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Everything Apples A to Z

Created December 8, 2016
apple pie
“Apple pie” to “zero fat,” there’s no fruit as all-American as apples.

By Elizabeth Dehn, Contributing Editor

A=Apple Recipes
Do a little digging into Google search trends, and you’ll quickly find “recipes for apples” in the top searches for apples. We can deliver! Check out our Best 100 Apple Recipes!

B=Bad Apples
We’re not talking about the kid in sixth grade, who thought skipping gym class was cool. We’re talking making good use of bruised or brown apples. Simply cut away unusable portions, then blend remaining fruit into applesauce and apple butter or use as a filling in pies and baked treats.

Just say "cheese" with one of these classic apple pairings: Slices of aged sharp cheddar stand up to equally robust McIntosh apples. Nutty, crumbly cheeses, like Pecorino, contrast beautifully with sweet, bright apples, like the popular Honeycrisp. The acidity of Granny Smith apples cuts the rich tanginess of soft blue cheese, Roquefort and Gorgonzola.

Remember the 19th century saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” There may be some truth to this. Packed with antioxidants, apples have been found to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

Apple Developed in 1966 by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, this cross between a Golden Delicious and a McIntosh is sweet, juicy, extra-crunchy and small in size – making it an excellent choice for kids.

F=Forbidden Fruit
Western cultures usually depict the forbidden fruit as an apple. Other cultures describe it as a grape, fig, pomegranate or pear. In one story, the apple gets stuck in the front of Adam’s throat when he tries to swallow it, leading to the term Adam’s apple.

When you want to showcase the fruit or prepare it in bulk, you’ll want to enlist a few tools of the trade. These helpful gadgets are available at the Pillsbury Store. Corer: Helps eliminate the core and seeds in one swift move. Peeler: A lightweight, razor-sharp peeler quickly removes skins. Upgrade to a countertop crank-style if you’re peeling large quantities. Slicer: For neat, uniform slices – perfect for pies, galettes or fruit salads.

The Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples is harder than it looks. Fill a tub with water and add whole, unpeeled apples. Because they’re less dense than water, the apples will float or “bob” at the surface. Contestants can try to catch one with their teeth – no hands allowed! Suitable and fun for all ages.

It’s not just about apple pie. Apples are a tasty part of so many recipes, from appetizers to hearty dinners. See the innovative apple recipes in our collection.

J=Johnny Appleseed
The boy who set off with a sack of apple seeds over his shoulder was actually born John Chapman in 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts. In this true tale, Johnny traveled west, scattering apple seeds along the way. Johnny also left a legacy of more than 1,200 acres of apple nurseries, which he bequeathed to his sister, Elizabeth.

The ancestors of the apples we know today still grow wild in Kazakhstan and other mountain towns of central Asia. Legend has it that Alexander the Great discovered them there in 300 B.C. It wasn’t until the 1600s that apples were brought to the United States and the first apple orchard was cultivated.

L=Love Apple
After the tomato was introduced to Europe by explorer Hernandez Cortez in the 16th century, rumors began to swirl about its aphrodisiacal powers. The tomato’s romantic reputation grew until it reached France, where it was dubbed the pomme d'amour – or “love apple.”

Every McIntosh apple can be traced back to a single tree discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Ontario. The variety is often favored for sauces due to the pink hue that the skin imparts.

N=New York City
Sports writer John Fitzgerald first dubbed New York City “The Big Apple” in the 1920s, in reference to the city’s horse races. The nickname stuck when it was featured in a 1971 campaign to increase New York City's tourism.

There’s something quintessentially fall about visiting an apple orchard. Not to mention that apples taste sweeter and juicier when plucked fresh from the tree. To locate an orchard in your area, visit or Make the most of your visit with these super tips!

If you’ve ever tried to grow an apple tree by planting leftover apple seeds, you know it doesn’t work. All apple varieties must be cross-pollinated to develop fruit. Even a Red Delicious, for example, is a hybrid of different apples.

Apples contain a variety of powerful antioxidants, including quercetin, a natural disease-fighter that has been found to protect against cancer and heart disease. Be sure to eat the peel, which is more antioxidant-rich than the fruit’s flesh.

A ripe apple will be firm, crisp and sweet smelling. Red color alone isn’t a reliable indicator, as the optimal shade varies by variety. Once picked, apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.

At the center of every apple, five carpels or compartments, form a star-like arrangement. Each carpel contains one to three seeds. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of the mildly poisonous cyanogenic glycoside, which can be harmful to pets and other animals.

A whopping 69 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2008. China produced about 42 percent of this amount. The United States is the second-largest producer, with more than 6.3 percent of world production. The top five apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and California.

This creative Bake-Off® Contest pie is turned upside-down before serving so that the gooey caramel sauce ends up on top. Yum!

With more than 7,500 kinds of apple trees in the world, there’s no shortage of varieties to choose from. 

Apples produce a natural coating of wax to protect their high water content and to prevent shriveling. Wax is also the reason apples sometimes look white or chalky, only to shine up when polished.

X=Malus x domestica
Apples don’t fall far from the apple tree...or the Malus x domestica to be exact. Scientifically speaking, the apple tree belongs to the rose family (Rosacea). Other members include quinces, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and berries.

In 2009, the average U.S. consumer – that’s you! – ate an estimated 15.8 pounds of fresh apples and 32.1 pounds of processed apples (canned, dried, frozen or juiced), for a total of 47.9 pounds of apples!

Z=Zero Fat
Apples contain zero grams of fat, cholesterol and sodium, making them the perfect snack—eat up!