Friday, March 22, 2013

I Can if I Want to: Apples vs. Oranges.

Hey, y'all.  I did some writing for my english class in school, and quite frankly, I'm dang proud of this essay.  Thus, I want to show it off.  So now comes the final battle between two mortal enemies: the apple and the orange.

Oh, and I left all the citations in just for the heck of it.  Maybe you need some research sources for your essay on fruit or a fruit-related point.  Also, the links are really interesting if you want to look up the nutrition information on any food product in general.  Cite your sources, students!


Apples and oranges are two common fruits in America.  Both of them grow within the continental 48 states and are consumed regularly by the American people.  These fruits are going to stay a staple of the American diet for the forseeable future, as they have become a part of our food culture.

            Oranges are more of a tropical fruit than apples, growing in warmer, rainier places like California and Florida.   It is the fourth most popular fruit in the country.  Apples are the second most valuable fruit crop in the United States, and grow in places like Michigan, New York, and Washington state, places that see more cold weather than where oranges are grown.  While oranges are generally available throughout the year, apples tend to be harvested in the fall ( par. 6).

            Oranges are round fruit with its separated flesh protected by a thick, acidic peel.  Apple skin, on the other hand, is much thinner and subject to bruising.  Apple skin is about the width of paper, providing little protection against impact.  The flesh of the apple is firm and juicy, which is a nice texture, but it develops weak, brown spots easier, which causes apples trouble when they are transported commercially.  As soon as one bites into the apple, the apple begins the process of turning brown.  Oranges, on the other hand, can be used as a baseball and still be edible afterwards.  Their thick, flexible skin protects them from impact damage, and even if the flesh inside is affected, the skin generally holds the juice of the fruit within.  Neither does the flesh turn brown quickly, even when exposed to open air.  The citric acid within the flesh keeps it fresh and edible for a longer period of time.

            Both of these fruit have connotations.  The apple is associated as a gift to teachers, hailing from the old tradition of paying one's teacher with whatever goods were available instead of paper money.  Today, however, one is more likely to give a ceramic apple or perhaps an apple mug, rather than the actual fruit.  Orange juice is connotated as the classic breakfast drink, right there next to coffee.  Many a small glass has been dedicated to the oranges in both decoration and size.  Unlike the apple's connotation, this leads directly to greater orange sales.

            Oranges are the number one fruit consumed by consumers in the U.S. when both oranges and orange products are considered (Pollack, Lin, and Allshouse, 1).  It is the number one juice, but ranks third when only fresh fruit is considered (Naik, par 3).  Also, orange products tend to be eaten more than four times more frequently at home than at any other place, such as at schools or restaurants (Pollack, Lin, and Allshouse, figure 1). 

            While Florida is the second-largest source of oranges in the world, China tends to dominate the apple market, particularly when it comes to bringing in apples that are another, more unique option than the red delicious variety, which has been declining in popularity recently.  In the U.S., two-thirds of available apples are eaten directly as fresh fruit, while the remaining third is used in products such as jellies, juices, and pastries (Lynch, 3). 

            Apple juice has managed to maintain second place to orange juice, but there is a sinister side to this.  Next time you go to the store, look at the labels at the back of juices.  Like cranberry, for example.  You will find that there is a substantial amount of apple juice in the bottle, even if the label itself only says "cranberry" over a picture of fresh cranberries piled on each other.  Also, on the label of a box of Quaker instant oatmeal, it showed that the "strawberries" and "peaches" in those specified packets were in fact dehydrated apples with strawberry or peach flavoring on them (the "blueberries" were figs).  When going through the juices in the store, I was unable to find a juice that had no apple in it, except for carrot and pomegranate, which were disgusting and expensive respectively.  Orange juice, by contrast, is one of the few juices available uncompromised by apples.  And when it is mixed with other juices, this drink advertises the fact oranges are in it (though I saw more mixtures with orange juice when I was in China rather than in America).

Apple substitutions are explained by their natural sweetness.  I found an article by NBC News that says that apple juice doesn't provide many nutrients, and even when fortified by juice makers, apple juice is essentially water and sugar (Marchione, pars. 2-4).    When dealing with a very tart berry, such as the cranberry, it makes sense for a juice maker to sweeten it up by adding apple juice, which appears to the layman to be natural.  It is recommended by the NBC article that one should eat whole apples instead, because that way the consumer gets the fiber in apples, and also less sugar, because no one's going to eat the amount of apples it takes to make juice in one sitting (Marchione, par. 15).

            Orange juice also has a lot of sugar, 20.8 grams in one cup.  However, this balances out by having a good show of other nutrients.  It has a ridiculous amount of vitamin C: 207% daily value.  It also has 10% daily value of vitamin A, 15% thiamin (a B vitamin), 14% potassium, 19% folate (another B vitamin), and a good showing of 13 other nutrients.  Apple juice, however, has only 4% vitamin C, 7% potassium, 9% manganese, with all other nutrients either absent or under 3% daily value.  It doesn't even have 1% protein, versus orange juice's 3%.  These numbers are reversed for fat content: 3% for apple juice, and 1% for orange (all from graphs). 

            In conclusion, it is definitely possible to compare apples and oranges.  Moreover, oranges definitely appear better than apples.  While it may be easier to make a pie from apple, it is also easier to substitute apple in places where a consumer would rather have something else -- I like peach oatmeal, not peach-flavored apple oatmeal.
Works Cited
Naik, Abhijit.  “Orange Fruit Facts”.  23 Sept. 2011.  Web.  9 Mar. 2013.
Lynch, Brendan.  “Apples: Industry and Trade Summary”.  United States International Trade Commission.  Feb 2010.  Web.  4 Mar. 2013.
Marchione, Marilynn. “Apple Juice’s Other Health Risk: It’ll Make You Fat”.  Today Health.  1 Dec. 2011.  Web.  4 Mar. 2013.
Pollack, Susan L.; Lin, Biing-Hwan; Allshouse, Jane.  “Characteristics of US Orange Consumption”.  Cornell Library.  Aug. 2003.  Web.  4 Mar. 2013.
Self Nutrition Data.  “Orange Juice, Raw”.  2012.  Web.  4 Mar. 2013.
Self Nutrition Data.  Apple Juice, Canned or Bottled, Unsweetened, Without Added Ascorbic Acid”.  Web.  4 Mar. 2013.

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