The term "Apple" was applied by the ancients indiscriminately to almost every kind of round fleshy fruit, such as the thorn apple, the pineapple, and the love apple. Paris gave to Venus a golden apple; Atalanta lost her classic race by staying to pick up an apple; the fruit of the Hesperides, guarded by a sleepless dragon, were golden apples; and through the same fruit befell "man's first disobedience," bringing "death into the
world and all our woe" (concerning which the old Hebrew myth runs that the apple of Eden, as the first fermentable fruit known to mankind, was the beginner of intoxicating drinks, which led to the knowledge of good and evil).
Nothing need be said here about the Apple as an esculent; we have only to deal with
this eminently English, and most serviceable fruit in its curative and remedial aspects. Chemically, the Apple is composed of vegetable fiber, albumen, sugar, gum, chlorophyll, malic acid, gallic acid, lime, and much water. Furthermore, German analysts say that the Apple contains a larger percentage of phosphorus than any other fruit or vegetable. This phosphorus is specially adapted for renewing the essential nervous "lethicin" of the
brain and spinal cord. Old Scandinavian traditions represent the Apple as the food of the gods, who, when they felt themselves growing feeble and infirm, resorted to this fruit for renewing their powers of mind and body. Also the acids of the Apple are of signal use for men of sedentary habits, whose livers are sluggish of action; they help to eliminate from the body noxious matters, which, if retained, would make the brain heavy and dull,
or produce jaundice, or skin eruptions, or other allied troubles. Some experience of this sort has led to the custom of our taking Apple sauce with roast pork, roast goose, and similar rich dishes. The malic acid of ripe Apples, raw or cooked, will neutralize the chalky matter engendered in gouty subjects, particularly from an excess of meat eating. A good, ripe, raw Apple is one of the easiest of vegetable substances for the stomach
to deal with, the whole process of its digestion being completed in eighty-five minutes. Furthermore, a certain aromatic principle is possessed by the Apple, on which its peculiar flavor depends, this being a fragrant essential oil--the valerianate of amyl--in a small but appreciable quantity. It can be made artificially by the chemist, and used for imparting the flavor of apples to sweetmeats and confectionery. Gerard found that "the pulp
of roasted Apples, mixed in a wine quart of faire water, and labored together until it comes to be as Apples and ale which we call lambs wool (Celtic, 'the day of Apple fruit') never faileth in certain diseases of the raines, which myself hath often proved, and gained thereby both crowns and credit." Also, "The paring of an Apple cut somewhat thick, and the inside whereof is laid to hot, burning or running eyes at night when the party goes
to bed, and is tied or bound to the same, doth help the trouble very speedily, and, contrary to expectation, an excellent secret." A poultice made of rotten Apples is commonly used in Lincolnshire for the cure of weak, or rheumatic eyes. Likewise in the Hotel des Invalides, at Paris, an Apple poultice is employed for inflamed eyes, the apple being roasted, and its pulp applied over the eyes without any intervening substance To
obviate constipation two or three Apples taken at night, whether baked or raw, are admirably efficient. It was said long ago: "They do easily and speedily pass through the belly, therefore they do mollify the belly," and for this reason a modern maxim teaches that:
"To eat an Apple going to bed
Will make the doctor beg his bread."
There was concocted in Gerard's day an ointment with the pulpe of Apples, and swine's grease, and rosewater, which was used to beautify the face, and to take away the roughness of the skin, and which was called in the shops "pomatum," from the apples, "poma," whereof it was prepared. As varieties of the Apple, mention is made in documents of the twelfth century, of the pearmain, and the costard, from the latter of which has come the word
costermonger, as at first a dealer in this fruit, and now applied to our costermonger. Caracioli, an Italian writer, declared that the only ripe fruit he met with in Britain was a baked apple. The juices of Apples are matured and lose their rawness by keeping the fruit a certain time. These juices, together with those of the pear, the peach, the plum, and other such fruits, if taken without adding cane sugar, diminish acidity in the
stomach rather than provoke it: they become converted chemically into alkaline carbonates, which correct sour fermentation. It is said in Devonshire that apples shrump up if picked when the moon is on the wane. From the bark of the stem and root of the apple, pear and plum trees, a glycoside is to be obtained in small crystals, which possesses the peculiar property of producing artificial diabetes in animals to whom it is given.
The juice of a sour Apple, if rubbed on warts first pared away to the quick, will serve to cure them. The wild "Scrab," or Crab Apple, armed with thorns, grows in our fields and hedgerows, furnishing verjuice, which is rich in tannin, and a most useful application for old sprains. In the United States of America an infusion of apple tree bark is given with benefit during intermittent, remittent, and bilious fevers. We likewise prescribe
Apple water as a grateful cooling drink for feverish patients. Francatelli directs that it should be made thus: "Slice up thinly three or four Apples without peeling them, and boil them in a very clean saucepan, with a quart of water and a little sugar until the slices of apple become soft; the apple water must then be strained through a piece of muslin, or clean rag, into a jug, and drank when cold." If desired, a small piece of the yellow
rind of a lemon may be added, just enough to give it a flavor.
About the year 1562 a certain rector of St. Ives, in Cornwall, the Rev. Mr. Attwell, practiced physic with milk and Apples so successfully in many diseases, and so spread his reputation, that numerous sufferers came to him from all the neighboring counties. In Germany ripe Apples are applied to warts for removing them, by reason of the earthy salts, particularly the magnesia, of the fruit. It is a fact, though not generally known, that
magnesia, as occurring in ordinary Epsom salts, will cure obstinate warts, and the disposition thereto. Just a few grains, from three to six, not enough to produce any sensible medicinal effect, taken once a day for three or four weeks, will surely dispel a crop of warts. Old cheese ameliorates Apples if eaten when crude, probably by reason of the volatile alkali, or ammonia of the cheese neutralizing the acids of the Apple. Many persons
make a practice of eating cheese with Apple pie. The "core" of an Apple is so named from the French word, coeur, "heart."
The juice of the cultivated Apple made by fermentation into cider, which means literally "strong drink," was pronounced by John Evelyn, in his Pomona, 1729, to be "in a word the most wholesome drink in Europe, as specially sovereign against the scorbute, the stone, spleen, and what not." This beverage contains alcohol (on the average a little over five per cent.), gum, sugar, mineral matters, and several acids, among which the malic
predominates. As an habitual drink, if sweet, it is apt to provoke acid fermentation with a gouty subject, and to develop rheumatism. Nevertheless, Dr. Nash, of Worcester, attributed to cider great virtues in leading to longevity; and a Herefordshire vicar bears witness to its superlative merits thus:
"All the Gallic wines are not so boon
As hearty cider;--that strong son of wood
In fullest tides refines and purges blood;
Becomes a known Bethesda, whence arise
Full certain cures for spit tall maladies:
Death slowly can the citadel invade;
A draught of this bedulls his scythe, and spade."
Medical testimony goes to show that in countries where cider not of the sweet sort is the common beverage, stone, or calculus, is unknown; and a series of enquiries among the doctors of Normandy, a great Apple country, where cider is the principal, if not the sole drink, brought to light the fact that not a single case had been met with there in forty years. Cider Apples were introduced by the Normans; and the beverage began to be brewed in
1284. The Hereford orchards were first planted "tempore" Charles I.
A chance case of stone in the bladder if admitted into a Devonshire or a Herefordshire Hospital, is regarded by the surgeons there as a sort of professional curiosity, probably imported from a distance. So that it may be fairly surmised that the habitual use of natural unsweetened cider keeps held in solution materials which are otherwise liable to be separated in a solid form by the kidneys.
Pippins are apples which have been raised from pips; a codling is an apple which requires to be "coddled," stewed, or lightly boiled, being yet sour and unfit for eating whilst raw. The John Apple, or Apple John, ripens on St. John's Day, December 27th. It keeps sound for two years, but becomes very shrunken. Sir John Falstaff says (Henry IV., iii. 3) "Withered like an old Apple John." The squab pie, famous in Cornwall, contains
apples and onions allied with mutton.
"Of wheaten walls erect your paste:
Let the round mass extend its breast;
Next slice your apples picked so fresh;
Let the fat sheep supply its flesh:
Then add an onion's pungent juice--
A sprinkling--be not too profuse!
Well mixt, these nice ingredients--sure!
May gratify an epicure."
In America, "Apple Slump" is a pie consisting of apples, molasses, and bread crumbs baked in a tin pan. This is known to New Englanders as "Pan Dowdy." An agreeable bread was at one time made by an ingenious Frenchman which consisted of one third of apples boiled, and two-thirds of wheaten flour.
It was through the falling of an apple in the garden of Mrs. Conduitt at Woolthorpe, near Grantham, Sir Isaac Newton was led to discover the great law of gravitation which regulates the whole universe. Again, it was an apple the patriot William Tell shot from the head of his own bright boy with one arrow, whilst reserving a second for the heart of a tyrant. Dr. Prior says the word Apple took its origin from the Sanskrit, Ap, "water,"
and Phal,--"fruit," meaning "water fruit," or "juice fruit"; and with this the Latin name Pomum from Poto, "to drink"--precisely agrees; if which be so, our apple must have come originally from the East long ages back.
The term "Apple-pie order" is derived from the French phrase, ?lis, "in plaits," folded in regular plaits; or, perhaps, from cap ?ied, "armed from head to foot," in perfect order. Likewise the "Apple-pie bed" is so called from the French ?plis, or it may be from the Apple turnover of Devon and Cornwall, as made with the paste turned over on itself.
The botanical name of an apple tree is Pyrus Malus, of which schoolboys are wont to make ingenious uses by playing on the latter word. Malo, I had rather be; Malo, in an Apple tree; Malo, than a wicked man; Malo, in adversity. Or, again, Mea mater mala est sus, which bears the easy translation, "My mother is a wicked old sow"; but the intentional reading of which signifies "Run, mother! the sow is eating the apples." The term "Adam's
Apple," which is applied to the most prominent part of a person's throat in front is based on the superstition that a piece of the forbidden fruit stuck in Adam's throat, and caused this lump to remain.
The Primitive Simplers presented here show the way of life in other generations, it is not suggested or recommended trying them yourself.