Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 172: Apples

This past weekend, my sister, BIL and niece came up for our annual sojourn to Eplegaarden, a local “selv-pluk” apple orchard. In addition to a good-sized orchard, they also have fields of pumpkins, strawberries and raspberries, wagon rides, and a variety of apple products sold inside the store. Here are thirteen facts about apples, along with a few photos from the day.

1. Alexander the Greek is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Asia Minor in 300 BCE.

2. There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples—2,500 in the US alone. Some of the most popular varieties include McIntosh, Jonathon, Cortland, Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.

3. Around 55 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with an estimated value of $10 billion. China is the top producer, followed by the United States, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

4. In the US, around 60% of all apples sold commercially are grown in Washington state. The top five states after that are New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Viginia. Many farms and orchards allow visitors to pick their own fruit.

5. The largest exporters of apples in 2006 were China, Chile, Italy, France, and the US. The biggest importers were Russia, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands.

6. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia, as well as the US and Argentina since the arrival of Europeans. Until the 20th century, apples were stored in frost-proof cellars during the winter for personal use or late winter sales. Apples kept at room temperature ripen 6 to 10 times faster than those that are refrigerated.

7. Apples were first brought to North America with colonists in the 17th century. The first apple orchard is said to have been near Boston in 1625. Apples are a member of the rose family.

8. Apple seeds are mildly poisonous, especially to birds, though not dangerous to humans.

9. According to Guinness World Records, the heaviest apple known weighed in at four pounds one ounce, and was grown in Hirosaki, Japan in 2005.

10. Oral allergy syndrome is an allergic reaction some people experience due to the birch pollen left on some apples. Because the pollen is the main irritant, only raw apples cause the allergic reaction. Cooking neutralizes proteins in the pollen, rendering them harmless to those who are sensitive. This reaction is also common in peaches and hazelnuts.

11. The proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” dates back to 19th century Wales. Research suggests apples may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colon, prostrate and lung. They may also help with heart disease, cholesterol, and weight loss.

12. Apples are prominent in both Greek and Norse mythology. Popular Greek myths include the stories of Atalanta, whose suitor won her hand by distracting her in a race with three golden apples, and Eris, who was so displeased with being excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, she threw a golden apple into the wedding party inscribed, “For the most beautiful one,” which eventually caused the Trojan War. In Norse mythology, the goddess Idunn’s apples gave the gods eternal life.

13. Though not identified, the apple is often believed to be the fruit that brought about Adam and Eve’s downfall in the Garden of Eden. Popular belief credits this thinking to the fact that many Renaissance painters added elements of Greek mythology into biblical scenes. Also, the Latin words for “apple” and “evil” are similar in singular forms (malus—apple, malum—evil) and the same, mala, in the plural.

I leave you with this quote accredited to Plato:

I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.

LINKS TO OTHER THURSDAY THIRTEENS:(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)
Elise Logan * Darla M Sands * Adelle Laudan
Alice Audrey * Kimberly Menozzi * Paige Tyler
Janice Seagraves * Maddy Barone
Shelley Munro * KS Manning * Jeanne St James

More Thursday Thirteen participants


Alice Audrey said...

I had no idea China grew apples at all.

Heather said...

Alice: Well, why not? Just about everything else is produced in China these days. (Who, me, cynical? Not at all... *snort*)

Kimberly Menozzi said...

And one more slightly trivial tidbit:
The Italian word for "apple" isn't so far from the Latin: "Mela" (singular) or "Mele" (plural).

I looove apples, btw. Now I know what I need to get tons of this weekend! :)

Happy TT!

Adelle Laudan said...

There's a place here called, The Apple Barn. They open their doors in September and sell every kind of apple imaginable from their orchards. Plus, they have a bakery on site. Walking into that place is heavenly. Happy T13!

Darla M Sands said...

Very eye opening. Thank you. I love the gala apple. It's my favorite.

Paige Tyler said...

Interesting facts! Love apples! In art school, we did this really cool still life of them in oil painting class.


My TT is at

Heather said...

Kimberly: Great bit of trivia, thanks for sharing. Here's hoping you get your apples this weekend!

Adelle: Mmmm...I can almost smell the hunger-inducing aromas. Does any place smell more like heaven than a bakery?

Heather said...

Darla: Gala are a favorite of mine and my sister, too. Red Delicious are a close second.

Paige: Apples have always been a popular subject in art, no matter what the medium.

Elise Logan said...

you know the cool thing about apples? If you actually grow apple trees from seed, they will be completely and totally different varieties from their parent trees. Which is why grafting is necessary to propagate a specific variety.

Shelley Munro said...

It's interesting how they're continually creating new species of apples. I loved the photos. All of a sudden I want an apple.

CountryDew said...

I had no idea Virginia was a top US apple producer. One of my close friends runs an orchard.

Jana said...

Very cool facts on the apples, Trix.

All these apples are making me hungry for apple pie. I see baking in my near future. ;-)

K.S. Manning said...

Just want to let you know anticipating this post all day made me have to go by the grocery store on my way home to pick up apples. Thanks. :)

Heather said...

Elise: I did read something about that in my research. And, not only are the "offspring" different than the parents, you can't just plant one tree, you have to plant two as they need to be cross-pollinated.

Shelley: Glad you liked the pics. I'd offer to share my apples, but I don't think airmail would be good for them. *g*

Anita: I was surprised to see what the top states adn countries were. Hope your friend lives close enough for you to visit that orchard often!

Heather said...

Jana: pie. Now you've got me hungry for some, LOL!

KS: Aww...sorry 'bout that. At least it had you pining for something healthy! *WG*

Jennifer Leeland said...

Oh I love this.
I didn't know the two words "apple" and "evil" were close in Latin!

Heather said...

Jennifer: A cool and interesting fact, no? *g*