The apple tree is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a fruit tree, and is the most widely grown species in the genus Malus.
Grown in temperate zones around the world, apples have existed as a wild fruit since prehistoric times and have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years.
The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. The ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans and Egyptians were among its early cultivators.
There are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples.
The most popular Ontario-grown apple varieties are:
- Cortland: bright red with yellow cheek
- Crispin (or Mutsu): greenish-yellow exterior with an orange blush
- Empire: dark red, blush with a splash of yellow or green
- Golden Delicious: yellow or greenish-yellow exterior, elongated shape, five bumps on bottom
- Honey Crisp: red, uniform colour, one of the most cold-hardy of apple varieties
- Idared: bright red with greenish-yellow patches
- McIntosh: a deep red color with a green background
- Northern Spy: red-striped skin with green color. Northern Spy is the number 1 baking apple
- Red Delicious: deep red, elongated shaped and five bumps on bottom.
- Spartan: dark red skin.
Other Ontario-grown varities include: Jerseymac, Quinte, Paulared, Golden Russett, Jonagold and a variety of others
In 2014, the top 3 apple producers (measured in tonnes ) were:
1. China (40.9 million tonnes)
2. United States (5.2 million tonnes)
3. Poland (3.2 million tonnes)
Canada (443,500 tonnes) was #31 on the list.
1 serving of apples = 1 medium apple (140 g)
- contains approximately 80 calories
- source of Fibre and Vitamin C
BUYING AND STORING
- Choose firm, well-coloured apples with a fresh fragrance; skins should be smooth and free of bruises, wrinkles gouges.
- Store apples in a cool, dark place.
- Small amounts can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and will keep for up to one month.
- Larger quantities should be kept in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Cover loosely with plastic to keep humidity in the apple container.
- Remove any apples that are overripe or have soft spots because they give off ethylene gas causing nearby apples to ripen too quickly and spoil. You can use overripe apples for pies or applesauce.
- Eaten raw
- Baked or stewed
- Fermented to make cider and vinegar
- Sliced and dried
- Simmered into applesauce
- Baked into pies, cakes, muffins, dumplings, cobblers, and crumbles
- Added to salads
- Made into apple butter or apple jelly
- Cooked into meat dishes
- Made into candy apples and caramel apples
- Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
- Apple trees can live for more than 100 years.
- Apple seeds contain a cyanide compound.
- The average person eats 65 apples each year.
- 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air; that’s why they float.
- Wikipedia (May 2017). Apple. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple
- Foodland Ontario. Apples. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/food/apples
- Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Nutrition Facts. Retrieved from http://www.cpma.ca/pdf/HealthNutrition/NFTENJuly2016.pdf
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT Data. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data
- Tyler Herbst, Sharon. (2001). The New Food Lover’s Companion (3rd ed.). New York: Barron’s Educational Series.