Fruits: The Apple of My Eye

Apple

Origins

What do Adam and Eve, Atalanta and Hippomenus, Isaac Newton, Snow White and Steve Jobs have in common? They have all been touched by an apple. A legendary fruit eulogized since the beginning human history, the apple had always been there. It is a fruit of ambivalent connotations. Christian stories depict the apple as lust, temptation and indulgence, no less relating to the Adam/Eve story. Greek and Roman mythology refer to apples as symbols of love, beauty and discord. In a much similar vein, the red (poisoned) apple in Snow White is an allusion to desire. In the modern era the apple is evolving in a more positive light. The most famous city of excitement and fortune, New York, is called the “Big Apple”, giving hope to immigrants entering the country. Most prominently, Apple is the name and logo to the world’s most successful computer company (apparently Jobs was paying tribute to his memories working in an apple orchard). Tellingly, the apple and its symbolism have deep roots in history and withstood time, and will continue to evolve into the post modern era.

Today there are 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world, and they come in all shades of reds, greens and yellows.

Tasting notes

Orange Pippin is a wonderful resource for apple varieties. Check them out for more! Below are just a few of my favorites for eating out-of-hand:

  • Ambrosia. Canadian apple discovered in 1987 with a parentage of probably Golden Delicious and Jonagold. Sweet and flowery with a refreshing crisp.
  • Cox Orange Pippin. The quintessential British apple introduced in 1825. I had its first taste while studying abroad in London and was enarmoured by its exceptional clean crisp sweetness. Sadly, you don’t get this in supermarkets in Singapore.
  • Egremont Russet. A fairly sweet, slightly dry apple which keeps very well. It has an unrivaled unique taste despite its unappealing earth-dirt skin. Again, it is a British apple and unavailable in Singapore.
  • Fuji. Japanese apple introduced in 1962, bred from a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties. It is imbued with a heady flowery scent and just simply so delicious! Fuji flavor improves in storage like fine wine.
  • Granny Smith. The one to go if you’re craving something more acidic and sour.
  • Honeycrisp. Crisp as its name is!
  • Jazz. Probably my top favorite for the greatest value for enjoyment. A New Zealand variety introduced in 2000, it boasts an endearingly crunchy bite with a sweet pear-drop flavor. Perfect for days you feel like crunching.
  • Kiku. A red-sport (mutation) of the Fuji apple, but probably even better as it is more reliable in taste. The Fujis these days can’t really be trusted.
  • Pink Lady. A light floral & honey essence, I like to regard it as a Jazz’s baby sister.

Selecting the best

Look for firm fruit, with no bruising or wrinkles. Don’t be fooled by a gleaming skin; many apples, including organic, are waxed for preservation purposes and to extend shelf life. Apparently apples do get sunburn too, known as sun scald. These manifest as dry brown patches and are just the result of overexposure to sunlight and won’t affect the quality.

Store

Store in a perforated bag in the fridge. Because of their sugar content, apples can be stored at 30°F / 0°C without freezing the tissue. As apples often pass their odor or flavor to more delicately flavored produce and the ethylene given off by apples can accelerate ripening in other crops, store apples away from other fruits and vegetables.

Prepare

Commercial apples often come coated in a layer of food-grade wax, which can be identified by a shiny look. They can be washed away with baking soda and lemon water (1 tablespoon each). When cutting apples into slices or chunks, squeeze lemon juice over to keep them from turning brown.

Enjoy

Straight out of hand, juices, smoothies, jams, chutneys, salads or raw dessesrts. Complimentary seasonings include warm spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. For something more unusual, try pairing it with herbs like basil.

Nutrition highlights

One medium apple contains about 90 calories, 19 grams sugar and 4 grams dietary fibre. It is a good idea to eat apples with their skin for the insoluble fiber as it slows the absorption of carbohydrates, lowers the glycemic index and and increases satiety. Apples also contain a water soluble fiber called pectin especially in their skins and core, which support a healthy intestinal tract. Apple seeds contain traces of cyanide, but even if consumed, is not enough to be harmful.

Apples are one of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests consumers should avoid. Choose organic if possible.

Recipe notebook and inspiration

Beverages: Apple Pie Smoothie | Ants in my Mason | Apple Rum Punch
Breakfast: Carrot Cake Oatmeal | Apple Cinnamon Buckwheat Crepes
Starter: Autumn Celeriac Puree
Mains: Raw Waldorf Salad with Avocado Mayo | Apple, Basil and Saffron Curry
Desserts: Raw Apple Pecan Coffee Lasagna | Raw BAD Apple Strudel | Toffee Coated Apples | Apple and Olive Oil Stout Cake with Maple Icing
Condiments: Applesauce | Apple Chutney | Salted Caramel Apple Dip

Day 1 of my Monomea1 Project – towards minimalism.

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