Apples, native to Eurasia, are members of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family, relatives of peaches and pears, and are known botanically as (Malus species). Malus is the Greek term for “round fruit.” Apples were traditionally hung on Yule trees to symbolize the continuing fertility of the Earth.
Everyone has heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are very alkaline, cool, sweet and sour, and considered a yin tonic. They are high in pectin, a soluble fiber and thus help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, especially the harmful LDL (or lipo-density proteins). Apples help remove radiation from the body. They stabilize blood sugar levels, benefiting both hypoglycemia and diabetes. Apples reduce colon inflammation, improving both diarrhea and constipation. They improve arthritis pain, edema, gout, morning sickness, asthma, catarrh, hardening of the arteries, skin diseases, liver and gall bladder sluggishness, rheumatism, and weight loss. Eating apples stimulate saliva flow, promote good digestion, clean the teeth and stimulate gum tissue. Apples are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent, diuretic, tonic, and have some estrogenic activity. Apples help lubricate the lungs, cleanse the lymphs, neutralize the effects of smoking, curb alcoholism, and aid in preventing intestinal fermentation.
Apples are rich in flavonoids, beta-carotene and vitamins B and C and the minerals boron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and silicon. The tarter an apple is, the higher its Vitamin C content. Pectin is found close to the peel. Commercial apples, are often coated with wax, and better peeled. The Environmental Protection Agency allows over 110 pesticides to be used in apple growing including Captan, a carcinogenic fungicide of which over 10 million pounds are used in this country a year.
Apples taste best when they are in season and are best stored at 35 degrees F Avoid apples that yield to pressure, indicating they will be mealy.
Apples can be enjoyed in pies, tarts, sauces, cakes, and salads and juiced. Enjoy dried apples (untreated with the preservative sulfur dioxide) as a snack. For maximum health benefits eat apples in their fresh raw state!