A is for Apple

Did you ever think about planting some apple trees and growing your own fruit? No? Well, here are a few really good reasons to try it: Apple pie, apple jelly and applesauce. Of course, there are also lots of other good reasons to plant a couple of apple trees in your own yard this year. By choosing those varieties that suit your own taste you’ll always have a supply of the flavors you like best. There’s nothing that tastes any better than picking a fresh apple and biting into it while it is still warm from the late summer sun.

Apples store very well and with the proper storage space, your homegrown apples can last all winter. They are sweet, juicy and fat free and each variety has a distinctly different flavor. Some favorites for Burke County are Pink Lady which is great for pies, Honey Crisp, a great apple for baking or for fresh eating, Fuji which is a good fresh eating selection that also stores well, Gala, a good apple for drying or for eating fresh, Granny Smith, a tart apple that works great in pies and salads, Arkansas Black which is good for cooking or for fresh eating and Yellow or Golden Delicious which is a great pollinator, pie or cider apple.

Apple trees start bearing in 3 to 5 years and with proper care can continue to bear fruit for decades. They like a sunny, well drained location with plenty of room to grow. Pests are easily controlled with a home orchard spray that is applied throughout the growing season.

As Americans become more health conscious, the apple is at the top of the list as a desirable food. They contain disease-fighting anti-oxidants and are high in fiber. The fiber in apples binds with fat in the intestines and helps to lower cholesterol. Eating a crunchy apple helps to clean and whiten the teeth and at the same time contains only 80 calories.

Apples originated in Asia and China up to 10 million years ago and were one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans. The Romans brought the apple to England around 100 A.D. and it came to the new world by settlers in the 1600s. It quickly became popular in North America where its main use was in the making of apple cider and until prohibition put the cider orchards out of business in the 1920s apple cider was the main drink of North America.

So, as you can see the apple has had a colorful history and is a well-traveled fruit as well, and after all of these years it is still immensely popular. If you would like to try your hand at raising some apples this year you can contact the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office here in Burke County at 439-4460. We have a great selection of apples and other fruits in our Small Fruit Sale that are well-suited to the growing conditions here in Burke County.

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