Apples are harvested from late September through the winter months and tend to be readily available no matter where you live. They can be purchased by the bushel and stashed in any cold and humid area of your home.
Enjoy them in a myriad of ways - fresh, baked, sautéed, turned into sauces, butter and ciders, or stuffed into other yummy foods.
They have a multitude of uses:
Place them next to other fruit to speed up their ripening process.
Cut a slice and store in a bag with baked goods such as muffins and bread to keep them moist longer.
Add to a lump of hardened brown sugar for softening.
Add a couple of peels to soup for a few minutes to help sop up any excess salt.
Ideal for crafts from apple heads to candle holders.
“Eat an apple on going to bed
and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
– aphorism first published in 1866
In 2013, the British Medical Journal published a study comparing cardiovascular mortality rates on individuals taking statin medications and those eating a daily apple.
“We find that [the] 150-year-old proverb
is able to match modern medicine
and is likely to have fewer side effects.”
- BHF Health Promotion Research Group
Research is not just limited to cardiovascular disease. Studies in the prevention of chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers are ongoing. This is because apple trees produce phytocompounds to help fight the hardships such as disease and ultraviolet radiation. This translates into creating apples with built in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants which then may help protect our organs and tissues when we consume the fruit.
The apple is a symbol for immortality, so I am not at all surprised of its exalted health benefits. The 'apple of eternity' can be plucked from mythological trees across the globe. The goddess Idun from Scandinavia guarded apples for the sole purpose of keeping the gods youthful until the end of time. The Greek Hesperides were maidens who tended the garden while guarding the tree bearing golden apples, said to offer endless life. The Earth goddess Gaia presented them as a gift to Hera upon her marriage to Zeus. For the Celts, the apple tree symbolized the World Tree, the axis of the Universe. They considered the apple magical, a fruit of prophecy and perpetuity.
Yet the apple is most known as the fruit Eve gave to Adam from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. It is therefore more than simply a piece of fruit, but a potent symbol of wisdom. If you cut the apple across its ‘equator’, you will see a five-pointed star or pentagram. The earliest representations of the pentagram appear scratched on the walls of caves, likely in reverence to the stars. I could write and entire article on the pentagram alone but suffice it to say, it is deeply symbolic and omnipresent. It is incorporated into the cultures and beliefs from Christian mysticism, to Druidry, alchemy, the Kabbalah and every culture in between.
However, like most symbols, there is a paradox. In Latin, apple is malum, which means ‘evil’. Where it cured all ills in the Tales of the Arabian Nights, it was also the offering by the witch that poisoned Snow White as she fell into the sleep of the oblivion. In the case of Adam and Eve, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. By eating the apple, flesh combined with the spirit, awakening new possibilities, yet falling out of favour and cast out of paradise.