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Apple facts

August 30, 2012
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

As summer fades into fall, it is apple time.

There are many of us who have already been enjoying our apples, picked right from our own trees for the past couple of weeks. This is mostly because of our growing conditions we have had this summer.

So here are some fast facts about the apple.

The crabapple is the only apple native to North America. There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S. and 7,500 varieties grown throughout the world. There are about 100 apple varieties that are grown commercially in the U.S. with 36 states considered commercial growers. Apples can be grown in all 50 states. The apple is the dieters love as it only has about 80 calories and is fat, sodium and cholesterol free, not to mention full of fiber.

The first apples planted in the U.S. are thought to be in the Massachusetts Bay area by the pilgrims. Apple trees take about four to five years to produce their first fruit. Apples are still picked by hand in the fall. Apple varieties can range in size from about the size of a cherry to a grapefruit. Apples are a member of the rose family.

The flowers do sort of look like wild rose flowers. The Greeks and Romans really enjoyed their favorite fruit, the apple. An average-sized apple tree can fill around 20 boxes that weigh around 42 pounds each. Europeans eat about 46 pounds of apples each year while Americans eat around 46 pounds of apples each year.

The average apple orchard in the U.S. is around 50 acres of which most trees are dwarf apple trees. There are some apple trees that can grow to more than 40 feet tall and live more than 100 years of age. It takes about 50 leaves producing photosynthesis to produce one apple. Apples are second to oranges in productivity in the U.S.

In colonial times, apples were called winter banana or melt-in-the-mouth. The Lady of Api apple is one of the oldest varieties in existence. Newton Pippin apples were the first apples exported from the U.S. and were sent to Benjamin Franklin in London. The first apple nursery opened in 1730 in New York. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6,500 B.C.

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."

It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider. 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. Sixty-three percent of the 2005 U.S. apple crop was eaten as fresh fruit.

In 2005, 36 percent of apples were processed into apple products; 18.6 percent of this is for juice and cider, 2 percent was dried, 2.5 percent was frozen, 12.2 percent was canned and 0.7 percent was fresh slices. Other uses were the making of baby food, apple butter or jelly and vinegar. The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia. The apple variety Red Delicious is the most widely grown in the United States with 62 million bushels harvested in 2005.

Many apples after harvesting and cleaning have commercial grade wax applied. Waxes are made from natural ingredients. National Apple Month is the only national, generic apple promotion conducted in the United States. Originally founded in 1904 as National Apple Week, it was expanded in 1996 to a three-month promotional window from September through November. On Aug. 21, 2007, the GoldRush apple was designated as the official Illinois' state fruit. The Honeycrisp apple is also the state fruit of Minnesota.

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