5 types of apples, once thought extinct, are rediscovered

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Courtesy photo
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David Benscoter, who located the trees, stands by a century-old apple tree on an abandoned homestead near Steptoe Butte, in this 2014 file photo. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 06 March 2018

5 types of apples, once thought extinct, are rediscovered

LEWISTON, Idaho: Five types of apples, once thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
The Lewiston Tribune newspaper reported Monday that “apple detective” David Benscoter located the trees growing near a butte in the rolling hills of the vast Palouse agricultural area.
Benscoter worked with apple experts at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon and Fedco Seeds in Maine to positively identify the apple types. They were compared to written descriptions from old books and antique watercolor paintings.
The newly rediscovered apples include the Shackleford, Saxon Priest, Kittageskee, Ewalt and McAffee varietals. An estimated 17,000 named apple varieties are thought to have originated in North America, but Benscoter says only about 4,000 still exist today.
“I just love the history of these old apples and what they meant to the first homesteaders that arrived here in eastern Washington and northern Idaho,” Benscoter said. “The apple was the most important fruit you could have, and it could be used in so many ways.”
He first became interested in hunting down the almost-gone and nearly forgotten fruit when he helped a neighbor with chores on her property. He found an old apple tree and began to search the Internet to try to figure out what variety it bore.
By checking old county fair records in Whitman County, Washington, he discovered several apple types that were listed as extinct.
Since that time, he has discovered more than 20 varieties of apples that were once considered lost. He’s hoping area residents will let him know if they have old apple trees in neglected orchards or growing in back fields that he can examine.
“Those apples have been forgotten about in the back of someone’s field or an old orchard nobody has taken care of in a hundred years,” Benscoter said. “I’m hopeful, and obviously the search has been somewhat successful, and so I think there are still many apples out there that can be found.”
Apples have as many 50 different identifiers, including stem length, shape, size, color and structure.
Benscoter thinks he’s found an additional seven apples in the region that were also thought to be extinct or extremely rare, but they have yet to be confirmed.
Those include the Autumn Gray, Surprise No. 1, Flushing Spitzenburg, Republican Pippin, Bogdanoff Glass, Flory and Early Colton.
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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com


Five reasons to add acai berries to your diet

Updated 03 August 2020

Five reasons to add acai berries to your diet

DUBAI: Learn all about the superfoods that will help you live a longer and healthier life. Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, fills you in…

The acai bowl is more than just an Instagram craze — the acai berry is so high in nutrients that it even beats super fruits such as blueberries and cranberries.

Acai berries don’t last long, however, so unless you live near the Amazon, you will need to buy acai pulp frozen, in powder form or as oil for the skin. And be careful when adding extras to your acai bowl — avoid sugar-rich granola and brownies to reap the numerous health benefits listed below.

Anti-aging benefits

There is a strong connection between acai and anti-aging due to the abundance of cell-repairing antioxidants and the high levels of vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as various minerals that contribute to keeping the skin moisturised and wrinkles at bay. As well as adding acai to your diet, look into skincare products made with acai oil for a double boost.

There is a strong connection between acai and anti-aging. Shutterstock

Lowers bad cholesterol

Acai berries contain plant sterols, which are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains and prevent the body from absorbing dietary cholesterol. A small study on overweight participants who were fed acai pulp every day for 30 days found lower total cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and more controlled blood sugar levels. Another study showed an increase in good cholesterol in women. Antioxidants in acai are also beneficial for diabetes sufferers and those with high blood pressure.

Improved brain function

A 2013 study found that as well as being rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from cell damage, acai berry extract can protect against the build-up of proteins called beta-amyloids, which clog the brain’s pathways and are involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Acai has also been positively linked to the treatment of bipolar disorder.

The acai berry is rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from cell damage. Shutterstock

Helps prevent and fight cancer

In a study of 300 foods, acai berries came top for their high levels of antioxidants, with half a cup containing around 75,000 antioxidant units. Among these are pigments called anthocyanin that not only give acai berries their purple color, but may also help fight cancer cells. In a 2006 study, researchers found that concentrated acai juice triggered a self-destruct response in 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.

Improves digestion

As well as being rich in fiber, which promotes a healthy gut, researchers found that polyphenols in acai can survive most of the digestive process and make it as far as the colon. This means they can promote good gut bacteria, which improves overall digestive health. The acai berry is also said to help in cleansing the digestive system.