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  Apples and Apple Tree Blossoms  

NEW! Pharmacopeia of Flowers: Foods, Drinks, Health & Beauty

AppleApple Tree Blossoms

Apple |ˈapəl| noun

  1. the round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin red or green skin and crisp flesh. Many varieties have been developed as dessert or cooking fruit or for making cider.
    • [with adj. ] an unrelated fruit that resembles this in some way. See also custard apple, thorn apple .
  2. (also apple tree) the tree bearing such fruit.
    • Genus Malus, family Rosaceae: numerous hybrids and cultivars.
  3. (the Apple) short for "the Big Apple" the city of new York, NY. or the "Mini-Apple" the city of Minneapolis, MN.

ORIGIN Old English æppel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch appel and German Apfel.

PHRASES

  • the apple never falls far from the tree proverb family characteristics are usually inherited.
  • the apple of one's eye a person of whom one is extremely fond and proud. [ORIGIN: originally denoting the pupil of the eye, considered to be a globular solid body, extended as a symbol of something cherished.]
  • apples and oranges (of two people or things) irreconcilably or fundamentally different.
  • a rotten (or bad) apple informal a bad or corrupt person in a group, typically one whose behavior is likely to have a detrimental influence on his or her associates. [ORIGIN: with reference to the effect that a rotten apple has on fruit with which it is in contact.]
  • upset the applecart spoil a plan or disturb the status quo.

Mason Bees Pollinating Apple Blossoms
Apples are self-incompatible; they must cross-pollinate to develop fruit. During the flowering each season, apple growers often utilize pollinators to carry pollen. Honey bees are most commonly used. Orchard mason bees are also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards. Bumblebee queens are sometimes present in orchards, but not usually in enough quantity to be significant pollinators.

The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The 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.

There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, fresh eating and cider production. Domestic apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. Trees are prone to a number of fungal, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means.

Some types, including the Granny Smith and Fuji, can be stored up to a year without significant degradation.

  • Ambrosia Gravenstein Pink Lady
  • Baldwin Greening Pippin
  • Braeburn Honeycrisp Red Delicious
  • Cameo Ida Red Rome
  • Cortland Jerseymac Russet
  • Crab Apple Jonagold Spartan
  • Crispin Jonamac Stayman
  • Criterion Jonathan Sturmer
    (Pippin)
  • Delicious Lady Sugar Apple
  • Discovery Liberty Sundowner
  • Empire Lodi Sunrise
  • Fortune Macoun Sweetsop
  • Fuji McIntosh Tydeman
  • Gala Monarch Winesap
  • Ginger Gold Mutsu Winter Banana
  • Golden Delicious Northern Spy
    Yellow Transparent
  • Golden Russet Paula Red York
  • Granny Smith Pearmain

Organic #93283 Honeycrisp Apples Organic #94128 Pink Lady Apples Gala Apples
Organic #94017 Granny Smith Apples Golden Delicious Apples Red Delicious Apples
Rome Apples Fuji Apples Ida Red Apples
Jonaathan Apples Jona Gold Apples King Apples

 

Organic Apples

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.

A few good brands of organic apples that I have tried are: Honeycrisp #93283, Granny Smith #94017, Pink Lady #94128, and Daisy Girl.

Technical Illustration of Apple Blossoms

Apple Foods

Apple Butter | noun
a paste of spiced stewed apple used as a spread or condiment, typically made with cider.

Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many cooked foods (especially desserts) and drinks. 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.

Apples
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.

  • 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.

Acidulated Water Prevents Browning in Fruits

Apple Picking
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.

Acidulated water is water where some sort of acid is added (often lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) to prevent cut or skinned fruits or vegetables from browning so as to maintain their appearance.

Some vegetables and fruits which are often placed in acidulated water are: apples, avocados, celeriac, potatoes and pears. When the fruit or vegetable is removed from the mixture, it will usually resist browning for at least an hour or two, even though it is being exposed to oxygen.

An added benefit of placing items in acidulated water is that the food item acquires a taste of the acid used, which can be very pleasant on the palate.

Acidulated water, most often made with the use of vinegar, can be used on an aged, hanging beef carcass (butchered) to help clean it. The hanging primals / sub-primals can be wiped down with a cloth that has been submerged in the acidulated solution to help remove the "slick" surface that can build up during the aging process.

Eating Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms (Malus species) - Apple Blossoms have a delicate floral flavor and aroma. They are a nice accompaniment to fruit dishes and can easily be candied to use as a garnish. NOTE: Eat in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors. The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous.

Every seed in every apple is different than the parent apple trees. Every apple you eat of the same kind is a clone because there was only one original apple tree with that apple. That’s how there came to be some 7,000 different kinds of apples over the years. With mechanization that number has about half. Around the home I grew up in were many wild apples of no distinct variety, just something that sprouted from a tossed away core. Each one unique and the product of littering. What most folks don’t know is that you can eat apple blossoms. Soft scented, floral, only consume a few at a time because they contain a precursor to cyanide which gets release during digestion. A little is tasty. Too many is a tummy ache. A lot is a trip to the hospital.

 

Apple JuiceApple Drinks & Beverages

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.

Apple Cider

Apple cider (also called sweet cider or soft cider) is the name used in the United States and parts of Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. Apple cider is easy and inexpensive to produce. Apple cider may be opaque due to fine apple particles in suspension and may be tangier than conventional filtered apple juice, depending on the apples used.

Apple Cider Jug
This untreated cider is a seasonally produced drink of limited shelf-life that is typically available only in fall, although Apple cider is sometimes frozen for use throughout the year. Apple cider is traditionally served on the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and various New Year's Eve holidays, sometimes heated and mulled. Apple cider is the official state beverage of New Hampshire.

Devilld AppleAlthough the term cider is used for the fermented alcoholic drink in most of the world, the term hard cider is used for the alcoholic drink in the United States and much of Canada.

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also regulates "unpasteurized apple cider".

In the United States, the difference between apple juice and cider is not well established. Some states do specify a difference. For example, according to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources:

"Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples, but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice."

Applejack was historically made by concentrating cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term applejack derives from jacking, a term for freeze distillation. The modern product sold as applejack is no longer produced using this traditional process.

Juicing Apples Apple Cocktails Applejack Rose Cocktails

 

Apple Health Benefits

Apple Orchard
Many beneficial health effects have been found from eating apples; however, two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit.

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.

 

Allergic to Apples?

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 Cyanide Amygdalin in Apple Seeds

Granny Smith Apple 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.

"Apple seeds are mentioned, not as having caused stock-poisoning, but because of the fact that one instance was recorded from personal inquiry in which an adult man was killed following eating a cup of these seeds at one time. The seeds had been saved up, apparently thought to be a delicacy in small amounts and upon being eaten developed enough of the deadly prussic acid to cause this tragic death. The instance is recorded here as a caution to others who might attempt to eat more than a few of these seeds at any one time. Previous investigators have reported that apple seeds contain appreciable amounts of amygdalin from which prussic acid is developed, but actual reports of poisoning are rare."

 

Apples in International Cultures

About 69 million tons 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.

Since the 1930s, the Excelsior Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota has introduced a steady progression of important apples that are widely grown, both commercially and by local orchardists, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its most important contributions have included 'Haralson' (which is the most widely cultivated apple in Minnesota), 'Wealthy', 'Honeygold', and 'Honeycrisp'.

Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, other than berries, including nuts, as late as the 17th century. For instance, in Greek mythology, the Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labours, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center.

The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In retaliation, she tossed a golden apple inscribed Καλλίστη (Kalliste, sometimes transliterated Kallisti, 'For the most beautiful one'), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the Trojan War.

The apple was thus considered, in ancient Greece, to be sacred to Aphrodite, and to throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one's love; and similarly, to catch it was to symbolically show one's acceptance of that love. An epigram claiming authorship by Plato states:

I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.
— Plato, Epigram VII

Atalanta, also of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but Hippomenes (also known as Melanion, a name possibly derived from melon the Greek word for both "apple" and fruit in general), who defeated her by cunning, not speed. Hippomenes knew that he could not win in a fair race, so he used three golden apples (gifts of Aphrodite, the goddess of love) to distract Atalanta. It took all three apples and all of his speed, but Hippomenes was finally successful, winning the race and Atalanta's hand.

Men used to make homemade pipes out of apple wood then use a basswood stem for the pipe stem.

Blossoming Apple Trees
Apple Blossoms
Apple Blossoms
Apple Tree with Apples
Live Apples on Tree
Apple Harvest
Different Apple Colors

Apple Tree Ancestors

Rootstocks used to control tree size have been used in apple cultivation for over 2,000 years. Dwarfing rootstocks were probably discovered by chance in Asia. Alexander the Great sent samples of dwarf apple trees to Aristotle, in Greece. They were maintained at the Lyceum.

Different Apple Sizes
The original wild ancestor of Malus domestica was Malus sieversii, found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China. Cultivation of the species, most likely beginning on the forested flanks of the Tian Shan mountains, progressed over a long period of time and permitted secondary introgression of genes from other species into the open-pollinated seeds. Significant exchange with Malus sylvestris, the crabapple, resulted in current populations of apples to be more related to crabapples than to the more morphologically similar progenitor Malus sieversii. In strains without recent admixture the contribution of the latter predominates.

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.

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.

 

Adam & Eve's The Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit
Though the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her. This may have been the result of Renaissance painters adding elements of Greek mythology into biblical scenes (alternative interpretations also based on Greek mythology occasionally replace the apple with a pomegranate).

In this case the unnamed fruit of Eden became an apple under the influence of story of the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides. As a result, in the story of Adam and Eve, the apple became a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man into sin, and sin itself. In Latin, the words for "apple" and for "evil" are similar (mālum "an apple", mălum "an evil, a misfortune"). This may also have influenced the apple becoming interpreted as the biblical "forbidden fruit".

The larynx in the human throat has been called Adam's apple because of a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit remaining in the throat of Adam.

 

 

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