October is National Apple Month

Sunday, October 9, 2022

According to the Washington Apple Commission, there are 7500 cultivated varieties of apples in the world; 2,500 of them are grown in the United States.  But you certainly will not find that many choices in your local grocery store!!!  Publix carries only a teeny, tiny portion of them.  We know this because we made it a point to go look!!!  They do however have a nice assortment of Apple Juice, Apple Cider (both Sweet and Hard), and either Sparkling Apple Cider or Sparkling Apple Juice.  But they do not stock Applejack; we had to make a special trip to the liquor store for that!!!

At this time of year, apples dominate a supermarket’s produce section.
Our local Publix is very helpful by providing, along with the apples, a perfect caramel dipping sauce.
Or, if creating your own caramel apple is too time-consuming, you can pick-up pre-dipped apples for immediate consumption!!!
But the ultimate time-saver is pre-sliced apples!!! And if you buy the right composition, even the caramel sauce is included.
Apple cider is the juice pressed from apples (either Hard which fermented, or Sweet which is unfermented.)
(Autumn decorations in a Wegman’s Grocery Store by Jpesch95, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Apple juice is made from pressed or macerated apples whose juice is clarified. Today, the juice is clarified and pasteurized for commercial sales.
Sparkling ciders or juices are made by simply adding carbonation.
And then there’s applejack. It’s the liquid remaining after fermented cider is frozen. It’s very potent–90-proof!!! Laird’s is the oldest, continuously operating distillery in America with US license #1 issued in 1780!!!

So now you’re wondering, “What’s the point here?”  Right???

Well, this is National Apple Month!!!  Yes, the entire month of October is dedicated to apples!!!   

What is so special about apples that they merit an entire month of honor?  Mmmmm, where do we begin? 

Approximately 750,000 years ago, the early Paleolithic food-gatherers in what is now Kazakhstan (central Asia, east of the Caspian Sea) discovered sour crabapples growing wild in the forest.  By 1500BC apple seeds could be found all over Europe.  In 800BC, Ancient Greeks learned grafting techniques.  By 200BC there were apple orchards all over Britain.  And at some point in time, humans learned to ferment apples.  The very first reference to apple cider was recorded in 55BC when Julius Caesar invaded Britain and discovered the native Celts were fermenting crabapples.  Preserved by the ash of Vesuvius’ eruption in 79AD, it was later discovered that the people of Pompeii decorated their homes with murals depicting apples.  In 1620, Cider arrived in America aboard the Mayflower.  But it was William Blaxton (also spelled William Blackstone, born 1595 in England; died 1675 in Rhode Island) who planted the first apple seeds in America.  Ahh but, it was Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman (1774-1845), who spread them far and wide!!!

Kazakhstan is the birthplace of the apple tree. And yet, America adopted the fruit as evidenced by such sayings as, “As American as Apple Pie”.
(TUBS, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
A meadow orchard in “Weppachtal”, next to Brucken (Owen), a small village of the Lenninger Lauter, Swabian Alb.
(Ustill, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany)
Illustration of Crown Grafting (public domain, New Zealand, not subject to copyright, according to New Zealand Copyright Act of 1994)
A grafted apple tree
(Karelj, public domain.)
In 55BC the Romans invaded England. The war was sluggish, but they learned from the locals how to ferment crabapples
(A Chronicle of England, Engraver: Edmund Evans 1826–1905, public domain)
The Romans eventually departed but the apple orchards remain to this day!!! This one is in Kent, England.
(Image © Acabashi; Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0; Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A wall painting found in Pompeii.
(ArchaiOptix, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)
In 1620, the Mayflower arrived in Massachusetts bringing apple cider to America.
(“Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor,” William Halsall, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts, public domain)
But it was William Blaxton who planted the apple trees. This is his home in what would become Boston
(New England Life Insurance Company, Boston – DSC08181.JPG, Daderot, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)
Blaxton is credited for planting the first trees in Boston Common
(Ingfbruno Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Blaxton may have been the first to plant; but it was John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845), who spread the apple tree across this young nation.
(H. S. Knapp, public domain)

Apples are ubiquitous.  You will find them worldwide.  You can eat them raw.  Put them on a stick and dip them in caramel or chocolate.  Cook them for pies, pastries, applesauce, and more.  Press them for juice.  Ferment them for hard cider.  Or freeze them to make applejack.  Apples are nutritious and healthy.  They have 0 grams of fat, sodium, or cholesterol.  Who hasn’t heard, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”???

Apples come large or small; loose or bagged; sweet or tart. They have no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. Eaten raw, this is a very healthy food!!!
Or, you can eat them dipped in ooey, gooey sweetness. With nuts on top!!! Not so healthy but definitely yummy!!!
Or maybe the iconic and quintesssential Apple Pie!!!
How about bread…..
…..spread with apple butter!!!
Apple sauce is a popular side dish.
Yogurt is tasty for a quick breakfast.
Dried apple chips are a portable snack.
Or maybe go for the gusto with fresh sliced apples along with cheese, pretzels and a sweet dipping sauce!!!
Apple choices seem to be endless!!!

October 21st is International Apple Day

Go get ready!!! 

Find an apple orchard and pick some apples.  Slice them and dip them in caramel; bake them for pies and pastries; use them as table decorations; float them in water and “bob for apples”.  Pick up some cider; serve it hot or cold; hard or sweet; sparkling or still.  Try a sip of applejack—it’s mighty potent at 90-proof!!! 

Have an apple-icious, happy, crispy Autumn Season

Better yet…..

A bucolic apple orchard in East Sussex, England(Colin Smith / Just like the “Garden of England” / CC BY-SA 2.0)

…..go plant a tree!!!