Apple. I think of the red, green or yellow fruit that we can pick from apple trees and eat with the skin on. I think of home made apple pies smelling deliciously of cinnamon and warm apples. I think of Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden, and I think of Snow White and how she had died of eating an apple, if it weren’t for Prince Charming.
I dare to claim that everyone knows the look and taste of an apple. It is not unusual to bring an apple to school, or to have an apple after workout.
Archaeologists have found evidence that people have been eating apples since at least 6 500 B.C.
But what else is there to know about the apple?
The Native Apple Tree
Malus Domestica, which is the scientific name for apple, originated in the Middle East and Central Asia.
As most of us probably know, apples grow on trees. And, according to research done by horticulturists of the United States Department of Agriculture, the species of wild apples, that could be an ancestor of today’s domesticated apples, come from apple trees in Kazakhstan, Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia.
“The apple trees in this region are believed to be ancestral because they retain a robust, undifferentiated genome. They appear robust because many of them have not yet lost their disease resistances through generations of genome thinning by artificial selection. They appear undifferentiated because they retain the potential to be bred back out into varieties like those that are spread around the world today. In that way they are similar to wolves, which are representative of ancestral dogs.”
A Worldwide Production
Apples are available year-round and are grown all over the world. The world’s top apple producers are China, the United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy. Apple production is commonly associated with cooler climates, but the temperature is not a limiting factor to cultivation. Several popular varieties of apples, like ‘Gala’, ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Golden Delicious’, grow in hot, tropical environments, like South Africa, Central America and Australia. Most apples can also be grown farther north than other fruits, because they blossom late in spring, which minimizes frost damage.
There are 7,500 different varieties of apples throughout the world.
Other things you might didn’t know about the apple:
- Apples float because 25 % of their volume is air.
- In Colonial times in the U.S., the apple was better known as a “winter banana” or “melt-in-the-mouth”.
- The science of apple growing is called pomology.
- The apple is a member of the rose family.
- Apples account for 50 % of the world’s deciduous fruit tree production.
Source: University of Illinois Extension
Which apple is your favourite?