Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00

How do Apples grow?

Find out which variety of apple is best for apple pie...click here

 

  • Latin Name:

    Malus domestica rosaceae

  • Growth:

    How do apples grow?

    USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. Click here for USDA Hardiness Zone map.

    Apple trees start to bear fruit from when they are 4 or 5 years old until they are over 50 years old. The tree itself can live for over 80 years.

    Apple trees need a certain number of months of freezing or near freezing temperatures in order to set fruit. Every varieties require their own specific conditions, and there are varieties for almost any climate except extreme cold and tropical.  

    Spring: Leaves emerge, tree blossoms, bees cross-pollinate

    Summer: Blossoms drop petals, form buds where apples grow

    Fall: Apples ripen, leaves fall

    Winter: Buds form for spring

     

    Watch Video: 

  • Propagation:

    How are apples propagated?

    Apples grown from seed produce an consistency of fruit is from tree to tree. Most apples grown commercially are grafted: Branches that have successfully produced masses of tasty and well-shaped apples are grafted onto hardy, disease resistant rootstock.

  • Harvest:

    How are apples harvested?

    Many orchards still hand pick their trees in fall, but large commercial growers use huge machines that shake the trees followed by others that vacuum up the fallen fruit.

    Watch Video: 

     

     

  • Storage:

    How are apples stored?

    Apples are best tored in temperatures that range from 32F to 40F. Apples ripen twice as fast at room temperature (50F-70F).

    Most apples will keep for two to four months if wrapped individually in paper, placed in a box or basket, and stored in the refrigerator or cool cellar.

    If an apple is bruised or contains rotten spots, avoid contact with other apples, and use as soon as possible.

  • History:

    Where do apples come from?

    Apples originated in the Middle East over 4,000 years ago. There is evidence of apples in England and Europe since Roman times. European colonists brought apple seeds with them to North America.

  • Top Producers:

    Which countries produce the most apples?

    China, United States, Turkey, Italy, India, Poland

  • Varieties:

    How many apple varieties are there?

    There are over 7,500 varieties of apples, although only a handful are grown commercially. Different varieties are grown for different uses: cooking, eating or cider production.

    Click here to read about which varieties of apple are best for baking...

  • Products:

    What are some common apple products?

    Apples are commonly used in juice, cider, applesauce, apple butter, tarts, pies, salads, wraps, and entrées.

    How is Apple Cider different from Apple Juice?

    The main difference between apple cider and apple juice is that cider is raw apple juice that has not gone through the select filtration process that apple juice requires. Cider is composed of raw apple juice that contains pulp, coarse particles, and apple sediment.  As it requires fresh apples to make, it’s usually available only in fall after harvest.  The flavor of the cider is dependant on the blending of select apples and whatever, if any, filtration process it undergoes.   Apple juice goes on to have sediment and pulp removed then is pasteurized and vacuum sealed to extend shelf life.  

     Common varieties of apples used for cider include:   Fuji, Red Delicious, Macintosh, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. A mix of varieties produces a more complex flavor or results in either a sweet or a tart cider. The fresher the apple, the crisper the flavor of the cider.

    How apple cider is made at a cider mill

    It takes over 4 pounds of apples to make just 2 pints of apple cider.  There are special machines at the mill that wash, grind and press the apples and another that bottles the cider.

    Once the apples are harvested and brought to the mill, they are washed and ground to a mash the consistency of applesauce.  The layers of mash are covered with cloth and stacked on plastic or wooden racks.  A hydraulic press squeezes down on the layers and the juice is collected in refrigerator tanks at the bottom of the press and then bottled - traditionally in gallon jugs.  

    You can make your own cider

    All you need to make your own cider is a knife, a blender or food processor, cheesecloth and a container for the finished cider.  

    -  Wash the apples thoroughly to be sure they are free of pesticides.

    -  Remove the core of the apple with either a corer or a knife.

     

    -  Slice the apples into quarter pieces and place them into the food processor/blender, leaving the peel on. Continue processing until the apple is ground into a fine mash. The finer the mash, the more juice you’ll extract.

     

    -  Place the cheesecloth over a large container and pour the apple puree into the cloth. The cloth will separate the larger chunks from the juice. Firmly squeeze the cheesecloth to remove excess juice.

     

    For added zing, experiment with spices that will complement the taste of apple cider like lemon juice, lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

     

    For a real treat, especially on a cold, cloudy day, heat the spiced cider to make a nice, hot drink -  or as an added treat that’s sure to warm you, add a shot of rum to the hot cider.

     

    Don’t heat the cider to its boiling point or some of the nutritional value is lost.

     

  • Top Health Benefits:

    What are the health benefits of an apple?

    1 apple = 95 calories

    Removing the peel halves the nutritional benefits.

    One apple provides 14% of daily Vitamin C requirement, plus antioxidants and fiber that prevent inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.

    Apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin that improves lung health. There is a positive correlation between the number of apples eaten per week and lung function. Apples may lower the risk of asthma in young adults.

    Iowa Women’s Health Study(with 34,000 women tracked over 20 years) reported in 2012 that apple eaters were at a lower risk of death from heart and cardiovascular disease than non-apple eaters.

    A Finnish study of 9,000+ men and women tracked over 28 years showed a lower risk of stroke in those who ate apples on a regular basis.

    Joyce Hendley reported in EatingWell Magazine that researchers who analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) data, a survey of eating and health habits, found that people who had eaten apples in any form over the past day were 27 percent less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome than those who didn’t. The apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.