The apple's history goes back as far as the Garden of Eden when Eve first offered Adam an apple. Greek mythology frequently mentions apples, and of course there's the familiar tale of William Tell, the Swiss national hero known for shooting an apple off his son's head using a crossbow. Apples have been depicted in art and literature for thousands of years, and they're still popular fruits today for growing and eating.
The apple (Malus domestica) is a pomaceous fruit, meaning it's produced by flowering plants. The apple is in the rose (Rosacae) family. While some apples are almost perfectly round, others have a narrower bottom and are more rounded at the top. There is a small hollow cavity, containing an attached stem, on the top of an apple; some have knobby lobes on their bottom side. Apples are known for their firm, smooth and shiny skin that come in colors including shades of red, green and yellow, as well combinations of these three colors. The flesh of an apple is white or ivory.
Apples have a long shelf life, meaning they don't rot as quickly as other fruits. These fruits are easily shipped and disease resistant. They also have many health benefits as they contain a plant pigment known as phloridzin, which helps increase bone density. The pectin in apples helps lower bad cholesterol and supplies the body with galacturonic, a sugar acid that helps to decrease the need for insulin in managing diabetes. Eating apples also help prevent several types of cancer.
Apple Peel Benefits
Apples offer more nutrition when they eaten with the peel left on. In addition to containing many antioxidants, an apple peel contains about 66 percent of the fruit's fiber. Antioxidants are useful in reducing cell damage which can cause some diseases.
Since 1923 the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been setting grades for apples. Apples receive a grade (or number) based on their size. The largest apple has a grade of 48 and weighs 13.3 ounces; the smallest is 216 and weighs 3 ounces, according to the U.S. Apple website. For example, 48 large apples can fit into a carton, and 216 small apples would fit into the same carton.
According to Mahoo.com, about 60 million tons of apples are produced worldwide each year. Apples are grown mostly in northern or temperate climates. The two top states for producing apples in America are Washington and New York, although China still leads the United States in producing apples by a considerable margin. France, Germany and Italy are Europe's top three apple producing countries.
Roughly 8,000 varieties of apples or more are grown in the United States, according to Mahalo.com. Some of the most popular types include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Granny Smith apples.
Red Delicious apples are used for snacking and baking. Golden Delicious apples, which are not related to the Red Delicious variety, are sweet, juicy and somewhat egg-shaped. McIntosh apples, which have both red and green tones, have a pleasantly sweet taste and a crunchy bite and are good for both baking and eating. Granny Smith apples are slightly tart and used for snacking and baking.