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Advice about and experience of growing apples. 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. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5-12 cm long and 3-6 cm broad on a 2-5 cm petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Flowers are produced in spring simultaneous with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white, five petaled, 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, white with a pink tinge that gradually fades. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5-9 cm diameter (rarely up to 15 cm). The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds. An old proverb attests to the health benefits of the fruit: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.[1] 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 fibre 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, weight loss and controlling cholesterol, as they do not have any cholesterol, have fibre (which reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption), and are bulky for their caloric content like most fruits and vegetables.

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      19.08.2010 15:35
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      Apples, apples and apples

      I love growing my own fruits, herbs and vegetables and nothing is more satisfying to me then cooking my own freshly grown produce. We have had a slow growing apple tree in my garden for about six / seven years now and over the years we had some great apple off the tree but only a few. This year however it's had the most apples I've ever known! This has prompted the idea for this review. Its like the more I keep picking the more they keep growing, I'm unsure of the name of the apple tree as my dad purchased it from a farm with no tags. Last year the apples were green and this year they are red and red with green. I think they are cooking apples due to there slightly bitter taste. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples which I find amazing as I've only probably tried round 6 types! Apples are a very versatile fruit with a great range of ideas in which they can be used. All of which most people will be probably know eating fresh apples, making fruits juices, or alcoholic beverages, stewed or baked for desserts, jelly, table decoration the list goes on! An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Fact or Fiction? Well apples do contain a nutritional sustains for our bodies eating apples can reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of stroke, some types of cancers, improve your bowel function and help against type two diabetes and asthma this due to the phytonutrients and fibre found in apples. Apples and even apple juice (pure apple juice) contains the mineral boron which helps in promoting bone growth, also a food that will keep you feeling fuller for longer as its high fibre which gives a slow release of sugars which will help maintain a healthy steady blood sugar level. As with most things there is always a down side, as healthy as apples seem to be they can also contain up to four teaspoons of sugar. Combined with the naturally high acidity of the fruit with the sugar can destroy a tooth's hard tissue so again this boils down to everything in moderation! Or using a good mouthwash after eating fruits or fruit juices to wash away sugars that are left behind on your teeth. What to do with apples? Well one thing is to eat them as they are, or cook with them obviously you will need to use the right type of apples when cooking otherwise it will turn to mush. An old time favourite with my family is an apple pie. (I don't like apple pie however, but the rest of the family do!) Apple Pie: This is serve 6 to 8 people. Ingredients 500 g pack shortcrust pastry (or you can make your own, I was being lazy) Plain flour (for dusting) 700 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced 50g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling, or you can use icing sugar once cooled) 50g brown sugar 25g butter 1 egg (beaten) 1tbsp of vanilla extract 1tbsp of water Steps: 1. Clean and prep your work area then preheat your oven to 190C. Roll out two thirds of your pastry on a floured work surface or board and use to line a 23cm pie dish. 2. Tip the prepared apple slices into a saucepan with the sugars, water and vanilla, then stir gently to mix together until the apples soften slightly. Pile the mixture into the pastry-lined dish, dot with a little butter and leave to cool. 3. Once the filling has cooled, roll out the remaining pastry and place it on top. Seal the edges well, then make a small hole in the top for steam to escape. If you wish you can make decorations from any pastry trimmings and seal them with a little water. 4. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Then all there is to do is serve once cooled or when still a little warm. Vanilla ice cream is nice to serve with or homemade custard. Another one I like to bake is an apple fool cake and of course the classic apple crumble! Drinks: If you have a juicer and your able to make your own apple juice I would hope that you would give it a try as I know apple juice is cheap to buy but once you make your own you'll never go back. Also it's great for making cocktails. Juice some apples add some vodka and ice cubes this makes a great refreshing drink which went down well at my last BBQ. You could also add a dash of cranberry juice to the mix! If you do like your drinks they maybe an apple martini? All you need is some vodka, apple sour and apple juice and away you go! Or if you are a non drinker, fresh apple juice ice cubes and fizzy water is a perfect. Plus a dash of lemon also gives it a nice bite. Allergy Advice: As apples are grown from trees starting from flowers pollen can still be left on the apples which in some people can cause an allergic reaction. However if you cook with the apples the heat destroys the pollen and will not cause a reaction. Another allergy to apples is more severe and will have the same reaction with a lot of other fruits cooked or not. Overall: Apples are a great fruit with so many uses and come in many different shade and verities which appeal to children also, which makes trying to feed some of them fruit and vegetables easier if they like the look of them. Apples do have great health benefits however in moderation, they are relatively cheap to buy and easy to grow if you have the room. Five out five stars from me! Thanks for reading :o)

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        19.05.2009 10:32
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        A delicous apple with great character: great with protein meals

        I have always loved apples. They look beautiful when growing on trees. They are very satisfying to pick or to gather. Fresh ones have a a wonderful zingy smell. They last for quite a long time. They complement other foods well. I particularly love Granny Smiths. I know that these are not native English apples, but they can be grown in this country, and I spent some of my early working days on a farm going up trees to pick these. It's hard then not to eat a few. I think the employers know that there's natural limit to how many you will scoff in a day, so they didn't patrol to make sure that you didn't have any - still, I suppose that was a bit naughty! However, this kept me keen on Granny Smiths, and they are what I always buy if I can. The colour of a good Granny Smith should be a bright mid-green. They can be slightly spotty with a sort of woody effect in places, but you don't wnat much of that. Don't get them too big, as the flavour can be less concentrated. Four ounces is a good weight for a Granny Smith, but you will have to select your own when buying. Before eating your apple, you can wash it, but I think that takes away something from the flavour, and prefer to polish it on my sleeve until it shines. The texture should be firm and crunchy, and the inside, crisp, white and juicy. The taste should be keen and sharp. It's up to you whether you cut your apple up. I think you get a different taste if you do. It could be that the pieces begin to oxidise as soon as the air gets to them, and so a cut apple strats to get a tiny bit cidery, but it probably can't really happnen that fast. Never eat the core. Assuming you don't attempt to eat the stalk, the pips really don't taste very nice, and I have heard that they can lead to nasty diseases. Not worth the risk. Apples are brilliant with or after meat or cheese, as the acid in them helps your digestion. Of course, an apple can be part of your "five-a day" strategy as well. It's a brilliantly portable food, that can be eaten at any time of day, and for what cost? Somewhere arond 20p for a lovely Granny!

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          20.01.2008 13:53
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          Learn why apples are good for you!

          Did Eve give Adam an apple in paradise? The bible doesn't mention one, only the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In the 5th century AD people began to become interested in the kind of fruit she gave him, considering the flora and geographical conditions of Asia Minor where the Garden of Eden was supposed to be they thought it could have been a fig, a grape or a citron, monks in Northern Italy, however, were convinced that the fruit was an apple. The reason for this may have been a wordplay, the Latin word 'malus' means 'apple' and 'evil' and the saying was coined "ex malo malum" - evil comes from the apple. Convincing as it sounds apples don't grow in Asia Minor, not even evil ones, it's too warm there. Botanists assume that apple trees originated in the area between the Caspian and the Black Sea, they grow best in temperate countries with a cool climate and plenty of rain during the winter. Central Europe and North America are the main regions for the production of apples, but they're now also grown in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America - in the months when we've got winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Internationally, apples are the most widely cultivated tree fruit, several hundred varieties for eating, cooking and cider making are grown; charred remains of apples found in prehistoric dwellings prove that humankind has been eating apples for at least 750,000 years and they are deeply embedded in our folklore, remember Snow White? Let's have a look at what makes this fruit so outstanding and what one can do besides just biting into it. Many people are content with just biting into a fresh apple provided it doesn't come from an orchard where pesticides are used, it's a crunchy, refreshing and healthy snack. Depending on the kind of apple you've got the taste varies between honey sweet and spicy tart. They're high in fibre, vitamin C and potassium, low in sodium and almost fat free. The ancients who coined the phrase 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' only observed what good eating apples did, thanks to modern scientific methods we now know precisely what good it does. I've learnt from my research on the net that the soluble and the insoluble fibres can decrease the cholesterol level, reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries, heart disease and stroke, they help to keep blood sugar levels stable. They are cancer-protective since they relieve constipation and send potentially toxic substances out with the stools, they help to prevent menopausal bone loss, are associated with increased lung function and weight loss. The good news: the more apples you eat, the more they protect your health. I buy my apples at the local open air fruit and vegetable market which is held twice a week, I live in a part of Germany which is famous for its many fruit trees, some time ago a village exhibited all kinds of apples growing in their area which were more than 60! I always buy from a farmer who doesn't use pesticides (the orchards are checked regularly), so the apples don't have to be peeled. The farmers offer their apples also in winter. How do they keep them so fresh and crunchy? The big apple production companies in South Tyrol, Italy, for example, from where German supermarkets get most of their apples, do it with controlled atmosphere storage, which means that the oxygen level is decreased and additional nitrogen is introduced into the refrigerated storage, this way apples can be stored from one season to the next and hold their quality. The small scale farmers here just store them in a cool cellar. At home one should keep them in the fridge, I don't do that, I don't enjoy biting into a cold apple. I just buy the amount we eat in a week and then go and get fresh ones. Every now and then I also buy some torrefied apple rings, plain or covered with chocolate, yummy. We buy apple juice made of local apples in a supermarket , from my research on the subject I've learnt that I should drink only the cloudy and not the clear variety as it contains more valuable stuff, I'll think of this the next time I go shopping. Cider is also made in our region, but I'm not a great fan of this drink, too acid for my liking. We have several apple trees in our garden, they're very old and very high, the house is more than 100 years old, the trees don't look much younger, not even with a ladder can we reach the apples, so we have to wait until they fall down. I make apple puree from the windfall (or wormfall!). I cut the apples into chunks and boil them in only so much water that they don't stick to the bottom of the pot until they're soft which they are after some minutes, then I press them through a special sieve. You can also use a mixer, of course. I add some sugar and cinnamon, it's meant to be eaten cold but has mostly disappeared before it has become so. MALU's apple cake: 100g butter or margarine 80g sugar 2 eggs 200g flour 3 spoons of milk a pinch of salt Mix with a handmixer and put the dough in a cake pan. Then peel some apples, three may be enough, cut them into thin slices and lay them in rings round the cake pan starting at the outside, if you like, strew some raisins or pieces of almond kernel over the apples, then bake at middle heat for about 35-40 minutes. Good with whipped cream! Friedrich Schiller, a German poet, playwright, philosopher and historian (1759 - 1805) had rotten apples in the drawer of his desk, the smell inspired him. I haven't tried this out, why don't you?, maybe it's a way to turn you into a literary genius. I look forward to the spring season, how nice are apple trees in full bloom! The genus Malus belongs to the family Rosaceae, i.e., roses. Don't be too surprised, think of rose hips, don't they look like little apples? Malu is going to stop now, she's having another Malus.

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            16.09.2007 16:40
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            Apples are good for you

            MEDICINAL PROPERTIES An apple a day keeps the doctor away - an old saying which this week has been announced to be true. Apples are one way of obtaining your five-a-day and have numerous health benefits, some of which have been included in the introduction to the review category. It has long been the case that apple sauce accompanies rich food such as pork. This is because the apple helps aid digestion. Apples help prevent constipation and are good for the teeth, as they supposedly help prevent gum disease. TREES Now is the time of year when apple trees in gardens and orchards will be laden with fruit. Also, if you are planning on planting an apple tree this is the time of year to do so. Before buying your tree decide what variety of apples you want - will you be using the apples for eating or cooking? Do you have a favourite variety? The best thing to do is to read about the different kinds of apple trees, then go along to a reputable nursery or garden centre and make your choice. It used to be that you needed two apple trees for them to be fruit bearing, but now there are self pollinating varieties. You can also obtain miniature apple trees which are idela for small gardens. Be careful when selecting your tree that you know how big it is going to grow. Will it be suitable for your garden or will it grow too big? CROPS In early spring the apple blossom will appear on the trees, a sure sign that summer is just around the corner. Once the blossom fades the fruit begins to set and you can then watch the apples forming. From around the middle of September the apples should be ready to pick, depending on both the weather and on the variety. As this year has been very wet in the summer months, the fruit has developed well and many trees have an abundance of fruit. If it is windy there will be a lot of windfalls, apples which have fallen off the tree. The windfalls can be gathered up and used in cooking if they are slightly bruised. Apples are ready to pick when you can hold the fruit in the palm of your hand and gently twist the stalk. If the apple breaks off easily, it is ripe. There is something therapeutic about picking apples from your own tree and it is also good to know that your crop has not been sprayed with pesticides. USES There are so many recipes you can use for apples, from apple pie to apple crumble, or baked apples stuffed with dates and cooked in the oven, stewed apples. All these make delicious desserts served with custard, cream or ice cream. Or you can use the apples to flavour meat dishes, add a few slices of apples to pork chops and gently simmer in the oven. Of course you can simple eat the apple raw, perfect for a snack or to take with a packed lunch. And a Yorkshire delicacy is to eat apple pie with a chunk of cheese! Apples are used in jams and chutneys also. When peeled, apples soon discolour so it is best to eat them as soon as possible. The peel itself is full of nutrients and if you plant the pips you can even grow another apple tree! Many an urban garden has an apple tree grown from a discarded apple core. STORAGE Apples should be stored in a cool place, preferably wrapped individually so as to prevent them bruising each other and to prevent rot spreading. Lay them in layers in boxes or baskets, with a layer of paper (tissue paper is best) between each layer. Check regularly for signs of rot. Years ago apples at the greengrocers were wrapped individually in tissue paper and placed in sturdy wooden boxes. Even now, the fruit is often separated by modern packaging materials, and the sturdy cardboard boxes that apples are packed in are great for using as home storage or for preparing for house removal. APPLE LOGS If you have an apple tree in the garden and also have an open fire, then do save some of the branches after pruning. The smell of apple logs is delightful when burnt on an open fire, especially at Christmas time. CIDER A review on apples would not be complete with a mention of that potent drink - apple cider! Or scrumpy as it is often known. A delicious lunch on a sunny autumn day, a glass of cool cider, bread and cheese and an apple to finish off with!

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              23.01.2005 20:36
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              Did you know that the apples you buy in supermarkets may be several years old? They're almost certainly older than a year. One local supermarket advertised 'French Apples, New Harvest' in February. I asked the fresh fruit department manager where in France apples were harvested at this time of the year. He told me, in all seriousness, that he considered apples that had newly come out of cold storage 'new harvest'. <blink> I tried to explain to him that apples grow on trees, not in cold storage units, but he did not understand what I was getting at. A bit more questioning, and I found out that the 'new harvest' apples in question were at least 18 months old. I reported this to the local Trading Standards office. They forced the supermarket to stop promoting the apples as 'new harvest.' This should have been a cause for joy; however, I learnt that it is acceptable for apples up to one year old to be marketed as 'new harvest'. It's only if they're older than that that Trading Standards draw a line. Sorry for this introduction, but I just had to take the opportunity to air an opinion about something I've been fuming about for some time. Cold storage preserves apples in an acceptable state, but even so, they gradually lose their vitamins, flavour and fragrance. Just bite into an apple fresh from the tree, and compare it with a supermarket-grown one, and you'll taste and smell the difference. I'm in favour of keeping apples in cold storage so that we can eat them when they are not in season, but to store them for longer than that is, in my opinion, gross abuse. The solution: grow your own! You may think that apple growing is a slow complicated business that requires a lot of time and knowledge, and a large garden or orchard, and that you have to wait years for fruit. Nope. Even if you have only the tiniest of balconies, you can grow apples. Plant your trees (note the plural - everyone needs two! stick with me and you'll find out why) by spring, and you can pick your own delicious apples in September. This is what you do: 1. Buy two young trees. 2. Dig two holes. 3. Put trees in holes. 4. Eat apples when ripe. As simple as that. Here are a few additional tips. WHEN AND WHERE TO BUY APPLE TREES The best time to buy and plant young trees is between November and March. You can buy them from - specialist tree nurseries, which have the biggest selection. - your local garden centre, where they are likely to be expensive. - on Ebay, which works out cheaply if you buy several items from one seller, which I have done with good results. - from specialist nurseries, which can be very cheap if you buy them in bulk (10 or more of the same kind). - from Woolworths (in spring only). Woolworths guarantee to give you your money back if the trees fail to thrive. Expect to pay between £5 and £25 for a young tree which will fruit within a year. Personally, I've bought all my apple trees for under £15 each, including postage. WHICH TREE TO CHOOSE There are hundreds of different apple trees to choose from. The choice can be bewildering, and the novice can be forgiven for opting for a cultivar that sounds familiar, such as 'Cox' or 'Bramley'. However - why buy the same varieties that we can get cheaply at the supermarket? I'm in favour of something different. It's worth mentioning that the criteria for commercially grown apples are: - size - uniformity of shape - all ripe at the same time - storage ability (remember - years in cold storage) I don't know about you, but I don't care much about the size of apples and even less about 'uniformity of shape). I don't intend to store my apples - I prefer picking them fresh and eating them right away - and I prefer it if they don't have to be harvested all on the same day. For me, the criteria are things like flavour, fragrance and texture - neither of which features among the commercial growers' criteria. I also like trees that don't need much pruning and are not susceptible to diseases, and for which I don't need a ladder. Did you know that all apple trees available for sale have been cut in half and reassembled, with the upper part (graft) of one tree stuck on the lower part (rootstock) of a different one? This is an accepted practice and has been carried out for hundreds of years, so don't be alarmed. It ensures that you get the best of two varieties: the vigorous growth and convenient height of one variety, and the delicious fruit of another. Let's look at the 'rootstock' first. When you read the label of trees at the nursery, you could be forgiven for thinking you're reading motorway driving instructions, with references to M25, M27 and such. For a garden, I recommend M9, M26 or MM106, or anything that's described as 'dwarfing' or 'semi-dwarfing', so that you don't need a ladder to pick your apples. Now the graft: Here are a few recommendations. Egremont Russet - small fruit, sweet nutty flavour, crisp flesh, rough skin, frost tolerant. Epicure - Very frost-tolerant, easy to grow, small juicy fruit. Supermarkets won't stock it because it doesn't store well, lol! Fiesta - really nice pronounced nutty flavour, produces lots of apples year after year. Jonagold - the son from a marriage between Jonathan and Golden Delicious. It's quite vigorous and produces lots of apples, which have more flavour than the Golden Delicious. Jupiter - Produces lots of apples which taste similar to Cox. Redsleeves - Crisp, juicy apples, needs little pruning and is quite disease-resistant. N.b it is green, not red. Sunset - Small apples which taste a bit like cox and are suitable for storage (keep them in a cool larder for up to four months) . Very frost-hardy and disease resistent. WHY YOU NEED TWO TREES You can grow a single tree, but if you want apples, you need two trees, because they pollinate each other. However busy your bees are, just one isn't enough. Just as it takes two humans to make a baby. Except that some apple trees need a threesome. Jupiter, for example, is such a bigamist. To make matters easer (or more complicated, depending on how you look at the situation), plant growers have succeeded in raising self-fertile apple trees (which don't need a partner), but even those are said to do better if another apple tree is nearby. The two apple trees don't have to be of the same variety, but they have to flower at the same time. Of the ones listed above, Sunset, Epicure, Redsleeves, Jupiter and Fiesta conveniently flower at the same time, so if you have space or money for only two trees, you can pick a pair from this selection. Egremont Russet flowers earlier and Jonagold too later. n.b. it is worth finding out what apple varieties your neighbour is growing. The pollination partners don't have to share a garden, as long as they live within convenient travelling distance for bees. A friend had an old Bramley apple tree in the garden, one that had not fruited for over a decade. He concluded that the tree was obviously 'past it', and decided to chop it down. First, however, he planted a replacement tree. As soon as that tree had reached reasonable height, the old one would have to die. Guess what? As soon as the young tree arrived, the old one produced an abundance of fruit, for the first time in over a decade. My friend thought the old tree was either jealous over the new arrival, or else had gotten wind of its forthcoming execution! But the simple explanation is that the old tree still had it in him; all he wanted was a partner. :-D FAMILY TREES Surprisingly, 'family tree' doesn't describe a monogamous pollinator ;-) but a tree that bears several types of apples. It's like being offered a bowl of mixed fruit. Growers have achieved this 'miracle' by grafting branches from five or more different varieties on a single rootstock. Good idea? Personally, I think they're just a marketing gimmick. They don't actually produce many fruit. If a tree offers only five fruit a year there doesn't seem much point in them being different. Besides, 'family trees' are prone to diseases, heartache, depression and suicide. PLANTING Soak the roots in lukewarm water for an hour or so, then put a strong stake into the hole, then put the tree in (spreading the roots out a bit); heap the soil back into the hole, stamp soil down firmly, tie treetrunk to stake, finished. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GARDEN, OR NO SPACE IN IT Growers have succeeded in creating apple trees of just two metres height or less which can be grown in pots. They are usually referred to as 'pillars', 'columns', 'minarettes' or 'patio trees'. Because they have almost no branches, they look like short broomsticks hung with red Christmas baubles, and they take up hardly any space. Even in your already over-populated garden, you'll find a space for two of them. They will also fit on your patio or even your balcony, or next to your house entrance. I've recently bought several on Ebay, from the sellers GardeningExpress and JaneLaneNursery. Both are reputable suppliers with a good stock of healthy plants, from whom I've bought before. I hope I have tempted some of you to grow your own apples this year!

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                29.03.2003 16:35
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                Two years ago I was given two apple trees for my garden, I was very happy about this because if you visit your local garden centre to buy one you'll probably have to pay anything from 10 pounds to 15 pounds, for a tree which may only produce a few apples on it's first year. The types of trees I have are Worcester Pearmain and Cox's, these are well known varieties which produce a good crop. The Cox's should be planted with other apple trees as they are not self fertile, so they need another tree for the bee's to do their job. During the summer months the apple trees blossom, which is a really nice sight in my garden and attracts the bees. The blossom goes and you can see the little apples growing on the tree. I feed the soil around the base of the trees with a nitrogen fertilizer to get a good crop. If you buy a tree from a garden centre, make sure you position it in a sunny place in your garden, make sure the hole the tree is going in is deep enough to stand the roots in without squashing them. Loosen the soil in the hole and add fertilizer or horse manure and plenty of water before putting in your tree, this will make sure your tree gets a good start. Stand the apple tree in the hole and gently fill with soil, press down the earth tightly so that the tree doesn't tilt and then fill the soil back in. Your tree should now be in an upright position, water well again and leave it. you can now enjoy the apple blossom and fruit when it grows. It is a good idea to find out the size the tree will grow to, as some trees will be no good for a small garden. There are types of apple trees which have been especially bred to grow straight up and bear fruit on the stems of the tree, these are ideal for the smaller garden and can be bought from the garden centre. Once your tree has fruited and it's time to pick your apples, a farmer once told me the fruit is ready when the apples begin to come away from t heir stem. Pick your apples by twisting them gently from the stem, wrap them in newspaper and store in a cardboard box, separating each layer with newspaer. You will now be able to eat or cook with your own apples. Good luck.

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                  16.03.2003 02:45
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                  Many of you who were Dooyooing last year will have read my ops on various fruits. I grow many varieties of fruit organically, as we have 2 allotments just at the back of our garden, and to date we have 5 different varieties of apple bushes (trees grafted onto dwarf root stock to produce smaller plants than great orchard apple trees.) As well as giving advice and stuff about how to grow apples etc, I thought I would add a bit more detail to this op, so sit back and take a tour round the life and history of apples. DIARY OF AN APPLE TREE SPRING The year can be thought of as a cycle. We will start the year in the orchard with Spring, the season of rebirth. When Spring arrives it seems as though dozens of tasks need to be done at once to get ready for the growing season. Pruning which has been going on all winter needs to be finished. We depend upon bees to carry pollen from one flower to the next so that apples will develop. With most varieties pollen must come from a different variety in order to get a good fruit set. If you plant a seed from a McIntosh apple, it will not produce a McIntosh tree because the pollen that fertilized the flower was probably not from a McIntosh flower. . In addition to an adequate number of bees, good pollination weather is necessary to have a good fruit set. The honeybee is particular, and does not like to fly if the temperature is below 60 degrees or if it is very windy. Cold, rainy, or windy weather has kept many a good bloom from living up to its potential to produce a good crop. Each bud opens to reveal a flower cluster of five blossoms. There is one large central blossom called the king, with four somewhat smaller ones around it. The king will make a larger apple than the other blossoms. Apples should be spaced every four or five inches along a branch. It is more desirable to have the strength of the tree go into growing a moderate amount of large apples than a large amount of small apples . A bushel of large apples may be worth twice what a bushel of small apples is worth, so that it matters a lot that too good a fruit set not be allowed to remain. Thinning is the solution. The difficult part of this process is the decision concerning how much to thin. There will be a natural drop of immature apples around June time anyway, so if you thin too much, you could end up with hardly any crop at all. We tend to pick out the very smallest apples around the end of May (it coincides with half term holidays from school!) and then let nature do the rest! SUMMER A summer prune can be useful if the branches have become close together. This lets in the light, which in turn, sets the colour on apple skins to a certain extent. In late July and August some varieties of apples ripen and are ready to harvest. The early varieties are often very tasty but are not good long-term keepers so they are picked to be eaten almost at once. AUTUMN (Harvest time) This starts in late August or early September. The earliest picked apples can be picked slightly unripened, and stored in a cool, dark place to slow down the ripening process, and give you apples which will still be more than edible 3 months after picking. Those picked later will be riper, and therefore will not have as long a “shelf life”. After harvesting the fruit, there is still work to be done. Tree limbs broken by too heavy a fruit load need to be sawn off. Excess grass at the base of trees needs to be removed to prevent too much cover for rodents. Some of these creatures will gnaw the bark from the bottoms of trees, and by removing any grass cover, you remove their hiding places. Old wood will need to be pruned out, and any branches growing where you don’t want them to grow can be removed. WINTER The major job done in the winter and early spring is pruning. Major cuts are made when the trees are dormant. Ever y tree should be pruned every year. Trees are pruned to renew fruiting wood, to let light into as much of the tree as possible, to encourage moderate vigour, and to maintain the tree at a convenient height and shape. We also tie insect strips around the trunks of our trees in winter to discourage the larvae of various insects from climbing the limbs when they hatch in spring. VARIETIES There are numerous varieties of apple plants which can be grown in this country, so I will limit this to the ones I actually grow. 1) Gala. It is heart-shaped with distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. Gala is just the right size for snacking and is great in salads, good for baking and very good in applesauce. Our tree produces an abundance of relatively small fruits. Unlike many desert apples, Galas will mush down quite nicely if stewed, so I tend to freeze quite a lot of mine. 2) Cox’s Orange Pippin. The fruit is of medium size or above medium, red and yellow. When highly coloured it is attractive, with the red predominant. The tree is a moderate grower and productive. It is well adapted for growing on dwarf stock. It is a desirable variety for the home orchard. This is my favourite flavoured apple, so I made sure we had one of these when we bought our stock! It is a late fruit, and can be harvested well into November. 3) Gloucester. This is a red skinned, white-fleshed apple, quite firm in texture. It has a slightly elongated shape, and the apples are quite tart in flavour. It is a medium term apple, being ripe in late September, early October. 4) Jonagold. This is a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, offering a unique tangy-sweet flavour with firm flesh. Jonagold is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking. 5) Bramley. The ultimate in cooking apples. Large, round, green hard apples, excellent for stewing, baking, in fact anywhere a cooked apple is needed. S o far we h ave only picked 3 of this sort, as we only planted the tree 2 seasons ago! HISTORY AND LEGENDS CONNECTED WITH APPLES The Apple is a fruit of the temperate zones and only reaches perfection in their cooler regions. It is a fruit of long descent and in the Swiss lake dwellings, small apples have been found, completely charred but still showing the seed-valves and the grain of the flesh. It exists in its wild state in most countries of Europe and also in the region of the Caucasus: in Norway, it is found in the lowlands as far north as Drontheim. Apples of some sort were abundant before the Norman Conquest and were probably introduced into Britain by the Romans. Twenty-two varieties were mentioned by Pliny: there are now about 2,000 kinds cultivated. In the Old Saxon manuscripts there are numerous mentions of apples and cider. Cider Apples may be considered as a step in development from the Wild Apple to the Dessert Apple. Formerly every farmhouse made its cider. The apples every autumn were tipped in heaps on the straw-strewn floor of the pound house, a building of cob, covered with thatch, in which stood the pounder and the press and vats and all hands were busy for days preparing the golden beverage. This was the yearly process - still carried out on many farms of the west of England, though cider-making is becoming more and more a product of the factories. In Shakespeare's time, apples when served at dessert were usually accompanied by caraway, as we may read in Henry IV, where Shallow invites Falstaff to 'a pippin and a dish of caraway,' In a still earlier Booke of Nurture, it is directed 'After mete pepyns, caraway in comfyts.' The custom of serving roast apples with a little saucerful of Carraways is still kept up at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at some of the old-fashioned London Livery dinners, just as in Shakespeare's days. The chief dietetic value of apples lies i n the malic and tartaric acids. These acids are of signal benefit to persons of sedentary habits, who are liable to liver derangements, and they neutralize the acid products of gout and indigestion. 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' is a respectable old rhyme that has some reason in it. The acids of the Apple not only make the fruit itself digestible, but even make it helpful in digesting other foods. Popular instinct long ago led to the association of apple sauce with such rich foods as pork and goose, and the old English fancy for eating apple pie with cheese, an obsolete taste, nowadays, is another example of instinctive inclination, which science has approved The sugar of a sweet apple, like most fruit sugars, is practically a predigested food, and is soon ready to pass into the blood to provide energy and warmth for the body. A ripe raw apple is one of the easiest vegetable substances for the stomach to deal with, the whole process of its digestion being completed in eighty-five minutes. It is stated on medical authority that in countries where unsweetened cider is used as a common beverage, stone or calculus is unknown, and a series of inquiries made of doctors in Normandy, where cider is the principal drink, brought to light the fact that not a single case of stone had been met with during forty years. Ripe, juicy apples eaten at bedtime every night will cure some of the worst forms of constipation. Sour apples are the best for this purpose. Some cases of sleeplessness have been cured in this manner. People much inclined to biliousness will find this practice very valuable. In some cases stewed apples will agree perfectly well, while raw ones prove disagreeable. There is a very old saying: 'To eat an apple going to bed Will make the doctor beg his bread.' The Apple will also act as an excellent dentifrice, being a food that is not only cleansing to the teeth on account of i ts juices, but just hard enough to mechanically push back the gums so that the borders are cleared of deposits. ADAM'S APPLE is a variety of the Lime (Citrus limetta). Superstition relates that a piece of the forbidden apple stuck in Adam's throat, and his descendants ever after had the lump in the front of the neck which is so named. APPLE FACTS ·7500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. ·Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. ·A medium apple is about 80 calories. ·The science of apple growing is called pomology. ·Apples were the favourite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans. ·Apples are a member of the rose family. ·25 percent of an apple's volume is air. That is why they float. ·Apples have 5 seeds. There are five seed pockets, each with a seed, in an apple. ·It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider. ·Archaeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since lat least 6500 B.C. ·It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple. ·Charred apples have been found in prehistoric dwellings in Switzerland. ·The largest apple picked weighed three pounds. RECIPES I’m not going to do recipes like apple pie and crumble. We all know how to do those (nip down the local supermarket of course! Instead, I have picked out a few more unusual recipes, including drinks. 1) The Frosty Apple Ingredients. 1 pint vanilla ice cream 1 quart naturally sweet apple cider 4-6 scoops vanilla ice cream (optional) Freshly ground nutmeg Method: Let a pint of vanilla ice cream soften at room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds. Put ice cream and cider into a blender or food processor and blend until frothy and well mixed. Stir in nutmeg. Pour into tall glasses and top with a scoop of ice cream, if desired. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. Yield 6 one-cup servings. 2) Apple Pancakes with Sp icy Yogurt and Cider Syrup Ingredients 6 cups apple cider 1 cup plain yoghurt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 6 tablespoons chunky applesauce 2 cup wholewheat pancake mix 2 cup skim milk 2 egg, slightly beaten (or 1 whole egg plus one egg white) 6 tablespoons applesauce Canola oil Extra cinnamon for Garnish Method Start by making the syrup; pour the cider in a pot that is large enough to be no more than half filled. Place the pan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, very slow boil, and cook for about 30 minutes. Cook until the cider is reduced to one cup. Set aside. (Syrup can be made in advance. Keeps for about one week in the refrigerator. Warm or bring to room temperature before serving.) Next, in a small bowl, combine yoghurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 6 tablespoons applesauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve. In a large bowl, combine milk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons applesauce. Stir in pancake mix. Mix well enough to moisten, do not over mix. If the batter is too thick add a little water. Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. When skillet is hot, lightly grease. Add batter, making medium pancakes, about 1/2 cup batter per pancake. Cook until tiny bubbles form on top, peek under the edge, turn when pancake is golden brown and continue to cook. Place on a platter and keep pancakes and 4 serving plates warm in a heated oven. To serve; fan (slightly overlap) 5 pancakes on a warm plate. Drizzle Cider Syrup over the pancakes (about 1/2 cup) and top with a dollop of spiced Yoghurt, garnish with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon. Yield 4 servings. 3) Apple Chicken Salad Ingredients 1/2 cup fat-free yoghurt 1/4 cup orange juice 1/2 cup apple jelly, melted 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 3 cups coo ked chicken, diced 2 cups finely sliced celery 3 apples, unpeeled and diced 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans Method In a large bowl, mix yoghurt, orange juice, melted apple jelly and lemon juice. Add chicken, celery and apples. Toss gently to coat all pieces. Season with salt and chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle with pecans and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce. Yield 8 3/4 cup servings. IN CONCLUSION There is obviously a lot more to apples than simply a healthy addition to junior’s lunchbox! I hope I have given you some insight into the world of apples. Contrary to popular opinion, the apple was NOT the fruit, which Eve picked from the tree in the Garden of Eden. In the Bible it is simply referred to as “the forbidden fruit”. In this day and age, with refrigeration and transportation, apples are certainly not forbidden at any time of the year. Long live the apple!

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