The first trees to produce apples like those we enjoy today, were located many thousands of years ago near the modern city of Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. The ancient Greeks were growing several different kinds of apples by the late 300 s BC, and the ancient Romans also grew and loved the fruit. Researchers have even found the charred remains of apples at a Stone Age village in Switzerland. Early settlers to North America brought apple seeds and trees with them to the New World. Some records from the Massachusetts Bay Company indicate that apples were grown in New England as early as 1630. In 1796, in Ontario, Canada, John McIntosh discovered a variety of apples, which is today enjoyed by people around the world. Today, apples are as popular as ever, and are enjoyed every day by people all around the world.
Apples and your health:
Both the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the National Cancer Institute of America recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruit per day to maintain a healthy diet.
1 medium-sized apple:
+ Contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.
+ Provides 80 calories of energy.
+ Gives you:
o 16 grams (0.56 ounces) of fruit sugar.
o 0.17 grams (0.0059 ounces) of potassium-5% of your daily requirement.
o 8% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.
o 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of dietary fiber. That s 20% of your daily requirement more than a serving of oatmeal!
o a bit of deadly hydrogen cyanide.
Apples come in thousands of varieties, sizes, textures, and tastes. The color of the outside of an apple may be green, yellow, or various shades of red. Some yellow apples have weird brown spots all over them, while some red apples, like the Jonathan , have even weirder white spots! Apple colors also differ on the inside, where the flesh may be yellow, white, or cream-colored. It’s also interesting that apples will turn brown if you cut them open and leave them out for a couple of hours. Textures also vary amongst apple varieties, from soft and mushy, to firm and crunchy. Because there are so many different varieties of apple, each with slightly different qualities than the next, producers grow different types of apples for different purposes. Some apples, like the Empire, are sweet and wonderful when eaten fresh (in fact, of all the cultivated apples grown, over half are eaten fresh). Other apple varieties are better suited for cooking or further processing. The Rome Beauty, for example, is often used for baking and not eaten fresh because it has a firm, acidic flesh, and tough, smooth skin. Many species of apple grown today are actually the result of breeding different species together. The Fugi, for example, Japan s most popular apple, was produced by breeding the American Delicious with the Ralls Janet of Virginia. Other apple species have more exciting stories about their birth, as you may discover in the following citation borrowed from the Michigan Apple Committee: Ginger Gold apparently owes its life to Hurricane Camille, which roared through Virginia in 1969. It destroyed much of the orchard of Clyde and Ginger Harvey near Arrington, south of Charlottesville in the Virginia Piedmont. Several years later they found a tree that had grown from a seed that had apparently been washed into the orchard from elsewhere, perhaps during the hurricane, and was nothing like what had been planted there before. A nursery budded the first trees in the early 1980s, and horticulturists concluded the Harvey s had a unique variety on their hands. They sold some of the apples locally and called the variety by Mrs. Harvey’s first name. Its yellow appearance derives from its probable Golden Delicious parentage. Pippin is thought to be one of the other varieties in its genetics. Ginger Gold matures about six weeks before Golden Delicious and has a spicy sweet flavor. Its texture is firm and white, and it stores well under refrigeration.
World Apple Production:
Wherever apples grow you can be sure some critter will be enjoying their goodness and flavor. From raccoons and bears, to horses and insects. We humans love them too. In fact, the apple tree is the most widely cultivated of all the fruit trees. In 1997, an amazing 44.7 million metric tones of apples were produced for human consumption. Of those, more than 84% were bought and used commercially.The leading apple growing country is China, producing about 41% of the world’s apples. The United States is second, followed by Turkey, France, Poland, Italy, the Russian Federation, Germany, Argentina, Japan, and Chile. Even warmer countries like Iraq and Mexico are able to grow apples in their cooler upland regions. What’s most important is that people in every country love the sweet delicious taste of a ripe apple! Here in Canada, apples are our most important fruit crop. Canadian growers produced about 506,000 metric tones of apples in 1997, worth about $182 million (Canadian). Our leading apple producing province is Ontario, followed by British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. More than 7,000 Canadian farms grow apples on over 30,000 hectares of farmland. In the United States, 4.6 million metric tones of apples were produced in 1997, with a wholesale value of more than $1 billion (U.S.). Of those apples, roughly:
+ 50% were enjoyed as fresh fruit.
+ 20% were used to make vinegar, cider, wine, juice, jelly, and apple butter.
+ 17% were canned as applesauce and pie filling.
+ 13% were exported (sold to other countries).
Although people across the United States love apples, apples grow particularly well in the cooler northern states. Washington State is the leading apple-producing state, followed by Michigan, and New York.