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One of the most delicious of fruits, the apple is available almost all over the world, and almost throughout the year. They have earned a reputation for being nutritious, and you are sure to have heard the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Apples have a round shape with a depression at the top where the stem is attached. Some apples are almost perfectly round, while others are more rounded at the top and narrower at the bottom. Apple fruits are firm and the skin is shiny and smooth. Apples come in all shades of red, green and sometimes yellow too. The flesh is white or ivory. Some varieties of apple and crisp and juicy while others are soft and sweet.
One thing you need to be aware of when buying and consuming apples is that they are usually exported all around the world, and are likely to be coated with wax before packaging. So, before consuming, lightly scrub apples in cool water to remove the light wax coating, dirt and any leftover insecticides.
First core the apple and cut it into segments or strips. Then, line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's specifications regarding the size of the cubes (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes"). Generally apples are cubed without removing the skin, but if the recipe requires peeled apple cubes, peel the apple and then cut into cubes of desired size.
Apple skins swirls
Apple swirls can be made by carefully moving a sharp thin knife on the inner side of the skin, with a twisting or whirling motion to make spiral shaped pieces. The swirls can be used to garnish desserts, apple pie or any fruit dish.
To get Apple sticks, wash and clean the apple and using a sharp knife, cut vertically into half. Place one half on a chopping board and remove the seeds and core of the apple. Make vertical cuts using a sharp knife and cut into thick long sticks of 1/2" to 1" thickness. Cut more sticks from remaining apple halve. Use as required. To prevent the apple sticks from turning brown, place them in salted water till used.
Select a sharp chef's knife. If required by the recipe, peel the apple, else start with the unpeeled fruit. Chop the apple into half and scoop out the seeds from the centre. Place the apple on a chopping board. Hold your knife comfortably, with your forefinger running down one side of the blade and your thumb pressed against the opposite side, and chop the apple into thick segments. Apple wedges are wonderful to garnish any cake or any dessert.
Start with a peeled or unpeeled apple, as desired. Take a sharp knife and slice the apple from the top to remove the stem. Then cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and remove the seeds from centre. Chop the segments into small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter. If the recipe calls for the apple to be "roughly chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
Apple corer is used to extract the core from the apple without cutting the apple into sections and then individually cutting out each part of the core. This tool has a circular cutting edge that is forced down into the apple, allowing the apple to remain whole so it can then be easily sliced into sections for eating it out of hand or baking it whole with the outer skin intact.
Use a grater to grate the apple thinly or thickly as required by the recipe. Thinly grated apples can be added to beverage, while thickly grated ones can go into salads.
How to Select
Scoop out the top and bottom stems of the apple using a lemon baller. Peel the apple, if you would like. Then, cut the apple in half. Slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the cutting board. Slice the apple thinly or thickly as per the recipe requirement. Sliced apples are often used to garnish apple pies, apple crumble or stewed apples.
• Look for well coloured apples that are firm, with a fresh (not musty) fragrance.
• Skins should be smooth, with no bruises.Culinary Uses
• Apples are a favourite fruit, the world over. They are enjoyed as it, or added to salads, baked dishes, juices, other beverages and a variety of cooked foods too.
• Once cut, apples will discolour if left open to the air. To avoid discoloration, dip in an ascorbic juice (such as pineapple or lemon), sprinkle cut surfaces with lemon juice or cover with a cling film and keep refrigerated till use.
• Apples can be baked in an oven and served with custard or put into an apple pie or apple crumble.
• Bake an apple till soft, remove the core, and stuff with other fruits, brown sugar, raisins, or cinnamon, to make a delectable dessert.
• Apples are a natural way to sweeten cooked cereals, such as oatmeal, and they make wonderful desserts when baked in pies, cakes, muffins, and cobblers.
• Dried apple slices keep well and make a fine snack.
• Apple juice, milkshake, ice cream and jam are a favourite with most kids.
• Apple sauce can be made by cooking apples with sugar and water, and adding other ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon juice or zest, and apple cider, to enhance the flavour. How to Store
• Store apples in a plastic bag in a cool and dark place of your refrigerator. Cold, humid storage ensures that apples maintain their crispness, juicy texture and full flavour.
• Cut apples turn brown quickly, especially when chopped finely or grated. Sprinkle a little lemon juice on the surface to prevent this. Health Benefits
• "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is enough to talk to about the fruit!
• Don't peel your apple. Two-thirds of the fibre and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel. However, remember to wash your apple well to remove any remnant pesticides or wax, before consuming.
• The antioxidants in apple help to reduce damage to cells, and hence prevent many diseases.
• Apples are beneficial in the treatment of both constipation (raw apples) and diarrhoea (cooked/stewed apples).
• Apples are also good for diabetics as the soluble fibre assists in regulating blood sugar, preventing a sudden increase or drop in serum sugar levels.
• Apples are of special value to heart patients, as they are rich in potassium and phosphorous but low in sodium. The fruit is also effective against high blood pressure because of its diuretic effect.
• Apples also have a mouth-cleansing property, and offer a tasty way to bright, shiny teeth!
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