According to multiple scientific studies, the old adage “An apple day keeps the doctor away” is actually true! This proverb was first mentioned in a 1866 publication and nearly 150 years later, it has become a well-known phrase throughout the world. So how does a common apple help a person maintain optimum health?
Apples are the pomaceous fruits of the apple tree which is actually a member of the rose family and originates in Western Asia. Bees play an important role in apple production as cross-pollination is necessary to develop fruit. In a previous blog entry, we discussed the importance of bee survival and agriculture which you can read more about here.
There are over 7,000 known cultivars of apples grown throughout the world. Although they have differences, the health benefits remain the same. Averaging at about 80 calories per fruit, apples contain no sodium, fat, or cholesterol and are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Their high fiber content helps maintain digestive health and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Apples also act as toothbrushes, cleaning teeth killing bacteria resulting in healthier teeth. Other benefits include a reduced risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and many types of cancer.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the nutritional benefits of apples remains stable for as long as 200 days post-harvest?
Apples are one of the most versatile fruits and can be baked, stewed, juiced or dried for a variety of delicious recipes. Here at Nature’s Garden Express, we have 18 different apple cultivars available through our box program. Some include the more commonly known varieties like Granny Smith, Red Delicious, or Gala, but we are most excited by all of the different Heirlooms:
Heirloom Black Oxford
From Oxford County, Maine. A handsome apple from the early 1800’s, it was the regional favorite for eating, cooking and making cider. This variety keeps so well that it is sometimes referred to as “the rock.”
Heirloom Calville Blanc D’Hiver
A French apple dating to 1598 with a champagne-like flavor and a wonderful texture when cooked. Of all the French apples, this one is considered the best to cook with because of its flavor and texture.
Heirloom Cox’s Orange Pippin
The most popular of English apples, it has been awarded the highest honors by the Royal Horticultural Society. It was originally grown from seed (hence the name Pippin) in 1825 by Richard Cox, an amateur horticulturist. Its tart, citrus flavor is exquisitely tempered by a sweet pear flavor. It is excellent for eating and cooking.
Heirloom Ananas Reinette
This small yellow skinned apple was grown in France and Belgium in the 1850’s. It has a zesty, pineapple, citrus flavor and flesh that has a fine grain, crisp texture. Used mostly for eating out of hand, but is also a fine cooking apple and makes a robust juice or cider.
Heirloom Esopus Spitzenburg
Despite Thomas Jefferson’s inability to grow this in his orchard at Monticello, it is said to be one of his favorite apples. It is considered one of the best, highly flavored eating apples in America. It originally came from New York in the 1700’s.
This is the oldest apple still being grown today, originally from France, these apples date back to the 1500’s. Because it was a small and flavorful apple, it was popular during the Renaissance, when ladies would keep one tucked away in their bosom and taken out to freshen their breath. Also known as the Christmas Apple, it was used for decorations.
Heirloom Reine de Reinette
A French apple from the 1700’s which has a high sugar content that’s balanced with acidity. It’s a juicy apple, good for eating out of hand or with a knife. It is also good for cooking and in Normandy it is considered the best apple for making hard cider.
Heirloom Roxbury Russet
This is the oldest American apple variety, originating in the Township of Roxbury, Massachusetts (now apart of Boston). Some folks say the flavor is similar to guava and the texture like a coconut. It has a very high sugar content, though you may not notice it due to the other complex flavors.
Heirloom Maiden’s Blush
Maiden Blush is one of the oldest American apples. Coxe wrote in 1817 that Maiden’s Blush was popular in the Philadelphia markets of his day. Beautiful apple of pale thin skinned, lemon-yellow color with crimson blush. Flesh is white, sprightly, crisp and tender with a sharp, acid flavor that mellows when fully ripe. Maiden Blush is an excellent grower, comes into bearing young. Dependable producer, long harvest period, and displays resistance to fireblight.
Heirloom Blue Pearmain
Blue Pearmain is an old New England favorite dating back to the 1700’s. No one knows where it originated, but ancient trees can still be found in the most rural areas of New England, including central and southern Maine. It is one of those apples with a string of “synonyms” or maybe they’re anagrams: Blue Pearamell, Blue Pearamay, Blue Pomade, Maine Blue Pear, and even, “Painbear Bluemain.” It is thought to be the parent of the New Hampshire variety, Nodhead, and the Maine variety, Rolfe.
Heirloom Orleans Reinette
Orleans Reinette apples have been called the best flavored apple ever, by Edward Bunyard, England’s foremost pomologist at the beginning of the 20th century. Yellowish-green skin, orange russet and a red blush, the flavor of this flattened apple is similar to sweet oranges with a nutty finish.
Heirloom Ashmead’s Kernel
With a yellow and green speckled skin with brown patches or “russeting”, the Ashmeads Kernel dates back to the 17th century. With a crisp bite, it tastes of pear, spice, and nuts.
We are also offering the following varieties for sale on our website: Cameo, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, and Macintosh apples. To shop our entire selection, please click here.
Looking for apple recipes? Check us out on Pinterest. Please share your favorite recipes and cultivars in the comments below. Don’t forget to enjoy a crisp apple today!