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The apple is a crunchy, fleshy fruit from the apple tree. It is in the species Malus Domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. Grown in orchards, the apple is one of the most grown tree fruits in the world. See the fact file below for more information about apples.
- An apple is an edible fruit that comes from an apple tree.
- Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and there are thousands of varieties.
- They are the most widely grown species in the genus Malus.
- The tree originated in Central Asia thousands of years ago and spread to Europe.
- The apple tree was brought to North America by colonists in the 17th century.
History of the Apple
- The apple is believed to have been domesticated around 4,000–10,000 years ago in the Tian Shan mountains of northwestern China.
- It then traveled along the Silk Road to Europe.
- Chinese soft apples have been cultivated as dessert apples for more than 2,000 years in China.
- There is some evidence, though indirect, that there was cultivation of apples in the Middle East around 3,000 BCE.
- When colonists arrived from England to North America in the 17th century, they brought with them apple seeds to cultivate.
- In 1625, Boston Reverend William Blaxton planted the first North American apple orchard.
- The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called “common apples”.
- Apple varieties became very popular and in 1845, the United States apple nursery catalog sold 350 of the “best” cultivars.
- The apple tree is deciduous, meaning it loses its leaves in the winter each year.
- Apple trees generally stand 2 to 4.5 m (6 to 15 ft) tall in orchards so the fruit is easy to reach, while in the wild a tree can grow as high as 9 m (30 ft).
- When cultivated, the size, shape, and branch density of a tree are determined by the rootstock and how the branches are trimmed.
- The leaves are dark green and oval in shape with serrated edges. They are alternately arranged on a stem.
- Apple blossoms appear in spring, at the same time as new budding leaves and long shoots.
- Flowers are 3 to 4 cm (1 to 1+1⁄2 in) and are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades.
- The fruit contains the seeds and they mature in late summer or fall.
- Apple farmers generally grow the fruit to a diameter of 7 to 8.5 cm (2+3⁄4 to 3+1⁄4 in) in diameter, as this is what consumers like.
- Smaller apples are generally used for making juice or other apple products.
- Depending on the variety, the skin of ripe apples is generally red, yellow, green, or pink.
- Apple varieties are cultivated for different traits, such as size, sweetness or tartness, color, texture, and level of sugar.
- Many apple varieties grow easily from seeds. Bees and other pollinators spread pollen from one tree to the next to fertilize the seeds. The flowers from the same tree cannot fertilize each other.
- To get the desired characteristics, the best way to cultivate them is asexually, i.e. by root cuttings taken from selected parent plants.
- Grafting is another method used in apple cultivation. It involves cutting sections of a branch and attaching them to the rootstock of another plant.
- There are more than 7,500 known cultivars (cultivated varieties) of apples.
- The UK’s National Fruit Collection includes a collection of over 2,000 cultivars of apple trees in Kent, England, alone.
- Depending on the cultivar, the apples are used for eating fresh, cooking, or making cider and apple cider vinegar.
- Cider apples are generally too tart and acidic to eat fresh, but they give the beverage a rich flavor that dessert apples cannot.
- Other desirable qualities in modern commercial apple breeding are a thin, colorful skin, ease of shipping, lengthy storage ability, high yields, disease resistance, common apple shape, and developed flavor.
- Today’s modern apples are generally sweeter than older cultivars, which also are more oddly shaped and textured.
- Old cultivars are mostly found in home gardens and are not grown on a large scale.
- In the past, farmers would store apples in their cold cellars over winter so they could be sold at a later stage. Today, modern refrigeration, low oxygen, and high humidity storage means apples can be stored and transported all year round without their quality being lost.
Diseases and Pests
- Apple trees are susceptible to a number of bacterial and fungal diseases and insect pests such as mildew, aphids and crab scab. Other pests that affect apple trees include moths and maggots.
- Many commercial orchards use chemical sprays to keep the trees and fruit free of pests and disease.
- Organic methods to protect orchards include introducing natural predators like wasps and spiders, or insect-eating birds.
- Among the most serious disease problems is a bacterial disease called fireblight and fungal diseases.
Nutrition and Uses
- A raw apple is about 86% water and 14% carbohydrates. The carbohydrates consist of fiber and sugars.
- All parts of the fruit, including the skin, except for the seeds, are suitable for human consumption. The seeds have a tiny amount of toxins.
- The core, from stem to bottom, containing the seeds, is usually discarded.
- Apples contain vitamin C, B6, and vitamin K, as well as many other antioxidants.
- Apples are also a good source of fiber, copper, and manganese.
- Apples can be consumed in various ways, such as:
- a juice
- raw in salads
- baked in pies
- cooked into sauces and spreads
- apples are also sometimes used as an ingredient in savory foods, such as sausage and stuffing
- as cider and apple cider vinegar
- Several techniques are used to preserve apples and apple products.
- Apples can be canned, dried, or frozen.
- Canned or frozen apples are eventually baked into pies or other cooked dishes.
- Apple juice or cider is bottled.
- Apple juice is often concentrated and frozen. It is used to bulk up other fruit juices.
- Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia.
- In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool.
- Similar treats in the U.S. are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystallized sugar syrup) and caramel apples (coated with cooled caramel).
- Apple seed oil is produced by pressing apple seeds. It is used on manufacturing cosmetics.
Apples and Culture
- Apples feature a lot in ancient mythology and religious beliefs.
- In the mythology of the Vikings, the goddess Iðunn provided apples to the gods that gave them eternal youth.
- In Ancient Greek mythology, apples were symbolized as mystical and forbidden fruit. It was sacred to Aphrodite.
- In Christian art, the apple came to symbolize sin as the devil tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.
- In the Renaissance, the apple symbolized knowledge, immortality, and temptation.
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Apples worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about the apple which is a fleshy fruit from the apple tree. It is in the species Malus Domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. The apple is one of the most grown tree fruits. It is grown in orchards.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Apple Facts
- Apple Facts Decoded
- The Origin – Idun’s Fruits
- The First Apples
- Deli-Apple – Apples Explained
- Apple Delights
- Apple Variety Wordsearch
- Creative Apple
- The Apple’s Life
- Answer Key
Frequently Asked Questions
How many apples are grown every year?
In 2019, around 87 million tonnes of apples were produced. China accounted for 49% of this, while the US and Turkey followed.
Are apple seeds poisonous?
Apple seeds contain a compound called cyanogenic glycoside. In very large doses it can cause a reaction, but a few seeds in an apple are not harmful.
Why are apples good for you?
Apples contain healthy sugars and fiber which is important for digestion. They are also a good source of vitamin C, B6, and K.
How are apples produced?
Apples are grown in orchards. The trees are specially-bred cultivars from grafting or rootstock and are trained into shapes to make it easier to harvest the fruit and maximize space.
What is the oldest apple variety?
In the US, one of the oldest varieties is the Lady apple. In England, the Pearmain variety was documented in 1204. It’s possible that the oldest variety of modern apple is the Annurca from Italy, which goes back to the year 79 CE.
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Link will appear as Apple Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 29, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
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