Apples have existed on earth since time immemorial. The Bible says that Eve convinced Adam to disobey God tempting him with an apple. As a result, they were expelled from Paradise and the rest is history.
Initially, apples grew wild. They were cultivated and grafted to create new varieties. Apples are grown throughout Europe. The first apple to reach the Americas came with the English colonists and the Spanish conquistadors.
The word Manzana comes from the Latin Mattiana which means apple. It is known by the same name in all Spanish-speaking countries.
There are about 1,000 varieties of apples. Among the best known are the Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Macintosh and go from super tart, to super sweet depending on the variety. The size of an apple depends on the variety too, and the smallest are the size of a plum. They can be softer or crisper or juicier. Apples go very well with strong cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Camembert, Roquefort and Brie, among others. They also combine well with cinnamon and raisins. And if you’re going to prepare cakes or compotes choose sour apples.
How to choose apples
Always choose firm, smooth, shiny skin apples which don’t show bruises and have a sweet fragrance.
Ripe apples keep in good condition up to a week at room temperature. The best way to conserve them is to make compotes and save them in the refrigerator. Raw apples cannot be frozen. You can only freeze them if they are cooked.
Apples oxidize very fast. To prevent oxidation sprinkle them with lemon water immediately after cutting or dip them in ice water and lemon juice; this method will keep them crisp and white a lot longer.
If you are going to prepare stuffed apples, use a core remover to extract the core. You can also use a peering knife to remove the heart. If you are going to bake them, cover them with butter or oil so the skin remains smooth. Don’t forget to poke them with a fork so they do not explode in the oven.
Did you know that…
Apples are the most consumed fruit on the planet. More than 40 million tons are cultivated annually. The United States and France are among the biggest producers and consumers of apples.