Apples

Apples

  • Mihai Ionescu

  • Clasa a 12-a B

  • Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân

Nicknamed the secret of longevity, the apple is the most widely cultivated and known fruit. Part of the Rosaceaae family, it has about 44-55 species and is the pomaceous fruit of the tree with the same name. Originating from Central Asia, the apples have been cultivated in both Europe and Asia for thousands of years and have been brought to North America by European colonists. Today, the apple is a fruit present in many cultures, being rich in nutritional attributes as much as symbolic values.

Apple types

  • Ananasrenette

  • Arkansas Black

  • Bonza

  • Braeburn

  • Bramley

  • Fuji

  • Gala

  • Golden Delicious

  • Goldrenette

  • Granny smith

  • Jonagold

  • Jonathan

  • Lobo

  • McIntosh

  • Pacific Rose

  • Pink Lady

  • Red Delicious

  • Yellow Transparen

Symbolically speaking, the apple is portrayed in many cultures with different meanings and interpretations. Here are some of the most well-known legends and representations of apples in mythology.

Symbolism

Christianity

In the Book of Genesis, even though not literally mentioned, the forbidden fruit of Eden has been conventionally accepted as an apple and symbolises the temptation to which Adam and Even were subjected, but also the knowledge they gained by eating it.

Greek Mythology

For the ancient Greeks, apples represented life (the Tree of Life from the Garden of the Hesparides) and also discord, as Eris (the goddess of discord) threw an apple inscribed “For the most beautiful one”, event which later resulted in the Trojan War.

Mitologia Nordică

Symbol of the eternal youth, in Norse mythology apples are given to gods by the goddess Iounn. The fruit is also present in other stories as a symbol of fertility and beauty.

The legend of Johnny Appleseed

The American folk hero, Johnny Appleseed is said to have been carrying a leather bag filled with apple seeds with him all the time from which he would plant apple trees wherever he went. The reality is not very different from the story, as the real Johnny, John Chapman was a friendly religious traveler who would carefully choose the perfect places for apple trees to be planted and would also be loved by all the people he encountered (or at least by most of them).

The apple shooting of Wilhem Tell

The Swiss hero and leader of rebels Wilhem Tell is most well-known for his escaping the death penalty by shooting an apple that had been placed on his son’s head. A common mistake caused mainly by Hollywood is that the challenge had been shot with a bow, but the legend stated that Tell’s weapon of choice was the crossbow.

Newton’s apple

A story with less mythological aspects is the one that is said to be the source of Issac Newton’s inspiration for the discovery of gravity. It is said that on a warm summer’s afternoon, Newton was resting under an apple tree’s shadow when an apple hit him in the top of his head. Fortunately, it wasn’t only the apple that hit him, but also the question of what was it that made it fall. The rest is history.

Chemical Composition

Regarding the chemical composition, the apple provides vitamin A(2%), C(8%, the strongest vitamin in apple), E(1%) and K(2%) and also Folates(1%), Niacin(1%), Pantothenic Acid(1%), Pyridoxine(3%), Riboflavin(2%) and also Thiamin(1%). The minerals existing in apples are Calcium (0.6%), Iron (1%), Magnesium (1&), Phosphrous (2%) and Zinc (<1%) and the electrolytes are Sodium (<1%) and Potassium (2%), the rest of 85.56% being water. Concerning the nutritional benefits of apples, as the old English saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". They help reduce tooth decay, avoiding Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, decrease the risk of diabetes and cancer and also lower the cholesterol levels, therefore making you healthier on many aspects. Apples are part of cuisine all around the world, being consumed raw, baked, stewed, dried, reconstituted or canned. They are an important ingredient in many desserts (apple crumble, apple pie, apple cake), being also the main constitute of the traditional British toffee apple which is an apple coated in melted toffee that is afterwards allowed to cool. Similar treats can be found in the US under the names of candy apples and caramel apples. Also, for the Jewish New Year, apples are eaten with honey as a symbol of a sweet new year. However, apples are not always used for eating in different traditional customs. A game popularised by the American holiday of spooky ghosts and zombies, Halloween, is the one where contestants are supposed to grab apples from a bowl filled with water and well, apples. The catch is that their hands are tied at their backs and they are only allowed to use teeth. Lastly, apples are most of the time considered one of the healthiest (if not the healthiest) products that must be part of our diet, with the advantage of being spread all around the world and present in most kitchens. Personally, I consider the apple to be a delicious fruit, but sometimes underrated by its commonplace. Of course, this project couldn't have been complete without personal experimentation with different species of apples (Jonathan being my favorite) and I happily recommend everybody to replace some of the unhealthy snacks they carry around with one or two apples.

Bibliography

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