Among the most popular fruits in the world, apples grow everywhere from the United States to China and points in between. China is the largest producer of apples, with the United States second and Turkey third. Grown primarily in areas with long periods of cool to cold weather, apple trees require temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit for the fruit to properly set. Apple trees thrive in full sun with regular water as fruit develops.
In the United States, Washington state, New York and Michigan are the prime commercial growing areas. Thousands of varieties of apples exist, and trees take about five years to produce fruit.
Developed in New Zealand in 1952, the Braeburn apple is believed to be a cross between the Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith varieties. This average-sized apple has a skin that may be red or green-gold mixed with red, and the flesh is firm. Known as a good baking apple, the Braeburn, sweet and tart, is also a good eating apple.
The Braeburn apple is ready for harvest late in the season, between November and April.
Developed in Japan in 1962, the Fuji apple is a cross between the Ralls Janet and Red Delicious varieties. The apples were introduced to the United States in 1982 and are among the best-selling apples in the country. The skin of a Fuji apple is yellow-green with red on the sun side. Fuji apples are good for baking and eating and have firm, crisp flesh with a slightly acidic flavor.
The Fuji apple is ready for harvest late in the season, between October and January.
One of the older varieties of apples, the McIntosh originated in Canada in 1798 and, before the introduction of new hybrids like Fuji and Gala, was among the most popular apples in the American marketplace. The McIntosh apple has a deep, red skin that may have patches of green, while the flesh is tender and fragrant. This apple is sweet but slightly acidic in taste.
The MacIntosh apple is ready for harvest in the middle of the season, between September and December.