AskDefine | Define apple

Dictionary Definition

apple

Noun

1 fruit with red or yellow or green skin and sweet to tart crisp whitish flesh
2 native Eurasian tree widely cultivated in many varieties for its firm rounded edible fruits [syn: orchard apple tree, Malus pumila]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

æppel < *apala- < *abl-, *ablu-. Cognate with Scots aipple, Dutch appel, German Apfel, Swedish äpple; and (from IE) with Irish úll, Lithuanian obuolys, Russian яблоко, Serbian јабука.

Pronunciation

  • , /ˈæpl̩/|/ˈæpəl/, 1=/"

Extensive Definition

The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The tree is small and deciduous, reaching 5–12 m tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. For many years, there was a debate about whether M. domestica evolved from chance hybridization among various wild species. Recent DNA analysis by Barrie Juniper, Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford University and others, has indicated, however, that the hybridization theory is probably false. Instead, it appears that a single species still growing in the Ili Valley, on the northern slopes of the Tien Shan mountains at the border of northwest China Other species that were previously thought to have made contributions to the genome of the domestic apples are Malus baccata and Malus sylvestris, but there is no hard evidence for this in older apple cultivars. These and other Malus species have been used in some recent breeding programmes to develop apples suitable for growing in climates unsuitable for M. domestica, mainly for increased cold tolerance.

History

see also Herefordshire Pomona The center of diversity of the genus Malus is the eastern Turkey, southwestern Russia region of Asia Minor. The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated, In the 1900s, irrigation projects in Washington state began and allowed the development of the multi-billion dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading species.

Cultural aspects

Germanic paganism

In Norse mythology, the goddess Iðunn is portrayed in the Prose Edda (written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson) as providing apples to the gods that give them eternal youthfulness. English scholar H. R. Ellis Davidson links apples to religious practices in Germanic paganism, which Norse paganism developed from. She points out that buckets of apples were found in the Oseberg ship burial site in Norway and that fruit and nuts (Iðunn having been described as being transformed into a nut in Skáldskaparmál) have been found in the early graves of the Germanic peoples in England and elsewhere on the continent of Europe which may have had a symbolic meaning, and that nuts are still a recognized symbol of fertility in Southwest England.
Davidson notes a connection between apples and the Vanir, a tribe of gods associated with fertility in Norse mythology, citing an instance of eleven "golden apples" being given to woo the beautiful Gerðr by Skírnir, who was acting as messenger for the major Vanir god Freyr in stanzas 19 and 20 of Skírnismál. In Skírnismál, Gerðr mentions her brother's slayer in stanza 16, which Davidson states has led to some suggestions that Gerðr may have been connected to Iðunn as they are similar in this way. Davidson also notes a further connection between fertility and apples in Norse mythology in chapter 2 of the Völsunga saga when the major goddess Frigg sends King Rerir an apple after he prays to Odin for a child, Frigg's messenger (in the guise of a crow) drops the apple in his lap as he sits atop a mound. Rerir's wife's consumption of the apple results in a six-year pregnancy and the caesarean section birth of their son - the hero Volsung.
Further, Davidson points out the "strange" phrase "apples of Hel" used in an 11th century poem by the skald Thorbiorn Brúnarson, she states this may imply that the apple was thought of by the skald as the food of the dead. Further, Davidson notes that the potentially Germanic goddess Nehalennia is sometimes depicted with apples and that parallels exist in early Irish stories. Davidson asserts that while cultivation of the apple in Northern Europe extends back to at least the time of the Roman Empire and came to Europe from the Near East, the native varieties of apple trees growing in Northern Europe are small and bitter. Davidson concludes that in the figure of Iðunn "we must have a dim reflection of an old symbol: that of the guardian goddess of the life-giving fruit of the other world."

Greek mythology

Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, other than berries but including nuts, as late as the 17th C. CE.;
The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In retaliation, she tossed a golden apple inscribed Καλλιστή (Kalliste, sometimes transliterated Kallisti, 'For the most beautiful one'), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the Trojan War.
Atalanta, also of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but Hippomenes (a.k.a. Melanion, a name possibly derived from melon the Greek word for both "apple" and fruit in general), As a result, in the story of Adam and Eve the apple became a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man into sin, and sin itself. In Latin, the words for "apple" and for "evil" are similar in the singular (malus—apple, malum—evil) and identical in the plural (mala). This may also have influenced the apple becoming interpreted as the biblical "forbidden fruit". The larynx in the human throat has been called Adam's apple because of a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit sticking in the throat of Adam. the word being used in various commentaries on Genesis.

Apple cultivars

See List of apple cultivars for a listing.
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. Different cultivars are available for temperate and subtropical climates. Reputedly the world's biggest collection of apple cultivars is housed at the National Fruit Collection in England.
Commercially popular apple cultivars are soft but crisp. Other desired qualities in modern commercial apple breeding are a colourful skin, absence of russeting, ease of shipping, lengthy storage ability, high yields, disease resistance, typical "Red Delicious" apple shape, long stem (to allow pesticides to penetrate the top of the fruit), and popular flavour. Modern apples are generally sweeter than older cultivars, as popular tastes in apples have varied over time. Most North Americans and Europeans favour sweet, subacid apples, but tart apples have a strong minority following. and especially India. but may have other problems which make them commercially unviable, such as low yield, liability to disease, or poor tolerance for storage or transport. A few old cultivars are still produced on a large scale, but many have been kept alive by home gardeners and farmers that sell directly to local markets. Many unusual and locally important cultivars with their own unique taste and appearance exist; apple conservation campaigns have sprung up around the world to preserve such local cultivars from extinction. In the United Kingdom old cultivars such as Cox's Orange Pippin and Egremont Russett are still commercially important even though by modern standards they are low yielding and disease prone.
Breeders can produce more rigid apples through crossing. For example, the Excelsior Experiment Station of the University of Minnesota has, since the 1930s, introduced a steady progression of important hardy apples that are widely grown, both commercially and by backyard orchardists, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its most important introductions have included 'Haralson' (which is the most widely cultivated apple in Minnesota), 'Wealthy', 'Honeygold', and 'Honeycrisp'.

Maturation and harvest

Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock. Some cultivars, if left unpruned, will grow very large, which allows them to bear much more fruit, but makes harvesting very difficult. Mature trees typically bear 40–200 kg of apples each year, though productivity can be close to zero in poor years. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. Dwarf trees will bear about 10–80 kg of fruit per year. For home storage, most varieties of apple can be stored for approximately two weeks, when kept at the coolest part of the refrigerator (i.e. below 5°C). Some types of apple, including the Granny Smith and Fuji, have an even longer shelf life. A trend in orchard management is the use of organic methods. These use a less aggressive and direct methods of conventional farming. Instead of spraying potent chemicals, often shown to be potentially dangerous and maleficent to the tree in the long run, organic methods include encouraging or discouraging certain cycles and pests. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/applepests To control a specific pest, organic growers might encourage the prosperity of its natural predator instead of outright killing it, and with it the natural biochemistry around the tree. Organic apples generally have the same or greater taste than conventionally grown apples, with reduced cosmetic appearances. The flowers will turn a creamy yellow colour and will not develop correctly. This can be treated in a manner not dissimilar from treating Botrytis; eliminating the conditions which caused the disease in the first place and burning the infected plants are among the recommended actions to take.
  • Apple scab: Symptoms of Scab are olive-green or brown blotches on the leaves.
Among the most serious disease problems are fireblight, a bacterial disease; and Gymnosporangium rust, and black spot, two fungal diseases.
In the United States, more than 60% of all the apples sold commercially are grown in Washington state. Imported apples from New Zealand and other more temperate areas are competing with US production and increasing each year.
Most of Australia's apple production is for domestic consumption. Imports from New Zealand have been disallowed under quarantine regulations for fire blight since 1921.

Human consumption

Apples can be canned, juiced, and optionally fermented to produce apple juice, cider, ciderkin, vinegar, and pectin. Distilled apple cider produces the spirits applejack and Calvados. Apple wine can also be made. They make a popular lunchbox fruit as well.
Sliced apples turn brown with exposure to air due to the conversion of natural phenolic substances into melanin upon exposure to oxygen. Organic production is difficult in Europe, though a few orchards have done so with commercial success, Like many fruits, apples contain Vitamin C as well as a host of other antioxidant compounds, which may reduce the risk of cancer by preventing DNA damage. The fiber content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They may also help with heart disease,
There is evidence that in vitro, apples possess phenolic compounds which may be cancer-protective and demonstrate antioxidant activity. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
The seeds are mildly poisonous, containing a small amount of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside; usually not enough to be dangerous to humans, but it can deter birds.

References

External links

apple in Arabic: تفاح
apple in Assamese: আপেল
apple in Asturian: Malus domestica
apple in Azerbaijani: Alma
apple in Min Nan: Phōng-kó
apple in Bosnian: Jabuka
apple in Bulgarian: Ябълка
apple in Catalan: Pomera
apple in Chuvash: Панулми
apple in Czech: Jabloň
apple in Welsh: Afal
apple in Danish: Æble (frugt)
apple in German: Kulturapfel
apple in Estonian: Õun
apple in Modern Greek (1453-): Μήλο
apple in Spanish: Manzana
apple in Esperanto: Pomo
apple in Basque: Sagar
apple in Persian: سیب
apple in French: Pomme
apple in Friulian: Miluçâr
apple in Galician: Maceira
apple in Korean: 사과
apple in Upper Sorbian: Jabłuko
apple in Croatian: Jabuka
apple in Indonesian: Apel
apple in Icelandic: Epli
apple in Italian: Malus domestica
apple in Hebrew: תפוח
apple in Javanese: Apel
apple in Kazakh: Алма
apple in Swahili (macrolanguage): Tofaa
apple in Haitian: Pòm
apple in Kurdish: Sêv
apple in Latin: Malum
apple in Latvian: Ābols
apple in Luxembourgish: Apel
apple in Hungarian: Alma
apple in Malagasy: Paoma
apple in Malayalam: ആപ്പിള്‍
apple in Malay (macrolanguage): Epal
apple in Dutch: Appel (vrucht)
apple in Dutch Low Saxon: Appel (vruch)
apple in Japanese: リンゴ
apple in Norwegian: Eple
apple in Norwegian Nynorsk: Eple
apple in Occitan (post 1500): Poma
apple in Polish: Jabłoń domowa
apple in Portuguese: Maçã
apple in Kölsch: Appel (för ze esse)
apple in Quechua: Mansana
apple in Russian: Яблоко
apple in Scots: Aiple
apple in Simple English: Apple
apple in Slovak: Jablko
apple in Slovenian: Jabolko
apple in Serbian: Јабука
apple in Finnish: Tarhaomenapuu
apple in Swedish: Äpple
apple in Tamil: ஆப்பிள்
apple in Thai: แอปเปิล
apple in Vietnamese: Táo tây
apple in Turkish: Elma
apple in Ukrainian: Яблуня
apple in Venetian: Malus domestica
apple in Walloon: Peme
apple in Yiddish: עפל
apple in Samogitian: Vuobelis
apple in Chinese: 苹果
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