Like the changing color of leaves, cooler temperatures, and football season, it just wouldn’t be fall without these things and autumn’s most prolific fruit—apples. A kitchen mainstay, we use apples in practically everything, from baked pies and cider to juice and candied versions on a stick. But despite all the ways you can stuff, cook, or bake apples, chances are there are some things you don't know about fall’s bountiful harvest. Here, we get to the core of the versatile fruit, divulging 12 interesting and random facts you might not know about apples.
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The United States grows an estimated 2,500 varieties of apples, yet apples aren’t the most popular fruit in the country. Bananas, as it turns out, win the produce popularity contest in the U.S. However, apples come in a close second, taking home the prize of fall’s favorite fruit. While Red Delicious apples are the most widely grown of all the apple varieties, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples join the ranks of favorites among consumers.
Picking Apples is Good for Your Health
Here’s to picking for good health. Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin and flavonoids that help to lower cholesterol and clear arteries, making them a heart-healthy fruit. Thanks to the presence of boron, apples are a great food source for improving mental alertness and strengthening bones. And there’s a reason why dentists (along with physicians) recommend apples. They’re useful for getting rid of plaque, and they contain a chemical that aids in dissolving teeth stains after drinking coffee or other dark-colored drinks. Not to mention, apples don't have any fat, cholesterol, or sodium, and most importantly, they’re also a good source of fiber. In fact, a medium-sized apple with the skin has about 4.5 grams of fiber. With the peel offering a bulk of the fiber and antioxidants, you can put down the Benefiber and just grab a crispy apple (or two)!
There’s Some Truth to the Common Expression About Apples
As mentioned above, there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S. Numerically speaking, if you ate each kind of apple a day, it would keep the doctor away for almost seven years. The average person, though, eats 65 apples per year.
As American as Apple Pie
It doesn’t get more American than apple pie, or does it? We appreciate the patriotic symbolism, but the U.S. doesn’t lay claim to the origin of apples. The first apple tree actually originated millions of years ago in Central Asia. While apples are grown in all 50 states, there’s only one type native to the U.S.—the crabapple. It's the smaller, slightly tart, kindred cousin of apples.
More Than a Few Good Apples When Baking
We hate to break tradition, but Granny Smith and Crispin apples aren’t the only good apples of the bunch to use when baking. Any hard, firm apple will bake perfectly in a delicious apple pie or crisp dessert. The exception being Red Delicious because its texture doesn't allow it to hold up well in the oven.
Make Your Own Tangy Beverage with Apples
If you’re fermenting vegetables right now, you might as well add fruits to the list, particularly apples. Apples can be fermented into hard apple cider or any other homemade alcoholic beverage, including cocktails and wine.
You Need This Many Apples
Speaking of cider, it takes about 36 apples to make a gallon. For one nine-inch apple pie, you’ll need about two pounds of apples.
Apples are in Good Company
Apples are part of the rose family along with plums, peaches, and pears.
The Shelf Life of Apples
Apples can last for months in the refrigerator, but only for a few days when left out on the kitchen countertop. In fact, apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature. As far as that shiny appearance we’ve all come to love about apples, the wax is applied after they’ve been harvested to make them not only look appealing, but also to block bacteria and slow down their ripening.
Sink or Swim?
Ever wonder why apples are the preferred choice for barrel bobbing? It’s because apples are 25 percent air, making them perfect for floating in water and, apparently, grabbing with only your mouth and head submerged under water.
Just Like Colors, Apples Come in a Variety of Sizes
Apples can be as small as a cherry or as big as a grapefruit. A medium apple is about 30 calories, with the average apple containing about 10 seeds.
So Healthy and Delicious, You’ll Want to Eat the Entire Thing
No, really. You can eat an entire apple right down to the core. Eating an apple from the top down makes it easier to eat the edible core and seeds. It’s totally up to you. But keep in mind that every bite counts, literally. Throwing away the core wastes anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the apple, but you can take a tiny step towards combating food waste problem by eating the whole thing instead.
If all this information is making you hungry, check out these recipes to get your apple fix. Now, you can consider yourself more in the know the next time you bite into a firm Red Delicious apple or bake an apple pie.