Have you ever found yourself flummoxed by the question, “How do you like them apples?” Would it trigger an existential crisis as you realise, in a rising panic, “Actually, now that you mention it, I don’t know. Why have I never thought about it? What do I think about them apples?” If so, then you are in the right place. This month, How To Eat – the Guardian blog that analyses the best way to enjoy Britain’s favourite food stuffs – is considering the apple, a fruit so powerful that it occasioned man’s Biblical fall from grace, is central to America’s mythic self-image and, of course, connects the Wurzels, William Burroughs and Mr Kipling. Below the line, please get to the core of your argument quickly. Prevarication will give your fellow contributors the pip. As will any unnecessary aggression. “It makes you look,” as my Granny Smith used to say, “like a bit of a Cox.”
To wash … or not?
Apparently, apples are among the top three fruits when it comes to retaining pesticides (yay, go apples!), which probably – hey, if you came here looking for hard science, then you are reading the wrong blog, friend – means you should give them a rinse. I give any apple I eat a quick rub on my T-shirt … if I remember. This is probably shaving minutes off my life, but isn’t everything?
There is no reason why anyone over the age of five should want an apple peeled and, even then, you should not pander to the little darlings. In discarding the skin you lose most of the apple’s free radical-fighting flavonoids (if you are into that kind of thing). But, perhaps more importantly, it ruins the flavour of the apple and you miss out on that exquisite pleasure of piercing that cool, taut skin with your teeth. That repeated crisp-crack as you work way around the apple is one of the most sensually and sonically satisfying aspects of eating an apple. If you do not like that then, frankly, you do not like apples. You need to stick to bananas or mangos. There is no shame in that. Apples are not the only fruit.
Broadly, storing fruit and vegetables in the fridge is, at best, a necessary evil and, at worst, a culinary crime. For instance, refrigeration kills tomatoes. It, and this is true of all fresh items, inhibits the activity of the volatile chemical compounds that produce flavour. But, and it is a big but, there is something so refreshing about a cold apple straight from the fridge that it trumps what you lose in flavour. A good apple should slake the thirst as effectively as a pint of iced water.