Concerning Apples, Apple Juice, Apple Tea, Cider, Other Fruits Having Seeds And Pits
( Originally Published 1913 )
Some persons never go to bed without eating one or two apples, being of the opinion that they cause them to sleep better. I shall not here enter into the question as to whether this idea is well founded or not, although it is no doubt possible that by thus eating apples before retiring another hygienic result is achieved; the acids contained in the apples have a certain anti-septic influence upon the micro-organisms present in the buccalcavity and in the throat, and thus prevent inflammatory processes in the throat, to which persons who, have large tonsils are particularly subject. The acids which are sometimes present in very large quantities in apples—especially the sour varieties—render them rather injurious for the stomach, and persons who are subject to acidity of the stomach should never eat apples. The sweet and juicy varieties are preferable, and those which ripen early in the summer are more easily digested, since they contain less cellulose,—we see here the similarity existing between the fruits and vegetables, and even animals if we come pare the fiber with the connective tissue,—while the older fruits, especially the dried varieties, have a great deal of this fiber. The Tyrolese apples are very easily digested, especially the "Köstlichen" varieties, and in Meran "apple cures" may be taken in the late summer or early in the autumn. According to personal experience, it is possible to eat 5 or 6 or even more of the "Köstlichen" apples without experiencing the least difficulty. They almost melt in the mouth. Apples may exert an alkalinizing effect, owing to the organic acids contained in them, which are converted into carbonate compounds by the combustion process, and it has been observed by Garrod, Weiss, and others that they are very beneficial in gout. It is also said that in regions where many apples are eaten, and where cider is drunk, renal calculi rarely occur. This may be due to the infrequency of uric acid concretions.
Apples are also beneficial in diabetes. There is no other fruit which may be so unstintedly allowed for diabetics with the exception of the berry fruits. Cooked apples are to be preferred, since a portion of the sugar is lost in cooking. Even one or two raw apples per day can, however, be allowed for many diabetic patients. It is a mistake to think that any number of sour apples may also be permitted in diabetes; it should be remembered that the acid taste merely disguises the sugar, but does not remove it, just as when giving sour milk to diabetics one must consider that, together with the lactic acid, the sugar is still present in the milk. Sour apples are not to be recommended for weak stomachs, because they usually contain much cellulose. Juicy, soft apples are the best, especially those which can be somewhat mashed or squeezed in by the fingers; the credit of being the very best of all must be conceded to the Tyrolese variety already mentioned. Canadian apples, particularly those from the province of British Columbia, and also those from the State of Oregon in the United States, are very excellent juicy varieties, probably owing to climatic properties and those of the soil. Apples thrive best where the earth con-tains sugar-forming substances such as potash and phosphorus, and we must fertilize the soil with these substances if we wish to produce a fine quality of fruit.
Apples are more digestible when stewed. In England and in America it is customary to bake them, and "baked apples" in which the cores have been previously removed are very palatable and not hard to digest. When prepared as apple sauce they are most easily digested, but that made of very sour apples is not adapted for all stomachs. The juice of apples may also be used as a very agreeable sort of tea; according to Monteuis, this is made by cutting a large apple into 8 pieces, and pouring over it one-half liter of hot water; it is then left on the edge of the fire for about two hours. To improve the taste 2 or 3 slices of orange or lemon are added, with 5 or 6 pieces of domino or lump sugar. This is a very agreeable beverage for invalids, but healthy persons may also drink it instead of tea, as it tastes very good. It is to be served hot, and one obtains in this way, besides the juice, the full aroma of the apple, since the skin is left on. The juice of the apple is a very beneficial drink; we shall refer to the fruit juices later on, but will merely give here the average composition of apple juice in one liter of juice:
Sugar 126 grams.
To obtain the juice the apples are crushed in machines, and it is then extracted by pressure. From this juice cider is made, and when fermentation has taken place it becomes apple wine; as the latter contains 5 to 10 per cent. of alcohol, it has the same disadvantageous properties as alcoholic drinks in general. We recommend cider, as it has an excellent effect upon diuresis and defecation, and prevents the formation of uric acid concretions. Cider is a favorite drink among the Normans and Bretons, and the sparkling, though still unfermented, cider has a very agreeable taste; the same is not the case when the fermentation process has been completed, for like most fruit wines it does not taste as good as the wine made from grapes. The fruit wines have no advantage over the latter; in fact, the contrary is the case.
In certain parts of Austria, and in Germany in particular, cider is much liked. A beverage resembling it is made from pears, "cidre de poires" (pear cider), which after fermentation contains more alcohol than apple wine. Much sweeter ciders are made from pears than from apples, and this high sugar content causes the greater content of alcohol. Pear juice does not taste as good as apple juice; it contains 126 to 148 grams of sugar per liter, and less tannic acid in general than apple juice. In my country pear cider is not much used, but in Normandy and Brittany much of it is drunk, like the more agreeable apple cider. Pears often contain more juice than apples. The Salzburg pears are exceedingly juicy and have a delicious taste; the same is the case with the Kaiser pears and several other varieties. In general, however, pears are not easily digested, as they contain hard, gritty, and indigestible granules. Some varieties, when kept for a long time, get very soft,—almost like butter,—the amount of acids and cellulose being diminished by a fermentative action, and the grape-sugar is converted into the more agreeable fruit-sugar ; they are then rather more digestible. Most of the varieties of pears are rendered more digestible by cooking, and some, like the American canned pears, almost melt in the mouth. Although they have a most pleasant taste, the same objection applies to them as to preserved fruits in general. It is much the best to put up the fruit at home, cooking them in the Weck appliances. Fruits preserved in glass in their own juice with the addition of a little cane-sugar are the most healthful.
Apricots and peaches should only be eaten when perfectly ripe, in which. manner they are easily digested. Since very ripe and soft fruit does not cook well, hard fruit is usually taken for this purpose, and thus it frequently happens that soft, ripe fruit is more easily digested raw than fruit that is cooked. Among peaches the free-stone varieties are best digested; the cling stones are not to be recommended for weak stomachs. The finest and most juicy peaches are no doubt those grown in Hungary and in many parts of Austria; apples and pears thrive best in Bohemia, and large numbers of very fine apples are shipped from there into Germany.
In Hungary, Bosnia, and Servia, and also, the south o,f France, are produced many plums, which fruit plays so important a part as a remedy for constipation; dried plums, or prunes, in particular, possess this laxative property. For this purpose the large California plums as well as the Bordeaux plums are the best ; they must, however, first be soaked in water, and the skins should be removed before they are eaten, since they are hard to digest owing to the amount of raw fiber they contain.
Dried plums are most healthful when cooked, as the raw fiber is softened by the cooking, and is much more easily digested.
Fresh raw plums, prunes, and green gages are well digested when they are ripe and tender. Prunes contain considerable boric acid, and Windisch found 0.17 per cent. of this in the juice;-also a certain amount of salicylic acid, which, though present in some fruits,—to be discussed later on,—is not injurious to our bodies when taken in such minute quantities; indeed, it might rather serve some curative purpose. We consider plums and prunes, even 'when taken in large quantities, as more healthful than green gages; the former have a favorable action upon the bowels.