Information about Fruits: Apples

About apples, information about the fruit, production, history and varieties in the world.


Afghanistan is usually credited as originating this fruit, and wild apple forests still exist there. The U.S. and France are the largest producers. Other big producers are Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the Balkan countries. Of the U.S. crop, more than 1/2 is used as fresh fruit. Of the world's production 1/4 goes for cider.

Two people who were instrumental in spreading apple trees in the U.S. are Jonathan Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, who traveled through the Midwest preaching and planting apple seeds, and Henderson Lewelling, a man who gets little mention. Lewelling is given credit for bringing grafted apple trees (as well as pear, quince, plum, and cherry trees) to Oregon from Iowa. A story is told that Lewelling sold his 1st crop of 100 apples to prospectors for $5 each, around the time of the Gold Rush. John McIntosh of Canada found the apple that bears his name.

Apple varieties that ripen during late summer are not as good for storing as the ones that ripen in late fall, which can be stored up to 9 months at temperatures slightly above freezing. Commercially, they are refrigerated with carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere to retard the natural oxidation process. Apples are also subject to spraying and waxing at harvest time. Apples that are particularly bright red and appear shiny may have been dyed and these are best peeled before eating.

Apples can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on the variety. Tart and thick-skinned varieties are better for baking.

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