When You Think Of Fall You Think Of Apples! Yum!
An apple is a round, edible fruit produced by an apple tree (Malus domestica). Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe and were introduced to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek, and European Christian tradition.
Apples grown from seed tend to be very different from those of their parents, and the resultant fruit frequently lacks desired characteristics. Generally, apple cultivars are propagated by clonal grafting onto rootstocks. Apple trees grown without rootstocks tend to be larger and much slower to fruit after planting. Rootstocks are used to control the speed of growth and the size of the resulting tree, allowing for easier harvesting.
There are more than 7,500 cultivars of apples. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, eating raw, and cider production. Trees and fruit are prone to fungal, bacterial, and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was sequenced as part of research on disease control and selective breeding in apple production.
Worldwide production of apples in 2021 was 93 million tons, with China accounting for nearly half of the total.
The word apple, whose Old English ancestor is æppel, is descended from the Proto-Germanic noun *aplaz, descended in turn from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ébōl.
As late as the 17th century, the word also functioned as a generic term for all fruit including nuts—such as the 14th-century Middle English expression appel of paradis, meaning a banana.
History of Apple: From the Alps to the present day
To start with its roots, Apple, originally a member of the rose family or Rosaceae, originated in Dzungarian Alps. Apple was very popular in Kazakhstan and China, where it was consumed as a wild fruit. Gradually, the power food made its way into Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. A stone tablet found in Mesopotamia, dating back to 1500 B.C., narrates the story of an Apple orchard in exchange of a herd of sheep. Europeans brought apple stock to Virginia and Southwest. John Chapman, who in later years came be known as john Appleseed planted apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. With time people discovered the various facts about apple fruit nutrition, which led to a flourishing multi-billion dollar fruit industry.
When planting America’s roots in the colony of Jamestown:
John Smith was pleasantly surprised by the health and vigor of tree fruits rooting in the soil and remarked, “…peaches, apples, apricots and figs prosper exceedingly.” It was 1607 and Captain John Smith had brought 104 settlers to an unknown climate to establish the colony of Jamestown. In planning for hungry mouths, the colonists brought along a selection of Europe’s best livestock and planting stock – including apple seeds and saplings. To their great fortune, many crops, including apples, thrived in the land of new settlement.
As the colonies grew, so did apple orchards.
The first governor of Virginia, William Berkley, declared of every planter, “…for every 500 acres deeded him…enclose ¼ acre near his dwelling house for orchards and gardens.” As a result, the popularity of apples grew over the next 200 years in Virginia, then in the 13 colonies and beyond. With such popularity, how were all these apples consumed? Did an apple a day keep the doctor away? Or was it a pint of cider?
Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider. In rural areas, cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water.
For poor settlers with a homestead orchard, producing fermented cider from apples for long-term storage was the best beverage staple. When stored long-term, cider was safer than water because fermentation had the ability to kill and inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes. The only water safe to drink on the frontier was boiled. Routine boiling would have been a resource-heavy and time intensive task. Can you imagine boiling water in August – no, thanks!
As Westward Expansion continued:
A man who made history, and then turned legend, was curating the apple orchards of Illinois. Enter Johnny Appleseed, a.k.a. John Chapman. Born in 1774, Chapman traveled beyond the boundaries of frontiersman with apple seeds in hand, staking his claim of land for apple nurseries. Clustering his plantings near navigable roads and streams, pioneers arriving at their new homesteads would purchase what had become hearty apple tree saplings. Described as a laid-back, river-traveling, pioneer with a guerrilla-planting spirit, J. Appleseed proved his worth as a businessman on a patch of the American frontier we call home.
By 1905, with 300 years of apple seeds planted, there were over 14,000 varieties of apple growing in the U.S., according to W.H. Ragan in Nomenclature of the Apple. This tremendous variety of one fruit is due to the incredible genetic potential of apples and some very thirsty pioneers.
Cultural and mythological significance:
Apple has huge cultural and mythological significance. According to Christian tradition, Eve insisted Adam to share an apple with her, which happened to be a forbidden fruit. Since then apple symbolizes temptation, knowledge, and sin. On the other hand, ancient Greek scriptures denoted the fruit as a symbol of beauty and love. According to Greek mythology, Heracles was asked to pluck golden Apples from Tree of Life in the Garden of the Hesperides, as part of his Twelve Labors. In ancient Greece apple was considered to be sacred to Aphrodite and throwing an Apple at someone meant falling in love with the person. Similar texts also talk about the benefits of apple juice that made it a favorite fruit of that period.
Apple Today and to Tomorrow:
The humble Apple has come a long way. From a wild fruit today it is almost a life-saving element. Apart from its daily use as a raw fruit and juice, apple fruit heath benefits have made it amongst the highest exported fruits in demand. Nearly 8000 varieties of apples are grown across the world. In US alone, it constitutes about 90% of the fruit cultivation and makes for a flourishing industry. Apple will continue to enjoy the queen’s place in the fruit basket of world and will reap returns in the years to come.
Health benefits of apples:
This nutritious fruit offers multiple health benefits. Apples may lower your chance of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Research says apples may also help you lose weight while improving your gut and brain health.
Stabilizes blood sugar. When you eat sugary, processed foods like doughnuts, the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood spikes.
Lowers cholesterol. …
Reduces blood pressure. …
Eases inflammation. …
Boosts your microbiome. …
Satisfies hunger longer. …
Helps you live longer.
The U.S. Apple Organization tells us the most popular (by sales) fresh apple varieties are, in order:
Honeycrisp and Pink Lady continue to move up the chart, and Red Delicious is moving down. More heirloom varieties are being grown as specialty crops, and of course, every year sees some new varieties, most notably, those that resist browning when cut, like Ginger Gold and Snow Sweet.
English Apple Varieties:
Rev W. Wilks
Tydermans Late Orange
Sausage and Pancake Casserole: So Easy and So Good!
1 pound bulk pork sausage
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
1-1/3 cups 2% milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and crumble sausage until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes; drain. Mix biscuit mix, milk, eggs and oil until blended; stir in sausage. Transfer biscuit mixture to a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Top with apples; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 30-45 minutes or until set. Serve with syrup.
To make ahead: Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight. To use, preheat oven to 350°. Remove casserole from refrigerator; uncover and let stand while oven heats. Bake as directed, increasing time as necessary until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Enjoy! Perfect around the Holiday, Thanksgiving and Christmas for the Family!