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Apples – An Apple a Day

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Oh for the love of apples. There is something quite refreshing about the sound of biting into a firm apple. There ought to be a noticeable audible crunchy sound as your teeth glide through the crisp, creamy-white flesh. Did you happen to know that there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States… 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world??? Well, shiver me timbers. Why is it that I typically only eat about eight varieties? I need to expand my horizons.

green apples in a white colander


I am here to explain the birds and the bees (pun intended) of pollination. Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains, the male sex cells of a flower, from the anther where they are produced to the receptive surface, or stigma, of the female organ of a flower. Seems quite simple right?

The apple tree’s ability to cross-pollinate is important. They greatly benefit from cross-pollination which means they need another tree to produce fruit. Trees of the same variety will not cross-pollinate, so it is common to see multiple trees of different varieties planted together to help increase the amount of fruit the tree bears every year. Keep in mind, in order to have pollination you have to have blossoms.

In come the honey bees. They are also an important part of the pollination process. Since Bob and I have become orchardists, I have come to develop a whole new appreciation for bees. They are good pollinators for many reasons. Their hairy bodies trap pollen and carry it between flowers. The bees require large quantities of nectar and pollen to rear their young, and they visit flowers regularly in large numbers to obtain these foods.


Just like any other fruit or vegetable, harvesting apples at just the right time is key, it ensures the highest quality fruit and maximizes the storage life. Each variety of apple has its own maturation time and can be dependent upon weather conditions during the growing season. If you run out of patience and prematurely pick an apple, you will be left with a fruit that is sour, starchy, and generally unpalatable. Wait too long, and it will result in a soft and mushy fruit. There is always that “sweet spot” isn’t there?

Apples are hand-picked. To do so, gently remove the apples from the tree, keeping the stem intact. Once done collecting the apple, be sure to separate any damaged ones because apples emit ethylene gas, which hastens ripening. Damaged apples give off ethylene more quickly and can literally cause a batch to spoil. You may also want to keep some distance between stored apples and other produce, as the ethylene gas will accelerate the ripening of other fruits and vegetables. Did you know that apples stored in commercial refrigerated storage will keep for four to six months and long-term storage for up to twelve months? Makes you look at that apple in the grocery store a little bit differently, doesn’t it?


Uses of the Whole Apple Tree

The Apple Itself

Apple Tree Wood

  • Apple tree wood is used to make applewood chips for the barbecue, using the limbs, twigs or stump. These wood chips penetrate food during grilling to give them a rich, smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness.
  • Mix applewood chips into the soil as a nutrient-rich feeder for your garden.
  • Applewood chips can be used as a mulch as well.
  • You can line your pathways or garden borders with applewood chips for aesthetic value.
  • Large pieces of wood from the apple tree are used to create furniture or accents on existing furniture, such as tables, decorative handles, cabinet doors, dishware (applewood is dense and durable), chairs, bars, and mirror frames.

In a Raw Recipe Application

peeling-a-green-appleShould I Peel my Apples?

Quickly, I respond, “Heck no!” Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel. Antioxidants help to reduce damage to cells, which can trigger some diseases. BUT if you are eating conventionally grown apples, then I would recommend peeling them. This will reduce the number of pesticides you take into your body.

As I mentioned above, there are 7,500 different types of apples in the world, but due to time (cough), I am only going to touch base on a few. Haha, I am sure you can understand.







Golden Delicious

Granny Smith



Red Delicious


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