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Apples


Apples

Varieties

There are nearly 8000 different kinds of apples grown around the world but only about 100 varieties grown commercially. New varieties are still being discovered and cultivated, with the best eventually becoming "household words" like McIntosh, Delicious, Empire, Rome, Spartan, Cortland, Granny Smith, etc...Recent arrivals include Fuji, Braeburn, Liberty and more.

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Storage

It is best to keep apples as cold as possible so store them in the back of your refrigerator.

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Origins and Culture

The Apple has been a celebrated fruit since the beginning. Whether you start with Adam and Eve or the anthropological data on the Stone Age man in Europe, the apple was there. The Greeks and Romans referred to the apple as a symbol of love and beauty bringing apple cultivation with them wherever they went.

Then of course there was "Johnny Appleseed" [John Chapman] who followed his dream of living in a land with blossoming apple trees everywhere so that no one was ever hungry. He was a skilled nurseryman who loved to grow apple trees and sold or gave them away in the mid-western U.S.A. Even though he walked barefoot, slept outdoors and wore clothes made from sacks, he was not a day sick until he died in 1845, so the story goes. In his 70 years of life he left behind his dream which many of us feed from today.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Apples are rich in soluble fiber and pectin, which helps the body to eliminate cholesterol and protect it against environmental pollutants. Studies have found that two apples a day can lower cholesterol up to 10 percent and that the pectin in apples helps to rid the body of lead and mercury. Apples contain malic and tartic acids, which aid digestion. Even the smell of apples has a calming effect and helps to lower blood pressure while the fructose helps to keep blood-sugar levels on an even keel.

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Basic Cooking Instructions

If you need to remove the skin of an apple, use a common vegetable peeler. To core apples, use an apple corer or quarter the fruit then cut out the core with a small knife. To prevent the browning of cut apples, rub a mixture of lemon juice and water on the exposed apple flesh.
When preparing apples for apple pies it is important to the select the right one. The time of year can also determine which apple you will use when preparing a pie. A quick test to determine which apple to use in your apple pie is to cut a slice of the apple in question and put it in a small bowl with a bit of sugar and water. Zap it for a few minutes in the microwave oven and taste it. When tasting the cooked apple try to determine the apples texture and flavor. Make sure the apple is not too mushy or overly astringent in taste. If you're lucky enough to have more than one apple from which to choose, consider using a combination of apples for a more complex flavor.

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