Folklore is full of stories about
apples. From Adam and Eve to William Tell - apples are the fruit of
temptation and love; New York City is called the Big Apple; the
world's greatest computers bear the name "Apple". Dieters can eat
them all day - and of course they keep the doctor away!
They are the most important of our fruits, and there
are thousands of varieties of apples, divided into two broad
categories - eating apples and cooking apples.
Belonging to the rose family, (Malus
commnis) the apple is the most widely cultivated tree of the rose
family. It has a beautiful blossom, the petals being white on the
outer surface and pink in the centre. Although the apple tree is
resistant to drought and extreme temperatures, for its best growth
it prefers a humid, temperate climate.
The apple has been grown since the
Stone Age, and has evolved from the wild crab-apple tree.
Cultivation of apple trees probably started earlier than the 12th
century BC when they were recorded growing along the fertile Nile
In Greece and the Roman world, by the 4th century AD,
as many as 37 varieties were being grown.
At the beginning of the 17th century the apple was
imported into North America, South Africa and Australia. Grown all
over the world, the apple industry has grown significantly in
countries like Australia and the United States, whose apples are
exported to Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.
Because of its versatility, the apple
is one of the most common fruits world-wide. The cooking varieties
are used in many different ways from desserts to sauces and savoury
dishes. They are excellent eaten raw and make a refreshing drink.
Apples are also distilled into an alcoholic cider and in Normandy,a
brandy called Calvados.
Apples are one of the best sources of vitamin E and
have a good amount of biotin and folic acid (B vitamins), vitamin A
and C and minerals. These vitamins and minerals improve stamina of
muscles and nerves and protect against colds and infections. Most
of the nutrients are in the skin or just under the surface.
Search our recipe database
Bianchini, F; Corbetta, F; et al.
The Complete Book of Fruits and Vegetables
[English Translation] (New York: Crown, 1976)
Jonas, S. The Fruit Cookbook
(Sydney: Reed, 1985)