The apple is said to have originated around Asia Minor. The first edible apple was cultivated around 1200 BC near Alma Ata in Kazakhstan. The Greeks and Romans were cultivating the apple by 300 BC. The European settlers brought it to America.
The apple came to the America’s around 1620. There is an old American legend of Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman was a settler in Leominster, Massachusetts. He used to distribute apple seeds to European settlers in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.
The apple has a lot of symbolism. It could possibly be the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The apple is a symbol of feminism, and is associated to Venus de Milo. The apple is also the fruit of knowledge. (It is while school children give the apple to their teachers, in exchange for knowledge.)
The apple has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years. There are approximately 7,000 varieties of apples, but only about 20 are commerciallysignificant to the United States.
Apples grow on trees. The tree produces white to pink blossoms. It takes 6 to 8 years for a tree to bear fruit. The apples contain 5 seed pods, or carpels.
The age of the apple tree determines the number of seeds in each pod. The apple is 20% air, therefore it floats in water. (Bobbing for apples…..) The dried up fuzzy end of the apple is called a sepal. Apples contain iron, so when they are cut, they tend to oxidize quickly and turn brown. To prevent oxidizing, combine with an acid. Keep apples away from ethylene sensitive products. (bananas in particular)
Apple color ranges from yellow to green to red. The texture ranges from tender to crisp. Their flavors can be anywhere from sweet to tart.
Apple production is leading in the states of Washington and New York. China is the top producer worldwide, and America is second. Apple trees thrive better when near other apple trees. The trees need a temperate climate to produce. It requires a cold, dormancy to survive. Apple orchids tend to do well on hills with well drainage. They do not require an extensive amount of water. Apples are available year round, but their peak season is from September to November.
Apples are almost always harvested before they are ripe. That will help withstand shipping and marketing. 50% of all apples produced are used for fresh fruit consumption, 20% go into processed apple products, 17% go into applesauce and pies, and 13% are exported.
Apples can be eaten raw out of hand, or any method of cooking and preparing. Cooking apples will disintegrate into a puree when cooked, and will not taste mealy. Apples can also be used to make cider, or Calvados, an apple brandy. Apple cider is fermented apple juice. Apples that are to be eaten out of hand need to be firm, juicy, tasty, and crisp. Apples for pies should be drier with slight acidity. Apple for baking must be sweet, and should not disintegrate easily. Jelly apples should be barely ripe. They need acid, and should be juicy, and high in pectin. Apples to be made into applesauce should not discolor easily.
Apples contain a high proportion of pectin- which is a type of carbohydrate found in many fruits. It produces a thickening quality that is used in jellies and jams.
Dishes that use apples are commonly referred to as a la Normande.
Look for apples that are firm with no blemishes or wrinkles. Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron and are heavy in fiber. Apples contain pectin, a natural thickening agent. It is a diuretic, laxative, anti-diarrheal, muscle tonic, anti-rheumatic, stomachic, and is beneficial for the digestive system. Eating raw apples help cleanse the teeth and massage the gums. The high iron content under the skin brought about the old saying:
“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”
Get your comprehensive guide for purchasing and preparing almost 200 varieteis of apples here: http://www.floridachef.net/#!apple-varieties/clm7
What goes good with Apples??
blackberries pepper, black
blue cheese pignoli
brown sugar praline
cider sour cream
cranberries wine, red
nuts, esp. almonds or pecans
In French: pomme (pOm)
In Spanish: manazana (man-zan-a)
In Italian: (meel-ya)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
2-3 apples, preferably granny smith
In a large skillet, melt butter, brown and white sugar, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon and flour. Mix together and bring to a rapid boil. Wash, core, and thinly slice apples. Leave the skin on. Fold apples into sugar mixture. Put cover on , removing occasionally to stir. Cook until sauce is reduced and caramelized.
8 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
4 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fill a slow cooker with diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 hours, or until thick and dark golden in color.
Fill small jars with hot apple butter, leaving about 3/4 inch space at the top. Makes 4 cups
© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved