The apple has been the centerpiece of many a cliche, such as “the big apple,” “apple of my eye,” “as American as apple pie,” and of course “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” One most certainly would not refer to New York as “the big peach,” nor would you call your wife “the grapefruit of my eye” (assuming you still wanted her to be your wife). Forget saying “as American as blueberry pie,” and don’t even consider the equally laughable “a banana a day keeps the doctor away.” Instead, all these adages are all about the apple. So one can’t help but wonder why on earth, it’s the apple that’s so ingrained in our culture in these sayings. Interestingly both history and science tell us why.
You’ve probably noticed as you stroll down the aisles of Fairway Market that as the seasons change, so does some of the produce that is sold. That’s because certain fruits and vegetables thrive better in warmer temperatures and others in cooler temperatures. Aiming to provide the freshest food possible is the reason behind this rotation of seasonal foods, and is a way that the freshest choices are made available. A great example of this is the apple.
The consumption of apples dates back to the Stone Age civilizations from the areas we know as Austria and Switzerland. In ancient Greece, if a stranger tossed a young lady an apple as she passed by, it was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it was an acceptance!
Science also offers some captivating facts supporting this penchant toward favoring the apple. These wonderfully delicious and relatively low-calorie fruits are jam-packed with rich phytonutrients crucial for optimal health. A medium-sized fresh apple provides only 50 calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Rich in dietary fiber, the apple is heart healthy. Dietary fiber also protects the colon. Other positive effects include supporting a healthy immune system.
You may have noticed two types of apples that have reappeared in the produce section at Fairway: Gala and Fuji apples. Gala apples are a superb dessert apple that is excellent for fresh eating as well as baking. Among the benefits mentioned above they also are a good source of Vitamin C. The Japanese apple known as Fuji has been one of the most popular apples in America for years, since its introduction into the United States in the 1980’s. They are excellent for fresh eating and for mixing in fruit salads, as well as being great for making in pies. The Fuji apple is a late-season apple typically harvested in late September. This apple, like the Gala, is an excellent source of Vitamin C, as well as all of the other good stuff you read earlier.
For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Gala and Fuji apples are a great way to celebrate the New Year. During Rosh Hashanah, it is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey, to symbolize hopes for a “sweet” New Year. The apple is dipped in honey, the blessing for eating tree fruit is recited, the apple is tasted, and then the apples and honey prayer is recited.
What are your favorite apples? If you’re celebrating Rosh Hashanah, what kind of apple will you be dipping in honey?