We all love to eat apples in one form or another. Mostly it is the apple pie form that we are fond of, but snagging a fresh one off the tree is tasty, too. But, just where did the apple come from? It didn’t appear out of nowhere to land in our ovens inside a golden brown crust.
The scientific name for the apple is Malus domestica. This name describes most common types of apples. The apple is a fall fruit. In spring, flowers begin to spring forth on the trees. They are white and pink with five petals. Eventually the petals fall off so the apples can begin to grow.
The fruit is picked in the fall as they ripen. With proper pollination and fertilization, each year’s crop will produce more apples than the last. You don’t need an orchard to enjoy a fresh picked apple. One tree will yield enough apples for a single family to eat and share.
The apple tree did not originate in America but in Asia. It is believed that apple trees predate other fruit trees in being cultivated for human consumption. Early wild apples were small and didn’t taste very good. The Romans learned to turn this “wild child” into a civilized type that people could eat. The results were varieties similar to what we eat today. They were sweet and had white flesh that was tasty
Alexander the Great is credited with introducing the Grecian society to dwarf apples. On one of his campaigns into Asia Minor, he brought back these trees. Apples were viewed as special treats.
Colonists brought the apple to America when they first settled here. They couldn’t bring trees on the long sea voyage from England so they carried seeds instead. The seeds were planted and flourished as apple seeds.
The Romans experimented with the apple to create several new varieties. They were not the only ones. American botanists worked to change the apple as well. Today, there are over 7,500 varieties of apples across the world.
The most memorable story of apple cultivation is that of Johnny Appleseed. He is kind of an American folk hero. He made it his life’s work to bring the beauty and taste of the apple to people all across America. Wherever he went, he taught people how to grow apple trees and tend their own orchards. Thanks to him, the industry grew.
Apples are eaten the world over. Each country had their favorites that they deem worthy of “apple sainthood.” It has earned a place in fruit history.