This tree fruit originated in Central Asia *Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzistan, Tajikistan and Xinjiang (and today you can still see wild apple trees in these countries.
Colonists brought seeds to North America during the 17th century, and ever since apple trees have been thriving on the continent.
Over the millennia, apple flavour was improved through selection and hybridization.
Today, there are at least 7500 cultivars, but in most North American grocery stores you are lucky to find 10 varieties.
The world apple production was 70 million metric tons in 2011, of which China, world’s largest producer, grew 50 per cent, followed by the U S A, Turkey, Italy, India and Poland.
Canada’s apple production on world scale is very small, but quality is superior. In fact, Canada’s apple exports of high-end apples, is very substantial, but imports are also very high especially from the U S A, Chile, South Africa and a few other countries.
Apple trees, pending on soil and spacing, yield anywhere from 40 – 200 kgs. annually.
Much depends on the weather, as 2012 yielded a poor crop both in North America and Europe whereas 2013 yielded a bumper crop.
Out of season C.A apples (controlled atmosphere) are always available, but fresh apples taste better.
Apples grow best in European countries, parts of China, North America, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
In Asian countries, people prefer sweet, or slightly acid apples.
Apples are rich in carbohydrates, sugar, fibre, water (85 per cent), vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. The peels are a good source of phytochemicals and may contain valuable antioxidants.
Much of the production is eaten out-of-hand, but large quantities are used for juicing, baking, drying, canning, stewing, for cider, and hard cider (aka apple wine).
Here are some apple varieties popular in Canada: ambrosia (chance selection in British Columbia in 1980), crispin (a cross between golden delicious and indo from Japan) is best for pies, cortland (a descendant of McIntosh and Ben Davis) best for sauces and pies, empire(McIntosh and red delicious) good for sauces and out-of-hand eating, Fuji (red delicious and Dalls Janey) best for out-of-hand eating, gala (kidds orange red and golden delicious), a good general purpose apple, golden delicious (a chance selection in West Virginia in 1916) good for apple sauce and out-of-hand eating, honeycrisp (macon and honeygold) aromatic and good for out-of-hand eating, idared (Jonathan and Wegner) general purpose, jona gold (golden delicious and Jonathan) good for baking and snacking, Mcintosh (chance selection in Dundea, Ontario in 1800’s) very versatile, northern spy, good for baking, red delicious and out-of-hand eating, red brin, best for salads, russet, good for pie filling, and apple sauce, spartan (Mcintosh and Newton originated in British Columbia) good for baking and out-of-hand eating, granny Smith, good for pies, out-of-hand eating, compotes.
European apple varieties: Adams pearmain, akero, Ashmead’s kernel, bally fatten, belle de Boskop, brina, catshead, delbush, Charles Ross, delfoga, deltane, dutchess of Oldenburg, egremont Russel, gloster, gradirose, gravenstein, opal, Orleans reinette