Apple Trivia

Celebrate autumn apple harvest with a bushel of facts about this crunchy fall favorite.

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: New York Apple Association

Photo By: U.S. Apple Association

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: New York Apple Association

Photo By: Albemarle CiderWorks & Vintage Virginia Apples

Photo By: New York Apple Association

Photo By: U.S. Apple Association

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: U.S. Apple Association

Apple Harvest Time

You can find apples growing in every state in the continental United States. The top apple-yielding states? Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia. The most popular apple raised in the country is ‘Red Delicious,’ followed by No. 2 favorite ‘Golden Delicious.’ Despite similar names, these apples are not related.

‘Albermarle Pippin’ Apple

Apples are presidential fruits, having been raised by many former occupants of the White House. ‘Albermarle Pippin’ was a highly favored variety in the orchards of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This apple traces its history to 1700 and was the most prized American dessert apple of the early 18th Century.

An Apple A Day

The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” traces to Old English, hinting at the fruit’s rich nutritional benefits. The original saying goes like this: “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, make the doctor beg his breads.” Apples—including juice and cider—supply boron, an important mineral for health. Apple cider is one of the earliest prescribed antidepressants.

A Rainbow of Apples

Apples boast skin in an array of shades, from classic red and yellow, to pale green, to streaked and striped varieties. For this autumn fruit, beauty is more than skin deep. A medium apple (tennis ball size) offers 80 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and is packed with good-for-you fiber—5 grams per fruit. High fiber content means the natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, which helps with maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Apples Come From Where?

Despite their association with all things American, apples actually hail from what is modern Kazakhstan. The only apples native to America are crab apples, like Hewe’s Crab Apple. Recorded as early as 1717, this little apple was also known as Virginia crab and was mainly grown for making cider. It was one of Thomas Jefferson’s major cider varieties, with trees filling a large portion of the north orchards at Monticello.

The 'Rambo' Apple and Johnny Appleseed

When Ohio was opening as a frontier in 1792, settlers could earn up to 100 acres if they homesteaded in the wilderness. A homestead required 50 apple and 20 peach trees. John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was an enterprising businessman who traveled ahead of settlers planting and tending apple orchards on land he had purchased. He later sold the orchards to homesteaders. The last apple planted by John is rumored to be a ‘Rambo,’ which continues to grow in Nova, Ohio.

Hard Apple Cider

The real story behind the apples Johnny Appleseed planted is that they weren’t eating apples, but fruits destined to become hard cider, the beverage of choice on the frontier when the purity of water supplies was untrustworthy. Transplanted New Englanders who homesteaded the frontier consumed an average 10.52 ounces of hard cider daily. Today, hard cider is experiencing a comeback through private label ciders.

Applesauce in Outer Space

Applesauce and space travel go together like PB&J. John Glenn, the first astronaut to orbit the moon, took pureed applesauce in squeezeable tubes on that first space flight. Applesauce hit the astronaut menu again—this time served as a side to ham—on the Gemini mission.

Fall is for Apple Picking

Visit an orchard, and you might expect to reach up and pick a few choice apples, or scramble up a ladder to reach the higher fruits. Time honored traditional apple orchard plantings have showcased individual trees with rounded heads lined up in rows. This is the apple tree schoolchildren see in storybooks and the one most folks expect when heading out to the orchard.

Espalier Apple Orchard

Modern apple orchards often resemble more of an espalier planting, with trees arranged along wires and fruit bearing branches formed horizontally along a narrow path. These types of plantings are known as spindle orchards and feature high density tree plantings with 1,000 trees per acre. The arrangement results in easier harvest and tree maintenance coupled with high yields.

Keep 'Em Cool

A bowl of apples on the counter may lead to healthier snacking, but those same apples will also ripen quickly—10 times faster than apples kept in the fridge. Keep your apples in the refrigerator, and you can expect them to deliver a crisp, juicy bite for 4 to 6 weeks.

Bobbing for Apples

There’s a reason that apples are the fruit of choice for fall bobbing contests. First, fresh apples have 25 percent air by volume—they’re wired to float. Second, bobbing for apples traces its roots to a Celtic New Year tradition where the game was used as a method for determining a future spouse.

Apple Pie

Certain things may be touted to be as American as apple pie, but the fact is, apple pies have their roots in 14th Century England. It was the Pilgrims who combined pie making skills with apple seeds ferried over the Atlantic Ocean to create the quintessential American dessert. The earliest versions of this dish often featured only a bottom crust, because times were hard and ingredients scarce. That’s how the saying “upper crust” came to signify households with plenty of money—they were the only ones who could afford pies with an upper crust.

Shop This Look