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All About Apples

Apples originated in the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan thousands of years ago. The domestic apple tree (Malus Domestica) is a member of the rose family of plants, with pears, peaches, plums, and cherries. The science of apple growing is called pomology. At last count, there are more than 7,500 varieties worldwide, with 2,500 grown in the USA in 36 states.

North American apple harvesting began with the settlers at Jamestown in 1607 from European seeds. While the original varieties planted were not all suited for cultivation in the New World, their seeds began to produce all-new American varieties. Many of these were bitter but played an essential purpose in the early production of apple cider in the colonies.

Thomas Jefferson is considered the founding father of the United States. He is also known for his love of food and was personally responsible for the popular Fuji apple brought to the United States. As the story goes, the French minister to the United States gave Thomas Jefferson a gift of apple cuttings, which, when cultivated, became the variety of apple known as the "Ralls Genet." In 1939, Japanese apple breeders crossed the genes from the classic Red Delicious apple variety with Jefferson's Ralls Genet, resulting in the Fuji apple.

Despite its iconic place in American culture, the apple is no longer America's favorite fruit. Over the last 40 years, banana consumption has surpassed the apple. Today Americans eat an average of 28 pounds of bananas per year, compared to an average of 19 pounds of apples.

Most apples are still picked by hand, and it takes about 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider.

It is interesting to note that 25 percent of an apple's volume is air, allowing them to float. They are not the perfect food for the Vata dosha (cold, dry, light & mobile) because of this, unless when they are cooked.

Apples are low in calories and free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and are rich in fiber and antioxidants. They contain potassium, folate, niacin, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.

Eating apples have been associated with a lower risk of various cancers, stroke, and diabetes. These nutritional powerhouses may also help protect the brain from developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and even lower a person's risk of tooth decay.

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