Fresh red Apple
Apple is a fleshy fruit of the tree of the species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. The trees of the Malus family require a long period of dormancy, a well drained soil, years of careful pruning and pest management. The apple tree usually grows to about 5-12 m in height, and is one of the most cultivated fruit trees in the world. Apples ripen in autumn, and generally are 5-9 cm in diameter. They are available in a number of sizes, shapes, colours, etc. but are mostly round and come in the shades of red or yellow.
The tree is believed to have originated from Asia, and now more than 7,500 varieties of apples are available worldwide. These large number of varieties may be grouped in three categories, cider, cooking, and dessert varieties. Those varieties, which ripen in late summer are often the ones, which cannot be stored for long, whereas the ones that ripen in autumn may be stored all year round.
Apples can be eaten fresh, cooked, baked or be converted into drinks, and are a rich source of vitamins A and C, fiber, carbohydrates, etc. To know if an apple is good or not, one should first look at its texture, which should be smooth, and be free of any bruises or cuts. The firmness of the apple is the proof of its sweetness. Storage of the apples in an important aspect and care should be taken to store them in a cool and dry place, wrapped in a poly bag.
Millions of tonnes of apples are grown throughout the world every year. China, USA, Turkey, France, Italy and Iran are amongst the top exporters of apples in the world. Apples are used in many recipes made world over. The American Apple Pie is world famous and is a traditional dish made on special occasions. Apple can also be baked and eaten as a side dish with any kind of meat. Apple sauce made from blanched apples is an excellent accompaniment with pork. Dried apples also make a health snack.
Apples and Their Health Benefits
Apple is an extremely dexterous fruit, as it is not only delicious but is also healthy. In the day and age we live in today, fitness and health seem to be on every ones mind. Apples are sweet, do not have many calories, and also aid in weight management; making them an ideal fruit. They also possesses many health benefits, which may be enumerated as follows:
- Apples are a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps in slow release of sugars in the body. This helps in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. The fiber content also facilitates a smooth bowel movement making the digestive system of the body strong
- They are a rich source of a mineral called boron, which helps promote bone growth
- The large amounts of phytochemicals present in apples, makes them a good source of antioxidants in the body
- Research has shown that eating apples can reduce the risk of developing a number of cancers. Quercetin, a flavour found in the apples can prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. The skin of the apples have phytonutrients, which can inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells by 43%
- Consuming apples regularly also ensures a smooth functioning of the lungs, and reduces the risk of respiratory diseases
- Studies also suggest that apples aid in the lowering of blood cholesterol level, with the help of Pectin present in them
- Making apples a part of your daily diet, also helps in tackling aging problems, preventing wrinkles, and promoting hair growth.