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On Eat a Red Apple Day, December 1, we’re honoring our teachers’ favorite desk decor and our doctor’s best time-honored heart-healthy snack all in one crisp bite. Since 6500 B.C., humans have been enjoying this sweet and delicious self-contained snack. Each autumn, when this scrumptious fruit is harvested, it fills our local grocery stores and community festivals with glee. Whether we’re bobbing for them, baking them into a pie, or stashing one into our bag for a pick-me-up later on, we just can’t get enough of the red apple.
History of Eat a Red Apple Day
America’s love affair with apples began in the early 19th century with the travels of Johnny Appleseed, who planted trees in states trailing from the East Coast to the Midwest. Yet these apples weren’t the sort we’re celebrating now — they were small and tart, used primarily for brewing cider.
In 1875, however, the gleaming, sweet, crunchy red fruit we know and love today was discovered in small town Peru, Iowa on a farm owned by Jesse Hiatt when a chance seedling took root. He carted the flamboyant apple to a fruit show in Missouri after his first true harvest and farmers from around the world were taken by it, wanting to plant trees on their own land. And thus, the poster child for America’s apples was born, aptly named the Red Delicious Apple.
By the time the Great Depression rolled around, the red apple was ubiquitous all over the nation. In the face of famine, small communities began to band together to share food and other resources. Since the apple’s peak harvest season is fall, children often brought them to their teachers at the start of the school year. To this day, the red apple symbolizes knowledge and education.
The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales, seems to have crossed the Atlantic in the 1860s to arrive here in America. What used to be simply an old adage was confirmed by doctors in the 2010s as actually being true, considering the high antioxidant benefits of the friendly fruit.
Eat a Red Apple Day falls on December 1, toward the end of the harvest season. While its origins are unknown, we certainly promote having at least one on this day each year, if only to pay rightful tribute to its cultural (and medical) importance.
Eat a Red Apple Day timeline
Johnny Appleseed’s tree-planting quest is first recognized as he arrives on horseback in Ohio.
The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is first recorded in the U.S.
The first Red Delicious Apple tree is discovered on Jesse Hiatt’s Iowa farm.
The Great Depression calls for communities to feed their teachers, therefore the association between education and a gleaming red apple is established in the U.S.
Medical doctors confirm the health benefits of a red apple, citing its antioxidant-rich skin and its ability to decrease the effects of heart disease.
Eat a Red Apple Day FAQs
Can eating an apple really help pull my loose tooth?
The old domestic myth that a crisp apple can help remove a dangling incisor actually does have roots in the truth. The thick and firm meat of an apple’s fruit actually does provide some oppositional force on the teeth as you dig in. Plus, the apple’s sweet trickling juices offer a wonderful distraction from any tinges of pain.
Should I keep my apples in the refrigerator?
In general, apples should be kept at room temperature in a dry place with adequate airflow. The refrigerator tends to change the texture of the fruit from crisp and smooth to grainy and watery.
Is the skin of an apple edible?
Absolutely! In fact, health experts discourage apple peeling, since the peel holds so many nutrients. The fruit’s brilliant vermilion covering also aids in retaining juices, which makes this snack a particularly hydrating selection.
How to Celebrate National Eat a Red Apple Day
Visit a farmers’ market!
While the local produce department is fantastic in a pinch, the Red Delicious apple did originate in a small, locally owned and operated farm. Pay tribute to its origins by purchasing your celebratory stock from a farmer in your own area. The apples are likely to be organic and even taste a little sweeter!
Bake a pie!
Nothing says American comfort food quite like a doughy, cinnamony apple pie. Gather the family in the kitchen, preheat the oven, and get to peeling! In about an hour, you’ll be in warm, gooey, red apple heaven.
Give one as a gift!
Red apples have a long history of being shared generously by their planters and farmers. When you give someone a clean, glimmering red apple, you give them the gift of health and a sweet treat all in one.
5 Facts About Candy Apples That Will Stick In Your Mind
They have many names!
Outside of the U.S., in places like Canada and the U.K., candy apples are often called ‘toffee apples.’
Function came first
Originally, Arabian households would coat their fruits in candy as a preservative method to keep them fresh.
Autumn is their prime time
We see candy apples most often in the fall, not only because that’s the season for apple harvest, but also because the candy coating tends to melt in warmer temperatures.
Red is really their color
When candy factory Kolb first used a candy apple in their window display, they unknowingly presented a new hue that would grow famous in the world of fashion as representing flirty, racy moods — we call it Candy Apple Red!
They put the treat in trick or treat
Before the U.S. began generating processed foods and candies for Halloween, little trick-or-treaters were often given candy apples at their neighbors’ doorsteps.
Why we love National Eat a Red Apple Day
Pretty much everyone can participate
Since red apples are cost-effective and widespread across the States, this is a holiday that everyone can be a part of. Many public schools even serve red apples in their cafeterias, which means even our little ones can join the family in celebration by snagging a round red fruit in the serving line.
It’s a chance to support the local farming community
Whether you live in a big city or a small, rural area, there are probably members of your community who work hard all year to produce fruits and vegetables that are homegrown, organic, and saturated with the love of well-worn hands. On this special plant-based holiday, we have the opportunity to connect with our local farmers and enjoy the spoils of their labor.
There are so many ways to celebrate!
Because of their many diverse uses, apples offer an entire menu of possible activities and cooking adventures to dive into. Whether you choose to fill a bucket with water and go bobbing for apples with the family or roast some sweet slices with your pork loin dinner, the culinary and celebratory appeals of this fruit are plentiful.
Eat a Red Apple Day dates