over your favourite low-cal ice cream.
Sandie Zobell – Chestermere, Alberta
Apple contains minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus counters the bad influences of sodium.