Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the United States. They can be found everywhere, from bakeries to science textbooks. It’s hard not to love the delicious fruit! Here you’ll learn some apple facts that are fun and useful: facts about apple varieties, facts about apples in culture, and facts about apple science.
Facts about Apple Varieties
Over 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States. Few are as popular as the well-known Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Red Delicious varieties. Some types are better for baking, others are great for making cider, and others are perfect for an afternoon snack. Here are some of the most interesting facts about apple varieties.
- Some apple varieties have red flesh instead of white. While popular varieties such as Red Delicious and Honeycrisp are red on the outside and white on the inside, this isn’t the case for all apples. Some apple varieties such as Pink Pearl and Kissabel have flesh that ranges from pink or orange to bright red. Some of these apples are even yellow or green on the outside and red on the inside.
- A real-life Granny Smith discovered the apple now known as Granny Smith. Mary Ann Smith from Australia discovered the apple tree in her backyard and began cultivating the now-popular variety. That was in the late 1800s, so the variety has come a long way since then. Granny Smith apples are the classic green apple. They are a delicious sweet and sour option for baking or snacking.
- The Red Delicious apple tree was discovered in Iowa. It might be the most commonly known out of all 2,500 varieties in North America. This variety is one of the most picturesque apples with a beautiful bright red color. It started as an apple tree growing from a runaway seed in the wrong spot. The farmer let the tree grow, and it led to some of the most well-known apples today.
- Here’s an apple fact for you, Peruvian Apples aren’t actually apples. They’re the red or yellow fruit of the Peruvian Apple Cactus. These ‘apples’ are sweet and said to taste similar to dragonfruit.
- Crabapple trees are the only truly native apple trees in North America. While apples are commonly grown in the United States, it only has a few native fruits. Crabapples were once called common apples. The small, sour crabapple will pucker your mouth but can be made into delicious crabapple jelly.
- It took over 30 years to develop the Honeycrisp apple. Honeycrisp is a popular apple variety grown in Minnesota. It was developed by researchers from the University of Minnesota. The sweet, aromatic Honeycrisp has soared in popularity over the last decade.
- Ever wondered how the Apple company got its name? The technology company purportedly got its name when Steve Jobs came back from an apple orchard. Something about the name just clicked.
- The largest apple ever grown was a Japanese Hokuto apple that reached just over 4 pounds. For reference, the average eating apple weighs about 1/3 of a pound. This record-breaking fruit was over 12 times that size!
- What apple is the best for cider? Cortland, Gala, and Braeburn are common varieties that are juiced for cider. One apple makes about 1/3 of a cup of apple juice, so it can take as much as 20 pounds of apples to make one gallon of apple cider.
Apple Facts: In Culture
Apples are known for so much more than eating. They’re commonly featured in art, literature, and mythology. Here you will learn the fascinating facts about apples in art and culture.
- In Greek mythology, apples are regarded as precious and sometimes magical. Legends such as that of the golden apple that would be given to the fairest goddess use the apple as a symbol for knowledge and immortality.
- A giant apple-shaped building known as Mr. Applehead in Colborne, Ontario is the largest apple structure in the world. It has an observatory on top, and visitors can climb up for views of the countryside.
- Apple bobbing is a traditional game played around Halloween. In this game, contestants compete to pick an apple out of a tub of water using only their teeth. The trick to this challenging game is said to be anchoring the fruit against something like the side of the tub and then biting.
- Dr. Seuss has a counting book called Ten Apples Up On Top. The book is about animal friends trying to balance more and more apples on their heads. This hilarious book will entertain children everywhere.
- Michigan and Arkansas both claim apple blossoms as the state flower. These and many other states celebrate annual apple festivals. Visit one of these festivals to pick your own apples, learn more about apples, or drink some fresh cider.
- The apple is a common symbol of education. In the 18th century, families in the United States and parts of Europe would give hard-working local teachers freshly picked apples to supplement their low wages. Now, apples are a delicious and practical gift to show appreciation for a teacher.
- New York is commonly referred to as the “Big Apple.” Some say the term was popularized by a writer for the New York Morning Telegraph, who would call horse racing prizes as “big apples.” Others say the term just refers to the best and biggest places to be. Once an advertising campaign to bring more tourists to New York picked up on it, the name was stuck for good.
- Apple pie is said to be the most iconic dessert in the United States. Apple pie contests are one of the staples at many county fairs. Apples are grown all over the country and made into many types of food. While apple cider and fresh apples are delicious, nothing can beat a warm apple pie.
- You have likely heard the term “a bushel” before. Bushels are a basket used as a measure for produce. It’s generally agreed that a bushel of apples weighs between 42 pounds and 48 pounds. This equals about 8 gallons of apples.
Facts about Apple Science
Learn all about fruit science with these scientific apple facts. You’ve probably heard the famous saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While this saying might not be entirely accurate,apples do contribute to science and medicine in many ways.
- Apple blossoms and seeds contain trace amounts of a compound that can be metabolized into cyanide, a poison. While this isn’t dangerous to humans, make sure your cats and dogs don’t eat too many apple cores.
- Scientists that study and cultivate apples are called pomologists. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to introduce yourself?
- It takes the photosynthetic energy from 10-50 leaves to produce one apple. The exact amount depends on the type of apple, size of the leaf, and amount of sun that the tree gets. It takes many leaves converting solar energy to chemical energy for just one apple.
- Apples are from the rose family. They are related to almonds, peaches, and of course, roses. The rose family is characterized by medium-sized flowering plants that often produce some sort of fruit.
- While apple trees need bees for pollination, bees actually get very little nectar from the tree compared to other flowers such as dandelions. If you see bees by apple trees, look closely. You might see yellow or orange specks of pollen on the bee. These pollen grains get transferred from flower to flower.
- If an apple has fewer seeds on one side than the other, it will be lopsided. These apples are still delicious to eat and can be fun to see, but often orchards toss them aside due to imperfection. Check imperfect produce bins at local produce stores or orchards, and you might find a few lopsided apples to take home for less!
- Apples helped Isaac Newton make groundbreaking discoveries about gravity. Clearly, Newton wanted to learn facts about an apple too. There’s a myth that one of the fruits fell on his head, leading him to think of gravity. His biography states that seeing apples always falling down did help him ponder gravitation, but doesn’t mention the fruit actually falling on his head.
- While many are disgusted at the idea of a “bad apple,” usually the squirming worms in the fruit are actually larvae. Grubs or maggots grow up inside the apple – it’s a home and a snack!
- Full-sized apple trees take 5 to 8 years to produce. It’s a commitment, but the wait is worth it once the tree produces delicious fruit for baking and eating.
What fun facts did you learn about apples? Next time you bite into an apple, remember all these fun facts about the tasty fruit.