There are so many things to write about apples that I decided to do a complete blog post about them. If you think about the fact that an apple was the culprit of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of Heaven; Alexander the Great found dwarfed apples in 328 BCE; Sir Isaac Newton used an apple to prove his “Law of Gravity”, colonists brought apples to the newly found North America; and John Chapman (better known to many as Johnny Appleseed) was attributed to spreading apple orchards in the late 1700s.
My earliest remembrance of first encountering apples is from my youth as I grew up in upstate New York. My grandfather used to pick apples at Greiner’s Apple Orchard after he retired from the railroad. He was good friends with Honsey, who owned the orchard, and did it simply to help his friend. He frequently brought home a bushel of apples and kept them in our cellar and entryway to his home. My brother and I would get apples from the baskets every day. That was when I first heard the slogan: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” because our friends said that to us all the time.
Many of the kinds of apples that Grandpa picked are no longer in existence. You can read about some of them, which are now known as “heirloom apples”, such as: 20 Ounce, Winter Banana, Northern Spy, Cortland, Pippin, Winesap, and several others that I cannot even find: Astriin and Transparent. Other kinds of apples are still around today such as Granny, Cortland, Rome Beauty, and Delicious.
Health Benefits of Apples
There are many health benefits from apples. The benefits increase when you eat the skin of the apple as well.
- Promotes cardiovascular health in post-menopausal woman: a dissertation submitted by Sheau Ching Chai of the Florida State University College of Human Sciences
- They are good for your heart: studies show apples may reduce heart disease risk
- Aids in lowering “bad” cholesterol: It is widely known that oatmeal is one of the best food items to help lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) because of the soluble fiber. One half cup of cooked oatmeal has 5 grams of dietary fiber. Apples are another powerhouse fruit that packs a punch to LDL (as are kidney beans, pears, barley, and prunes). I checked Calorie Count.com for the nutritional info for apples: an 8 oz. apple (with skin) has approximately 118 calories and 5.5 grams of dietary fiber.
- Consider this: add one-half of an apples (4 oz.) to one-half cup of oatmeal and you will have 273 calories and 9.6 grams of dietary fiber!
- Apples help keep your teeth healthier because biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, which reduces tooth decay and lowers levels of bacteria.
- Increases Lifespan, health span, and resistance to stress
- According to the American Institute for Cancer Research: apples Lower cancer risk and aid in weight control:
- Aid with weight control: apples have no magical pixie dust to help you lose weight. What they do have is lots of fiber, particularly in the skin of the apple, which helps you to feel full longer without adding a lot of calories.
|20 Ounce||Firm, tender, juicy, tart||Heirloom variety famous for its size and baking qualities. Excellent in pies, applesauce, baked apples|
|Braeburn||Sweet & tangy, crisp with yellow flesh||Baking, freezing, salads, snacks, applesauce|
|Cortland||Sweet yet slightly tart, snow-white flesh||Salads, baking, freezing, pies, kabobs (because they do not turn brown quickly)|
|Delicious||Sweet flavor||Baking, salads (retains its shape)|
|Empire||Sweet-tart||Cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh. One thing we noticed was even after it has been peeled, it does not turn brown anywhere near as fast as most other apples do. Eating, salads, baking, freezing|
|Fuji||Super sweet, crisp||This one has been around since the time of Thomas Jefferson! Cooking, snacks, lunches, picnics, applesauce (needs no sugar due to the super sweet flavor)|
|Gala||Crunchy, juicy, sweet-tart, picky eaters prefer due to its mild flavor||Developed in New Zealand. Great for eating, snacks, lunches, salads, applesauce|
|Granny Smith||Very tart with a bright green skins||Baking, sautéing, if you like tart apples, this is one of the best! Fried apples, snacks, salads, pies|
|Honeycrisp||The name says it all: crisp and sweet||Eating, salads, applesauce, baking, pies|
|Idared||Sweetly tart||Look beautiful on your table, excellent for applesauce, cooking, baking, pies, freezing, eating, and salads. Tip: for beautifully colored applesauce, cook the apples with skins on and strain the sauce to get a great pink color|
|Jonathan||First red apple of the fall, sweet-tart,||Hard to find due to short growing season, great for eating, snacks, and in salads, candy apples, baking, cooking|
|McIntosh||Sweet, tart, juicy, tender||Eating, applesauce, salads, pies. Tip: because it cooks down quickly, use it as a thickener for pies|
|Paula Red||Tart, juicy,||Eating and applesauce|
|Rome||Mildly sweet||Baking, sautéing, snacks, pies, pancakes, salads, applesauce|
|Stayman||Sweet-tart, crisp||Baking, cooking, applesauce, apple butter, snacks|
|Winesap||Tart, tangy, juicy, firm||Snacks, salads, applesauce / beautiful in holiday displays because of its deep red color, fruit & cheese platters|
Find Out Where These Popular Apple Sayings Came From in the US Apple Association
- Adam’s apple
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away
- Apple eater
- Apple of my eye
- Apple polisher
- As American as apple pie
- The Big Apple
Fun Apple Facts, Tips, Games, and Recipes
- An apple is a member of the rose family from Producepedia
- An apple tree has to grow for four or five years before it will produce an apple
- Apples are the second most valuable fruit grown in the United States. Oranges are first
- Apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air
- Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated
- Bobbing for apples began with Celtic New Year’s tradition to determine whom you would marry
- Don’t peel your apple. Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel. Antioxidants help to reduce damage to cells, which can trigger some diseases
- If you cut an apple in half between the top stem and bottom blossom end, you will see a perfect star shape in every apple
- Each apple has only approximately 5 seeds
- In ancient times, apples were thrown at weddings as opposed to birdseed like is used today
- It takes nearly 40 apples to make 1 gallon of cider
- It’s said that Isaac Newton thought of the “law of gravity” while sitting under an apple tree and having an apple fall on his head
- Sixty-three percent of the 2005 U.S. apple crop was eaten as fresh fruit
- The crabapple is the only apple native to North America
- The old saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” This saying comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread”
- You could eat a different apple every day for more than 19 years and never eat the same kind twice!
- Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, carried pureed applesauce in squeezable tubes on his initial space flight. It was served with ham.
- What kind of apple eater are you? Wedger? Splitter? Circle Stickler? Top to Bottom? Equator Eater? The Streak? Core-Free Cruncher? Stem Plucker? Find out by the US Apple Association
Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated on September 26th because he today because John Chapman’s (who is the real person behind the name he was fondly called) was born on September 26, 1774 in Massachusetts (and died March 18, 1845). The fact that he lived to be 71 years old before he died, when the average life expectancy at that time was 40-50 years of age, adds weight to the phrase: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Legend has it that he wandered aimlessly dropping apple seeds as he went; however, nothing could be farther from the truth. He was actually a brilliant entrepreneur who knew that apples do not grow from seeds and therefore, simply dropping seeds here and there would not work. Therefore, he methodically and systematically nurtured apple seeds until the seeds took root and new apple trees became healthy and began to grow. As he was assured that the new apple orchard would continue to grow, he moved farther west, staying just ahead of new settlements, nurturing more apple seeds to create new young apple orchards and he moved west again and repeated the process.
Add to that, the trees that he planted were grown using seeds that he had collected for FREE from cider mills. So, why did he do that you ask? He did it because throughout the American Colonial period, applejack (a strong alcoholic beverage) was popular, and in the late 1700s, orchards entitled the owner to claim the land as their own land. According to Biography.com, Johnny Appleseed owned 1,200 acres of valuable land when he died.
One large apple (3 ¼ inches in diameter (223 g) has approximately:
- Calories: 116
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 2 mg
- Potassium: 238.6 mg
- Carbohydrates: 30.8 g
- Dietary Fiber: 5.4 g
- Sugars: 23.2 g
- Protein: 0.6 g
- Vitamin A: 0%
- Vitamin C: 28%
- Calcium: 0%
- Iron: 6%
The above article was developed using information from the following sources:
- My Own Personal Experience
- Calorie Count
- Live Science
- NY Apple Country
- Specialty Produce
- University of Illinois Extension
- University of Rochester Physics and Astronomy
- US Apple Association
- Virginia Apples
- Woodbridge Fruit Trees