10 Fun facts about apples

Jen McCaffery 28 September 2021

Here are ten facts about apples that will make you love them even more

1. That forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden? The Book of Genesis does not explicitly say what fruit Eve persuaded Adam to share with her. The Hebrew Bible uses the generic term peri, which scholars have said could be used to describe a fig, a grape, a pomegranate, an apricot, or even wheat.

2. Another Biblical apple reference is in Psalm 17, when David uses it while talking to God: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Is David rather conceited, assuming he is God’s favorite? Not necessarily. The Bible’s use of “apple” here is thought to be a poetic way to refer to the eye’s pupil, which is also round.

An illustration of an apple

3. Apples have long been associated with love—in Greek mythology, Paris hoped his golden apple would win him Helen of Troy. And it’s been said that in colonial New England, if a young woman peeled an apple in one strip, she’d toss it over her shoulder and see what letter it formed on the floor. This was the initial of her future husband.

4. Apples grown in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries were often more likely to end up in a cider barrel than in a pie. “In rural areas, cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water,” author Michael Pollan wrote in The Botany of Desire.

5. There’s truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A large one has about 115 calories and five grams of fiber, and the fruit’s polyphenols and fiber help balance gut bacteria. But don’t peel it: Two thirds of the anti­oxidants and much of its fiber are in the skin.

Apple trees

6. That said, as Snow White can attest, apples aren’t entirely benign. Apple seeds containa compound called amygdalin that’s part of the fruit’s defense system. If you crush or chew apple seeds, the amygdalin can degrade into hydrogen cyanide, which can be lethal in high doses. But it would take at least 160 apple seeds to put an adult’s life at risk.

7. The enzyme that causes apples to brown isn’t all bad. It counteracts garlic’s pungent compounds. That’s right: Eating an apple will kill a case of garlic breath.

8. Displaying your apples in a bowl on a table might look as pretty as a painting, but if you want them to last, store them in the fridge, as lower temperatures slow the ripening process. Farmers can keep their fruit in cold storage for a month or two; most apple varieties won’t keep much longer than that.

9. How did this earthy fruit become the symbol of one of the world’s wealthiest corporations? One day in the mid-1970s, Steve Wozniak picked up Steve Jobs at the airport. The paperwork for their nascent computer company was due the next day. Jobs had just been pruning apple trees in Oregon, and when the men started throwing around potential names (Matrix, Exec­u­tek, and Personal Computers Inc. were among them), he suggested Apple Computer. “It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. ‘Apple’ took the edge off the word ‘computer,’ ” Jobs said. “Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.”

10. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first supergroup to use Apple as its corporate moniker. In 1968, the Beatles formed Apple Corps to represent their creative interests. After Apple Computer rose to prominence, the two companies worked out an agreement that ­Apple Computer would keep its logo and name out of the music business. That changed in 2003, when Apple began selling music through iTunes. It took seven more years before the Beatles finally “let it be” by allowing iTunes to carry their music. 

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