The apple (Malus sylvestris) is a sub-acid fruit and one of the
most valuable of all the fruits. It is a fleshy fruit, with tough skin,
ranging in color from greenish yellow to red. It is usually five to
seven cm in diameter and has pinkish or yellowish white flesh. The apple
is considered 'protective' and most wholesome food.
Apart from it energy value, it plays an
important role in the normal development of metabolic functions i.e.
the chemical and physical changes that take place within the body and
enable its continued growth and functioning.
The apple is a native of Eastern Europe and
Western Asia and has been cultivated from pre-historic times. It has
being mentioned in the annals of old China, Babylon and Egypt. The Bible
also contains several references to this fruit. The Scandinavians called
it the "Foods of Gods" and believed that it possessed medicinal
properties to regenerate both mind and body. In India, apples are grown
in the hilly areas of Kashmir, Kulu and Kumaon. Nearly 7,500 varieties
of the fruit are grown all over the world.
The apple is a highly nutritive food. It
contains minerals and vitamins in abundance. The food value of the apple
is chiefly constituted by its contents of sugar which ranges from 9 to
51 percent. Of this, fruit sugar constitutes 60 percent and glucose 25
percent and cane sugar only 15 percent.
Raw apples generally contain a small
quantity of starch which gets wholly converted into sugar during the
process of ripening. The acid content of the apple is also increased
together with the sugar. This acid is constituted mostly by malic acid
which is completed utilized by the body.
The skin of the apple should not be
discarded when taking it in raw form as the skin and the flesh just
below it contain more vitamin C than the inner flesh. The vitamin
content decreases gradually towards the center of the fruit. The skin
also contains five times more vitamin A than the flesh.