I have to say that apples are probably one of the fruits and vegetables that are most taken for granted. Take a minute to think about all of the food products that are derived from apples: juice, cider, sauce, butter and jelly, and of course the American icon, apple pie. Let me share some information about the most popular fruit in this country.
Almost 65 % of the U.S. apple crop is eaten as fresh fruit, while 34.5 % is processed into apple products, and 1 % is not marketed. Of the 34.5 % of the crop that is processed, 15.7 % is used in juice and cider; 2.1 % is dried; 2.1 % is frozen; 12.2 % is canned and 1.1 % is sold as fresh slices. Other uses include the making of baby food and vinegar.
About 2,500 known varieties of apples are grown in the United States.
Here is a list of the most popular varieties:
BraeburnCortland Empire Fuji Jonagold Jonathan Gala Ginger Gold Golden Delicious Granny Smith McIntosh Red Delicious Rome
Apples appear in many religious writings, often as a forbidden fruit. In the book of Genesis though it is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her.
Apples are one of the healthiest fruit that we consume.
Health Benefits of Apples
1. Apples are filled with soluble fiber (5 grams). This fiber has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer. It helps control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream. It cleanses and detoxifies, which helps eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.
2. Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion.
3. In two studies, researchers found that eating five apples a week lowered the risk for respiratory diseases like asthma.
4. According to Chinese medicine apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate the lungs, decrease mucus and increase body fluids.
5. Apple cider vinegar can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
6. Studies indicate that eating apples daily can reduce skin diseases.
7. According to a Brazilian study, eating an apple before a meal helped women lose 33% more weight than those who didn't.
8. An apple has only 50 to 80 calories and has no fat or sodium.
9. Apples are packed with vitamins C, A, and flavonoids and with smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron and calcium.
10. Apples provide a source of potassium which may promote heart health.
Think back to your grade school days; remember the tale of Johnny Appleseed?
Yes, Johnny Appleseed was a real person. His name was John Chapman. He was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, September 26, 1774. His father was a Minuteman at Concord, and later served as a captain during the Revolutionary War. Records of his boyhood are scanty at best. His mother died while his father was in service. His father married again after the war, and the family moved to East Longmeadow, where he spent his boyhood years.
In his early twenties, John Chapman migrated to western Pennsylvania, and first settled in the frontier village of Warren, near Pittsburgh. From there he traveled west into the Ohio Valley, and in the nearly 50 years that followed he lived the life that many folks to this day relate more to legend than history. Chapman never married. For lack of a more appropriate description of his work, he was an itinerate missionary and preacher of the Swedenborgian Christian faith, and an apple tree nurseryman. He traversed the forests and prairies of what is now Ohio and Indiana and fringes of other states, planting and caring for his apple trees, teaching farmers apple culture and assisting them in planting and care for orchards, and preaching "good news right fresh from Heaven." He became known for his courage and dedication to his fellow man, as well as for the thousands of apple trees he planted.
Chapman died in March 1845 from pneumonia. He is buried near Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Now that you know a lot more about apples, and apples are in season. I want to share a couple of my favorite apple recipes.
I make a lot of jams and jellies I have to say that this is my all-time favorite.
Apple Pie Jam
4 cups tart apples, chopped (About 6 medium)
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 box (1 3/4 ounces) dry pectin
1 teaspoon butter
Measure apples in a measuring cup, and then add in the same measuring cup water to fill up to the 4 cup line (with the apples in it). Put into a heavy saucepan. Add pectin, butter, spices and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Put on lids and process in water bath 10 minutes.
Yield 6 half pints
- 6 apples, sliced
- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
Place apples in small 6x10 greased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over apples. Pour 1/3 cup melted butter over. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 350°F. for 1 hour.
So there you have it - a lot of good reasons to eat an apple a day!