Fruits (Digestive Properties Of). With the exception of strawberries. there is no dessert fruit, produced in a wild slate, easy of digestion. The crab-apple an 1 the sloe, the parents of the cultivated apple and plum, are wholly unfit for use, except in the shape of jams or conserves, having a plentiful addition of sugar to correct their astringent nature.
Commencing with the APPLE - the fruit in most general use, of which we have many varieties - the best being suitable for different purposes, but all containing more or less of saccharine, acid, mucilage, soft woody fibre, and water, the quality of the fruit being dependent upon the proportion in which one or other of these prevails. The aroma of apples, on which their flavour seems to depend, is supposed to act as a mild stimulant, and to assist digestion; therefore, those apples which have the finest flavour are the most esteemed. The American sorts and the rennets abound in this quality, and they also contain a greater than ordinary proportion of sugar and mucilage, consequently are more nutritive; while the pippins and all hard varieties possess much woody fibre, difficult of digestion. The dry mealy kinds, although not so much relished, are highly nutritive, while the watery sorts are generally crude, cold, and ill-adapted to weak stomachs in their raw state.
But apples of very inferior quality are made palateable and wholesome by the application of heat, and the fruit of apple pie, if not too much spiced, or even the roasted apple, is highly nutritive and digestible. Before this fruit is subjected to heat, it is composed of a very great number of little cells and vessels, containing the acid juice and the pulp - probably in a separate state. When heated, the juice expands and bursts through the cells, and as the temperature increases, the watery portion of the moisture is partly converted into steam, and evaporates through the rind.
When the acid and pulp of the apple are thus set free from their confinement, they enter into more intimate union, and the taste of the acid is mellowed by its mixture with the pulp, in the same manner as rum is mellowed by being mixed with milk : as the pulp also contains saccharine, this is disengaged by the heat, and mixes with the acid.
Ripe, sweet, and mealy apples, produce a laxative effect on the bowels, while those which are sour and astringent should be avoided by the sedentary, as they are apt to induce costiveness, griping, and flatulency, particularly when eaten after meals by persons indulging in wine or spirits.
Peaks have but little of the acid usually found in apples, but they generally possess more saccharine, and also more woody fibre, •which renders some kinds indigestible. Those which are not hard and solid contain, along with their sugar, a considerable proportion of mucilage, which - although nou-rishing - is apt to ferment in the stomach, and produce flatulence. The Maria Louisa and the Old Burgundy are easy of digestion, the former perhaps the best and handsomest pear produced, and these when ripe may be eaten freely, being sweet, mellow, and laxative, and very salutary to some constitutions, but heavy to cold stomachs when taken in excess. The very hard sorts should be prohibited to the weak, and moderately indulged in by the robust, having little nutriment, and their great quantity of woody fibre serving to overload and fatigue the stomach.