Nobody knows how many varieties of apples exist in the world today, except that the number runs into the thousands. A descendent of the lowly and sour crab apple, this ubiquitous fruit has played a part in religion, magic, superstition, folklore, history and science as far back as we can go.
Although the Bible is not specific about the nature of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, there is a widely held belief that the forbidden fruit Eve offered Adam was an apple - which stuck in his throat. Thus, the term Adam's apple for the small rounded "apple" under the skin in front of the throat.
Another apple aficionado was the legendary Swiss patriot and archer William Tell, who was forced to shoot at an apple on his son's head. The son lived to tell the tale.
Presumably, father and son enjoyed some crisp apple pieces.
And it was another humble apple falling from a tree that gave Isaac Newton his "Eureka!" moment, which led him to propound the theory of gravitation. Apples of a different sort inspired the Beatles and Steve Jobs. Apple Records made the Beatles a household name and Apple is a synonym for the world's best computer.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" was my mother's mantra. Apples are high in fibre and health professionals believe that pectin, one of the fibres in apples, may actually work to reduce the body's cholesterol level and help prevent heart attacks. Pectin also slows glucose metabolism in diabetics. Vitamins A and C are available in small amounts, as is potassium, thought to reduce the chances of suffering a stroke. The trace element boron is present in apples and is believed to increase mental vitality and also build bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
However, although high in fibre and low in kilojoules (about 196 per 100g), it has been suggested that perhaps two apples a day would be better.