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!!!
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!!!
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”???
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!!!