Updated: Jul 23, 2019
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 back in Eden, most of my relatives originated in western Asia. While most of us have calmed down over the years and become domesticated, I still have a cousin, the Alma, that continues to grow, wild and free, in mountainous Kazakhstan (alma actually means apple in Kazakhstani). Never suggest to a resident of Almaty, or any other town or village in Kazakhstan, that the Okanagan or Annapolis valleys, or beautiful downtown Yakima is “the apple capital of the world” – trust me, you’ll be in big trouble if you do. 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. These apples became associated with many tales of love, lust, and temptation. I suspect the fact we were considered a romantic fruit (don’t laugh, we were!) is why no good meal was complete without an apple for… dessert. Later, in the mountains of Jotunheim, where winters make Winnipeg in January seem like Tahiti on a particularly warm day, the Norse goddess Idun managed to cultivate her own golden apples, a steady supply of which kept gods like Thor and Odin and their pals eternally young. Which I suspect led to the saying, “How do you like them apples?”every time a ripped and youthful Thor brought his hammer down on some tired, old non-Norse god’s head. 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, bananas). 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 legions and flush toilets. The Roman poet Horace noted in 100 B.C. that the perfect meal starts with eggs, and ends with us. While we’ve inspired lots of love and gastronomic delight over the centuries, we’ve also stimulated the odd brain cell. For example, it took one of my relatives to finally get fed up and fall on the head of Sir Isaac Newton back in 1655 to provide the inspiration for the discovery of the laws of gravitation. And if it weren’t for us, I shudder to think how teachers would make it through a school year (and no teachers, no Isaac Newtons). 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?
Remember the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, like many sayings, this one happens to be true. We are, in fact, very good for you. Researchers have suggested we may reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and lung cancers. We’re a rich source of antioxidant compounds. We may also help combat heart disease, promote weight loss, and assist in controlling cholesterol. Our fiber reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption. My green cousins can act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser, and may 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. Steamed apples sweetened with honey are beneficial for a dry cough, and may help remove mucous from the lungs. Our flavour is a magical blend of tartness, sweetness, and bitterness, capped by a heady aroma, a mysterious blend of 250 trace chemicals, that awakens the senses and turns one’s thoughts to… (remember, we’re a highly romantic fruit). But that’s not all. 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 some 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 provide a 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!
ROZIE’S APPLE COFFEE CAKE
1 1/3 Cups (320mL) 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 8x8 inch (20x20 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
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° F 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° F. 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 HARVEST SOUP
4 apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp (30mL) vegetable oil
1 Tbsp (15mL) butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 Cups (960mL) butternut squash, cubed
2 large carrots, sliced
2 parsnips, sliced
1 Cup (240mL) apple juice or cider
3 Cups (720mL) chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp (1mL) pepper
1/2 tsp (2mL) curry
1 Cup (240mL) 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 minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component in controlling heart rate and blood pressure – it helps counter the effects of sodium
Apples are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B6).
Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.
Apples contain dietary fibre in their skins and core. About 10 % of an apple is made up of carbohydrates, and 4% is a variety of vitamins and minerals. The rest of the apple is more than 80%, water
Apples are low in calories. They contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, but are rich in dietary fiber, which helps protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancercausing chemicals in the colon.
Apples contain betacarotene and vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and helps inhibit harmful, proinflammatory free radicals.
Do you LOVE the "I Am A" Series?
You can purchase the entire published book, now available on e-book here - https://www.thenewsyneighbour.com/product-page/the-i-am-a-series-fruits-vegetables
You will get:
Apple, Asparagus, Avocado, Banana, Beet, Bell Pepper, Blueberry, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cranberry, Cucumber, Eggplant, Fig, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Onion, Orange, Pear, Plum, Potato, Pumpkin, Squash, Strawberry & Sweet Potato.
Only $12.99 for the 160 pages of fun reading, nutritional education and amazing recipes.