Apples - More than a Pie
Apples - Older than History
Ok, maybe not quite that old, but apples have been around for over 4,000 years. Originally from the Middle East they are now proud to claim around 8,000 varieties across the world and about 3,000 of those here in the United States (only 100 of those are grown commercially in 36 states).
There is evidence of apples being eaten and stored as far back as the Iron Age and maybe even the Stone Age. Gee! It might be older than history!!!!!
We can be thankful to the Romans for that juicy fruit each time you bite into your favorite red, green, or yellow apple. The expansion and breadth of their empire helped the apple move from the Middle East to England and into China. The Europeans loved it so much that they had apples at many of their meals. Even Queen Elizabeth I's doctor recommended to just breathe in the sweet smell of one to recover one's strength. No wonder we say "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
When the European settlers landed on the shores of the Americas they found the crabapple as the only native apple trees here. That is hard to believe considering how much the country now produces. The settlers introduced their varieties to the Americas, but surprisingly the crops were not abundant. Not because of inexperience or the soil or the weather. It was the blasted honey bees, or lack of really. Honey bees are not native to the Americas. What? That was a surprise to me and I've looked this up at so many sites. It is true. Believe it or not. So the settlers brought the bees over and all those beautiful apples trees and native plants began to thrive like never before.
The Americas and Legend
Apples were very popular in the new world. In fact, George Washington, the first president of the US, tended his apple orchard as a hobby.
But the most well known figure is Johnny Appleseed. Yes, he did exist. Though not quite his real name. Born in Massachusetts as John Chapmen in the early 1800's, he later travelled some 10,000 square miles to plant apple trees where ever he could so that no one would ever go hungry again. He believed it to be his mission to read the Good Word to everyone and plant them a tree. What a legacy to leave.
Thank you Mr. Appleseed.
The United States now is one of the larger producers of apples along with China, Turkey, Poland, and Italy. What a variety of nations!
Tips and Facts
Researching this, I discovered that I knew nothing at all about this delicious fruit. Here are just a few of the facts that I discovered.
- The average apple orchard is 50 acres.
- The largest producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
- To prevent the discoloration of a peeled apple dip it in cold water with a pinch of salt or dip in lemon juice.
- Apple trees can live for over 100 years.
- The most widely known and grown variety is the "Delicious"
- To easily peel an apple, dip quickly in boiling water.
- A peck of apples is 10 1/2 pounds.
- Fresh apples float - 25% of their volume is air!
- Known the world over as the symbol of love.
- 42 lbs. of apples yields approximately 22 quarts of applesauce.
- The average apple tree produces 840 lbs.
- A humble apple is given the honor of assisting a rather confused Sir Isaac Newton how the law of gravity works - now to get rid of that headache.
- The largest peel was accomplised in 1976 in New York - final length was 172 feet and 4 inches.
- The largest apple was weighed at 3 lbs. and 2 oz.
- The apple is a member of the rose family (take a look at its blossoms). It can brag about relatives strawberry, hawthorn, peach, and spiraea.
- Don't throw away the peeling - 2/3 of the fiber and many many antioxidents are found there.
- 1 gallon of apple cider comes from 36 apples.
- The apple is the state flower of Michigan.
- 1 pie needs 2 lbs of apples
- Takes 4 to 5 years for an apple tree to bear fruit
- 1 apple has 5 grams of fiber
- The apple has only 80 calories and is free of cholesterol, sodium, and fat.
Go Forth and Eat
After all this, how could turn down
- apple pie?
- caramel apple?
- fruit salad?
- apples dipped in caramel?
I've got to get to the store and get me some apples. I'm hungry.
Apples can be used in a variety of ways: a snack, a dessert, in the main dish, or as an appetizer. It can be fun to see what you can do with the fruit of love! Enjoy.
Recipies to Sink Your Teeth In
Before parting and eating that caramel apple I'm now craving, here are a few recipes to use those apples for:
Easiest Dessert - my favorite dessert that we make all the time at home.
Washington Apple - a site for everything you can do with Washington apples.
Pastrywiz - you'll find apple pizza here along with other unusual recipes.
Apple Recipes - OK, this one has includes Apple Noodles????
New York Apple Country - this site has bushels (haha) of recipes for your favorite apple.
Virginia Apples - If you have a problem with apples the Yankees grow (don't get upset, I married one), you can go to this site and get some unique recipes.
Southern Apple Cooking - here is another site loaded with recipes you'll enjoy trying.