I decided to get scientific this evening and look up what happens to the apple when it has been infected by apple scab, Venturia inaequalis. Like I had guessed, it looks like the benefits to the consumer are heightened when the apple has scab. After some searching, I found this article, which I’ll go ahead and spoil by saying this: The health benefits were multiplied with the presence of scab on the apple.
Once upon a time, Slovenia and Austria teamed up to study the differences between a “healthy” apple peel without any disease and an apple peel infected with apple scab.
The study found the following:
Compared to a “healthy” peel, scab lesion tissue had:
- ≤ 3.1-times higher hydroxycinnamic acid content
- ≤ 1.3-times higher dihydrochalcone content
- ≤ 3.9-times higher flavan-3-ol content.
- Showed slightly higher phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase, flavonol synthase, and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase activities.
That’s a mouthful. Let me just tell you what some of these mean (and provide links):
Hydroxycinnamic acid – A group of flavonoids, best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as the support of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Dihydrochalcone– Another group of flavonoids, known for anti-inflammatory qualities.
Flavan-3-ol– Associated with the prevention of chronic diseases. Often found in tea, citrus, and wine.
Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase– Used for treatment of the metabolic disorder Phenylketonuria.
Chalcone synthase– A promising enzyme that pharmaceutical companies are currently exploring for dietary supplements and health products.
How about that. This, of course, is the peel of the apple we are talking about. Given the article above, would you rather drink cider made from scabby apples, or cider from non-scabby apples?
I welcome all articles proving me wrong. I searched for all I could find relating to apple scab and nutrition, and didn’t come up with much. This is a learning process and I don’t have access to scientific journals and such. I take what I can view for free on the internet.
7 thoughts on “Whoa there, apple scab is a healthy thing?”
In the end what I want to drink is cider that tastes really good, and it would not shock me to learn that a more chemically complex fruit made a better tasting more interesting cider.
Really enjoyed your comments! I make cider here in Cornwall. Im a new small producer, but all the apples I use, whether dessert or cider are unsprayed. Our current batch, pressed last autumn is 6% and on the dry side, but delish, and people are happily buying it as they know the apples are as chemical free as possible.
What is your cider called, Lorraine? Would love to hear more!
Lorraine, can I buy some of your apples? I’m in Kanata (west of Ottawa)
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