Apples are an ancient fruit, grown for thousands of years, and belong to the Rose family of plants. The Rose family also includes plums, raspberries, cherries, peaches, pears, and almonds.
According to Professor Peter C. Andersen, UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, the basics of apple growing haven´t changed much over the centuries. Although many homeowners in north Florida can grow apple trees, there is little potential for establishment of commercial apple orchards in Florida. Andersen says apples are difficult to grow in north Florida due to high rainfall, humidity, and insects during the apple-ripening season, which is late May through August. Apples need a chill period in order to set buds in the spring. Without a sufficient chill period, the apple tree will not cultivate. For more information on Florida apple varieties, check out Low-Chill Apple Cultivars for North Florida and North Central Florida.
Luckily, there are more than 8,000 varieties of apples grown worldwide, so you can still enjoy a selection of apples in north Florida, even if you aren’t able to grow them yourself.
Fun Apple Facts:
- Apples are very nutritious, especially when you eat the whole apple. The majority of the apple’s nutrients are in its skin.
- Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and do not contain sodium, fat, or cholesterol.
- Apples ripen much faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
Every type of apple has a distinct color, texture, and taste. There are more than 8,000 variations of apples grown worldwide. Here are some of the more well-known apples that are grown in the United States:
|Red Delicious||This apple is grown in Iowa and is known for its deep red color and mild sweetness. The Red Delicious apple is finest when eaten whole or chopped up into salads.|
|Granny Smith||This variety has a thick, green exterior with a sour taste. It is firm, crisp, and juicy inside and is best used for baking into pies and other baked goods.|
|Gala||This variety has a waxy red and yellow skin with a golden interior. Its tart taste is ideal for baking or just eating.|
|McIntosh||This apple grows abundantly in New England. McIntosh apples are crisp and juicy at their peak, but tend to soften quickly. This variety can be eaten off the tree or made into apple cider.|
|Golden Delicious||This variety has a soft yellow skin and sweet flavor. This is considered an all-purpose apple that is ideal for snacking and cooking.|
|Empire:||Empire apples are named for its home state of New York and is a mixture of a red delicious and a McIntosh apple. The Empire apple is crunchy and has a sweet taste, however, its texture changes quickly with extended storage, so it’s best eaten at its peak of freshness.|
Cooper, Emily. “Apples, a Bushel and a Peak of Flavor.” Food and Nutrition, 2017, pp. 28–29.
There are many other varieties of apples, and all are incredibly good for you. For the greatest benefits, eat the whole fruit — both skin and flesh.