National Apple Day 2020: History, Fun Facts About The Healthy Fruit
National Apple Day is celebrated on Oct. 21 every yearApples are part of the rose familyApples are not originally from the U.S. and can be traced as back as 6500 BC.
Wednesday marks the National Apple Day in the United States. A charity organization in the United Kingdom first started observing the day back in 1990 and the trend gradually found its way to the U.S.
Apples are not just popular for their flavors, but for their nutritional content. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and various antioxidants.
Here are some amusing facts about apples that you probably didn’t know:
Apple is a member of the rose family!
Botanists reclassified apple trees as subfamilies under the Rose family in the early 1900s. Robert Frost even has a poem about it which he wrote in 1927:
The Rose Family
The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
what will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose —
But were always a rose.
The Rose family, called Rosacea, also includes spirea, plums, pears, cherries, peaches and strawberries.
So, are roses edible? As a matter of fact they are! Rose hips are a good source of vitamins. People make jam from roses.
Ancient Greeks’ love for apples
There are multiple references to apples in the Greek epic poem “Odyssey.” One of Homer’s lines goes, “pear trees and pomegranate trees and apple trees,” and “rows of green, all kinds, and these are lush.”
Not only the Greeks, the British and Russian royal families too were fond of the “forbidden fruit.”Henry VII used to spend a lot of money on apples, even if their high price tag would only get him a single piece of the fruit. Henry VIII maintained an orchard in Kent. That sounded standard, right? It turned out he imported French gardeners to exclusively look after the apples. Catherine the Great used to wrap apples in authentic silver paper. Queen Victoria had a favorite – baked apples.
Just one native species
Even though 50 states in the U.S. are growing apples today, the only native species is the crabapple. Archeologists say human beings have been eating apples since at least 6500 B.C. They first grew in an area between the Black and Caspian Seas or in Kazakhstan.
The first pilgrims who settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony were said to be the ones to bring apples to the U.S. It was Johnny Appleseed who made them popular across the states. The missionary distributed apple seeds to people in Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia. The first apple nursery in the country was opened in Flushing, New York, in 1730.
The Pippin apples were the first to be exported from the country in 1768. Some of these apples were said to have reached Benjamin Franklin in London.
The heaviest apple weighed 4 pounds. Chisato Iwasaki got it from his farm in Hirosaki City, Japan, on Oct. 24, 2005.
The world’s largest apple peel was made by Kathy Wafler Madison on Oct. 16, 1976. It was 172 in length. She made it when she was just 16 years old. Interestingly, she grew up to be a sales manager for an apple tree nursery.
“Oldest apple tree” in the Pacific Northwest
An apple tree in Vancouver, Washington, which was planted in 1826, is thought to be the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. Though it produced fruits that actually tasted bitter, the region considered it the matriarch of its bustling apple industry. People used its fruits mainly for baking.
The apple tree died in June this year at 194 years of age, Charles Ray, urban forester for the City of Vancouver, told CNN. It is believed that a Royal Navy Lieutenant, Aemilius Simpson, was the one who brought the apple seed to the Pacific Northwest.
“The Old Apple Tree is not identical to any other named variety in a worldwide collaborative data set of several thousand apple variety DNA profiles,” Cameron Peace, a professor of tree fruit genetics at Washington State University, told CNN.
The longest-lived apple tree in America was planted in 1647 in a Manhattan, New York, orchard. It died when a derailed train struck it in 1866.