The apple is one of the most consumed fruits in France because it is found throughout the year. It is eaten both raw and cooked and is used to prepare sweet and savory dishes. It is easy and practical to use and pleases many.
Characteristics of the apple:
- Rich in pectin;
- Source of vitamin C;
- Source of antioxidants;
- Boosts the immune system;
- Fight against the appearance of certain pathologies.
What is an apple?
Apple identity card
- Type: Fruit;
- Family: Rosaceae;
- Origin: Caucasus;
- Season: September to May;
- Color: Yellow, green, red;
- Flavor: Sweet.
Characteristics of the apple
The apple is the fruit of the apple tree. When harvested, it can weigh up to 150g and be varied in color. Its flesh can be crunchy or floury and its flavor is sweet or tangy.
Word from the nutritionist
To enjoy the benefits of the apple, it is best to eat the fruit with its peel. Indeed, the antioxidant power of the peel of the apple is 2 to 6 times higher than that of the flesh. One serving corresponds to an apple.
For 100g of raw apple:
|Vitamin C||6.25 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.37 mg|
|Beta carotene||21.4 µg|
8 benefits of the apple: why eat it?
- The antioxidant power of the apple would help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, the antioxidants contained in the apple would help to decrease and prevent the oxidation of lipids circulating in the blood and would reduce the blood cholesterol level. Consuming apples in the form of fresh fruit has also been shown to reduce the incidence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), particularly in men, according to a recent study. This syndrome includes unstable angina and myocardial infarction.
- Apple pectin is said to have beneficial effects for lowering blood cholesterol. In rats, pectin is believed to help remove more cholesterol through the stool. In addition, studies in humans have shown that the combined consumption of apple pectin and other soluble fibers, in this case guar gum and gum arabic, causes a drop in blood cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol. Apple juice is said to have beneficial effects on the lipid profile and certain inflammatory markers. It is the flavonoids of apple juice which are said to have these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Eating apples (ideally 2 or more per week) would have a favorable effect on respiratory function as well as on the incidence of asthma and respiratory diseases. The polyphenols and flavonoids in the apple could increase the body’s antioxidant capacity and thus reduce the inflammatory response in asthmatics. On the other hand, other studies will be necessary before affirming with certainty that they exert a protective effect. In addition, a study of more than 2,600 children aged 5 to 10 years concluded that daily consumption of apple juice from concentrate was associated with a lower incidence of wheezing (the most common symptom of asthma and which can be an indicator of the disease). Finally,
- Several studies have shown that regular consumption of apples can decrease the risk of developing cancer, particularly lung cancer and colorectal cancer. In vitro studies in cell cultures and in vivo in animals indicate that regular consumption of apple juice or one or more apples per day would even have some preventive effect against colorectal, colon, breast and of the lung43. The polyphenols and other compounds in the apple and its juice are said to have antioxidant effects and decrease the proliferation of cancer cells. These latter hypotheses must however be validated in humans.
- Polyphenols from apple have shown beneficial effects on blood cholesterol and a decrease in lesions in the blood vessels of animals. In a human study, daily consumption for 12 weeks of polyphenol capsules (600 mg) extracted from apples decreased LDL cholesterol and visceral fat. (A fresh apple contains about 200 mg of polyphenols).
- The apple is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and could be partly responsible for the beneficial effects associated with a high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C in the blood helped reduce oxidation and inflammation in the body, a protective effect against the onset of certain degenerative diseases associated with aging.
- The apple is a source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of proteins that play a role in blood clotting (both in stimulation and in inhibition of blood clotting). It also participates in bone formation. In addition to being found in food, vitamin K is manufactured by bacteria present in the intestine, hence the rarity of deficiencies in this vitamin.
- Apple juice and apple puree are sources of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals.
Choosing the right apple
You can buy apples year-round, but the best ones, because they are ripened in the tree, are offered in the fall. We will pick them yourself at the apple grower or, failing that, buy them at the market. The fruits should be very firm. It should be noted that although fruit from organic farming is often less attractive, their cosmetic defects in no way affect their quality.
The different varieties
Today, there are a few thousand varieties worldwide, although 90% of world production comes from only ten of them. Over the centuries, varieties have been selected which are better suited for consumption as fresh fruit, others for cooking and others for the production of juice and cider. The fruits of some varieties keep only a few days, while others overwinter without problems. There are also varieties whose fruit dries well and others whose fruit is better suited for freezing.
In the refrigerator: Always keep apples cool, never at room temperature, as they continue to ripen and eventually lose some of their flavor. They are put in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, preferably in a perforated bag.
In the dehydrator: It is relatively easy to dry apples. First remove the heart, peel them, then cut them into rings, sprinkle with lemon juice and place in the dehydrator or in an oven set to very low temperature for 6 to 8 hours. You can also thread the washers onto a string and hang them to air dry them, which takes a few weeks.
In the freezer: Fresh, only freeze firm-fleshed apples. Remove the heart, cut them into rings and place them in freezer bags. We can also freeze them cooked, in pieces or in compote.
How to cook it? How to match it?
- Chew on the teeth in the middle of the afternoon to suppress hunger.
- As an aperitif, serve apples of various varieties cut into thin slices with cheese and nuts.
- In the oven, after removing the heart. We fill the cavity with sugar and cinnamon before cooking.
- In pies, clafoutis, overturned cakes, breads, muffins, etc.
- Fruit and vegetable salads. The apple is excellent with avocados and endives. Or with green beans and red peppers. Or with finely chopped cabbage and grated carrots.
- Fry them in butter and serve them with sausages. You can also pan-fry them with turnips, baby onions and mushrooms.
- For a comforting snack, place raw apples in the blender with a few drops of lemon juice and soy milk or yogurt. If desired, add other fruits and flavor with vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom.
- You can put it in poultry stuffing, especially goose and duck.
- In sauerkraut, it is traditional to add sour apple wedges during cooking.
- Poach them in cider or wine.
- They can be grated and added to pancake, waffle and pancake mixes.
- To make pancakes cooked in the pan, grate apples and potatoes, add a minced onion, two eggs, and mix well.
- The compote goes well with grilled meats. It can also be incorporated into a barbecue sauce, composed of olive oil, minced onion, garlic, paprika, chilli and lemon juice. Brush pieces of chicken or pork with this sauce before and during cooking. To vary, we will prepare an oriental sauce by adding sesame seeds, grated ginger and soy sauce.
- In the salsa, with coriander, jalapeño pepper, garlic, green onions and avocado. Or just chili, onion and lime juice. Serve with grilled chicken that has previously been marinated in apple juice and white wine flavored with lime zest.
- Apple skewers with chicken or fish, pieces of onion and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil flavored with rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper.
- Apple peels make an excellent infusion. Preferably choose untreated apples. Serve the infusion with a drizzle of lemon juice and honey, preferably apple blossom.
- Thanks to their richness in pectin, apples take jelly easily, a property that can be used with fruits less rich in pectin. It will be enough to cook these fruits together with apples (leaving the skin and the heart) and a small amount of sugar, maple syrup or honey, and pass the preparation through a sieve. For 2 kilos of plums, for example, it will take 3 apples, 2 tsp. lemon juice (necessary to activate pectin), 125 ml (1/4 cup) apple or other fruit juice, 375 ml (3/4 cup) or less sugar or honey, cinnamon or ginger.
- Mulligatawny soup. The recipe for this soup that the English brought back from India contains celery, carrots, onion, chicken broth, chicken, sour apples, rice and more or less spicy spices depending on taste. Add a little crème fraîche when serving.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to squeezed apple juice at home to prevent or delay oxidation.
- Use the juice to glaze roasts or poultry. Or in oriental sauces with soy sauce, vinegar, chicken broth and cornstarch.
- Apple cider vinegar is, in fact, produced with apple juice. It can be used wherever wine vinegar is used: in dressings, mayonnaise, marinades, to deglaze, etc.
- Cider is used in cooking like wine. It can also be served as an aperitif, as well as with pancakes and desserts.
- Norman Kir: apple cider, blackcurrant liqueur and a drop of lemon.
Fructose and sorbitol
The apple contains fructose and sorbitol, two types of sugars which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort (bloating, gas, diarrhea) in sensitive people. In adults, these discomforts can be felt from 10 g of sorbitol per day. A serving of 50 g or more of fructose per day can also cause diarrhea. Note that 1 cup of apple juice (250 ml) contains 6 times more sorbitol (2.6 g) than a fresh apple (0.4 g). However, the difference is less for fructose. One cup of juice contains 14.2 g; and an apple, 8.2 g.
Prefer grape juice for infants
A recent study in 5-month-old infants found that babies with colic were less tolerant of apple juice than grape juice. The latter does not contain sorbitol and has as much fructose as glucose. Apple juice, on the other hand, contains almost 3 times more fructose than glucose. The researchers therefore concluded that it would be preferable, in infants suffering from colic, to moderate the consumption of juice containing sorbitol and more fructose than glucose, like apple juice.
History of the apple
The term “apple” appeared in the French language in 1080, in the famous Chanson de Roland. It comes from the popular Latin poma, a word which means “fruit” and which replaced the malum of classical Latin. This last term, whose meaning is “bad, bad”, accounts for the myths that abound in many cultures who saw the apple as a symbol of debauchery. To discourage its faithful who persisted in their pagan practice, the Roman Catholic Church wanted to demonize all the symbols which were associated with evil, including the apple, which was called malum, then malus, still today the Latin name of the species. We also associated him with the image of the pentagram, which once symbolized the Mother Goddess, because the apple blossom has 5 petals and its fruit houses its seeds in a 5-branch structure.
The apple tree probably originates from a vast region which goes from the Caucasus to the Tian Shan mountains bordering China. In this region, colonies of Malus sieversii, one of the probable wild ancestors of cultivated species of apple and crabapple trees, still survive. However, the species whose fruit we consume today is a hybrid that does not grow spontaneously in the wild. It would have started to spread 8000 years before our era, borrowing with the merchants and the travelers the primitive routes created for the needs of the trade. Remains of apples dating back thousands of years have been found during excavations carried out in Jericho, in the Jordan Valley.
Three hundred years before our era, the Greek philosopher Theophrastus described 6 varieties of apple trees, as well as the care to be given to trees and the techniques of grafting to multiply them. It was already known at the time that trees from direct sowing (seeds) gave lower quality fruits than those from grafted trees. The Romans, who excelled in its culture, spread the apple tree throughout the Empire, including the British Isles. In the first century AD, we knew about thirty varieties.
Introduced in France by the Loire Valley, the apple tree is developing in the gardens of the castles. In the 16th century, there were 100 varieties in France alone and, in the 19th century, a French nurseryman offered more than 500 in its catalog.
A tree in temperate climates, the apple tree requires deep, well-drained soil rich in soil. It is best to choose a sloping location to avoid frost holes and preserve the flowers from late spring frosts.
Choose 2 or 3 cultivars flowering at the same time to ensure good pollination. The trees of certain varieties of crabapples can serve as pollinators. If you only have a small space, plant dwarf varieties. Preferably choose one of the new cultivars resistant to scab (a fungal disease that attacks fruit trees).
Plant as early as possible in spring when the trees are still dormant. Before planting, soak the roots for a few hours in a solution of clay and water.
The ancestor: the McIntosh
Half of the apples we eat belong to the McIntosh variety. It is estimated that more than 3 million apple trees of this variety are grown in North America. All these trees come from a single specimen: the apple tree of John McIntosh, a Scottish immigrant from Prescott, Ontario.
- Prune trees upon installation and thereafter annually.
- Thin out the fruits so as to keep only one per branch (sting).
- Before bud break, apply dormant oil (insect repellent brushed on the trunk when the tree is dormant, also called dormant oil) to control certain insects, including mites.
- Against the apple fly, hang 3 or 4 pheromone traps per tree. When there are more than 5 adult flies per sphere, spray in Surround (for details on this product, see Ecology and environment). Against the codling moth, spray a solution of Bacillus thurigensis or Surround. On trees of varieties prone to scab, treat several times during the season with elemental sulfur to limit infestation. However, one should not be overly concerned if there are still some black spots on the fruit.
Ecology and environment
More and more traditional apple growers are using the concept of integrated fruit production (IFP) 49-51. This aims to protect apple trees by considering all stages of production, from setting up the orchard to harvesting. It allows synthetic pesticides to be used only as a last resort.
In organic farming, where synthetic products are strictly prohibited, there is now a product to be sprayed to protect vegetable crops against certain insects and diseases. Made from clay (more precisely kaolin), it is called Surround. It has been shown to be particularly effective against the plum weevil (which also affects the apple) and the codling moth of the apple. In organic orchards where it has been tested, the product has had the effect of preserving nearly 80% of the fruit against attack by insects while, without it, it is rather 80% of the fruit that is affected. In fact, the product does not destroy the insect, but creates a barrier that disturbs it and keeps it away.
Kaolin also prevents the appearance of certain fungal diseases which, without affecting the quality of the fruit, adversely affects its appearance. Finally, researchers who feared that clay could harm photosynthesis realized that not only it was not so, but that in addition, it protected the leaves against infrared rays and heat. Surround is already used by market gardeners for a multitude of plant productions: stone and pome fruits, citrus fruits, oilseeds, berries, grapes, fruit vegetables, onions and their relatives, various cabbages, cotton, cereals, as well as for ornamental plants