Stories involving apples abound.
Some say it was the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge.
An apple purportedly fell on Sir Isaac Newton’s head, inspiring him to discover the properties of gravity.
And, did you know the apple is often associated with fertility, peace and love?
In one superstition, a girl cuts a long single apple peel and drops it to the floor. Whatever letter the peel looks like is said to be the initial of her future spouse.
There also is a story from ancient Roman times involving apple seeds. According to that tale, a person would toss apple seeds into a fire, while saying the name of his or her heart’s desire. If the seeds popped loudly, the love would be returned; if the seeds silently burned, it would not.
Apples also have been given as traditional gifts, and it is widely known that teachers receive apples from appreciative students.
Ever wonder how New York got its nickname as ‘The Big Apple?’ Well, it turns out that happened because big apples were given as prizes at New York horse racing events in the 1920s, or so the story goes.
The apple also is often used symbolically in logo designs and business branding, including for one of today’s largest technology companies.
You may already be familiar with some of these stories involving apples, but did you know that fruit has an entire month devoted to it? That’s October.
And, there’s a National Apple Day, too. That’s Oct. 21.
So, is the old adage true. Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
After all, that’s what it said in an 1866 Wales publication.
As in many things in life, it may not be entirely true, but it’s not altogether false, either.
Keeping the doctor at bay requires lots of healthy choices and a variety of foods. But, eating two to four servings of fruits and vegetables daily is recommended, and after all, an apple is a fruit.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to enjoy apples.
There are more than 7,000 varieties of the fruit, according to The Farmer’s Almanac.
They offer wide a variety of color, taste and texture — pleasing to many palettes.
Some apples are sweet; some, tart. Some are super juicy and others, not so much.
They can be eaten whole, dried, baked, sauced, and converted into juice or cider.
Here are some ways apples can improve your health:
- Eat the whole apple, including the peel, to add fiber to your diet, to help lower cholesterol.
- Carry one with you, they provide quick access to a healthy snack, reducing your hunger and helping you to avoid junk food.
- Use applesauce to replace fat, when baking cakes and muffins.
- They help with allergies. Research published by The National Institute of Health says quercetin, an antioxidant in apples, can prevent histamine release.
By Shari Bresin
Alisa Boderick, Pasco County Extension intern, contributed to this column.
Shari Bresin is the Family & Consumer Science agent for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Pasco County.
So, now that cooler weather is here, you may be baking more often.
Here’s an apple pie recipe that you might like to try.
2 cups non-rising flour
3 to 4 Tablespoons of cold orange juice
Pinch of salt
⅓ – ½ cup of solid Crisco shortening
About 3 to 4 Tablespoons of water (don’t want it runny, just so that the flour turns into a solid)
5 to 6 apples, Granny Smith works best
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
Small pat of butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of flour
Put the flour, orange juice, water, salt and shortening into a bowl.
Use a pastry blender to mix ingredients to create a dough, and avoid touching with hands.
Once mixed, split dough in half (one for bottom crust and one for top).
Put each dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll it out using a rolling pin, about the size of the pie pan.
Carefully remove wax paper and put bottom half in pie pan.
Peel and cut apples into small pieces (or slice if you prefer).
Marinade the cut apples, sugar, cinnamon, butter, salt, and flour in a bowl for as many minutes as you’d like. This is optional, but makes the pie juicier.
Place in bottom crust and then place top crust over it. Add a couple of small holes in the top crust so steam can escape.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Published October 28, 2020