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SatSep 18

International Eat An Apple Day – September 18, 2021

International Eat An Apple Day, held on the third Saturday of September each year, is on September 18 this year, and encourages us to bite into this crunchy, bright-colored fruit. Don’t stop there; the goal here is to eat one each day. As the saying goes, that’s how you keep the doctor away.

History of International Eat An Apple Day

The apple originated in central Asia, in the Tien Shan mountain range of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In human terms, we’d call this species of apple the great-great-great(repeat many times) grandparent of the present apple. This older wild apple featured prominently in the food and culture of the region it came from, and Kazakhstan’s Alma-Ata — now called Almaty, loosely meant ‘Father of Apples.’

Merchants using the Silk Road — a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East to the Middle East and Europe — discovered these wild apples and were the reason this fruit spread to western Europe. From there, European colonists took the apple to America. As the story goes, the very first apple trees were planted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by pilgrims. Over the years, these wild apples were cultivated and cross-pollinated to become the species we see in commercial farms today.

Apples feature prominently throughout history, appearing in poems by Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, and in paintings by Caravaggio and Magritte. Apples have also appeared in folklore and stories. The Arabian Nights featured a magic apple that cures all human diseases, and perhaps the most famous book of all — the Bible, apparently alludes to the apple too. Although the testament only specifies fruit, the idea that this was the apple came around in the 12th century in western Europe. The thought might have stemmed from the fact that in Latin, ‘malus’ means both ‘apple’ and ‘evil.’ This thought gained steam, and by 1504, there was even a painting by Albrecht Durer, showing Adam and Eve with apples around them. Apples had unique significance in Greek and Norse mythology as well. The Norse goddess Iðunn awarded eternal youth via apples, and a golden apple caused the Trojan War in the Greek epic tale, Iliad.

By the 20th century, industrial agriculture-focused efforts on only a few varieties of apples in the U.S., like the Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. The push for new varieties and diversity came in the 21st century, with new consumers driving this demand.

International Eat An Apple Day timeline

1300s
First Apple Pie Recipe

Originating in England, this recipe says you are not supposed to eat apple pie crust.

Early 1700s
Apples Come to America

European colonists bring the apple to the U.S.

1800s
John Appleseed Aka John Chapman

The famous folktale was inspired by the real guy, Chapman, who benefits from the rule that anyone can claim land by creating a permanent orchard on the same land; he plants apple trees all over parts of the U.S. and then sells the land.

1866
The Proverb Comes to Life

A Pembrokeshire proverb, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread," is the forerunner to today's common proverb, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," which was coined in 1913.

2010
The Genetics of the Apple

The genome, the complete set of genetic information, of the modern apple is studied; it has 21,000 more unique genes than the human genome.

2019
Apples get more Famous

A cross of the Honeycrisp and Enterprise variety of apple, called the Cosmic Crisp, features on NPR as the holiday season approaches.

International Eat An Apple Day FAQs

Is there an International Apple Day?

There is an Apple Day that is celebrated on October 21. It honors all things apples, including orchards.

What does eating an apple a day do?

Apples reduce the risk of many major diseases, including diabetes and cancer. They can also promote weight loss and gut health. Eating one medium-sized apple covers around 3/4 of the two-cup daily recommendation for fruit. 

Is apple in season in October?

Fresh apples appear on shelves all year round because of imports and multiple varieties of this fruit, but peak apple season for U.S. apples is usually September and October.

How To Celebrate International Eat An Apple Day

  1. Munch on an apple

    It's in the name! The best way to celebrate this day is to grab an apple of your choice and get eating. Try out new varieties, or eat apples with assorted condiments — peanut butter, honey, maple syrup — for a different experience.

  2. Try out apple recipes

    Maybe you are not into cooking; you could experiment with various yummy foods made from apples. Try out apple pies, drink apple juice or apple cider, or even make Polish apple pancakes. Go crazy and experiment.

  3. Share the habit

    Encourage people around you to eat apples too. Maybe you could hand them an apple, or even talk about this day and what it means. Share your knowledge and your healthy apple-eating habit to inspire a healthy food kick in people you know.

5 Fun Facts About Apples

  1. George Washington loved apples

    One of his favorite hobbies was pruning his apple trees.

  2. Apples big and small

    They come in all sizes and can be as small as a cherry or as big as a grapefruit.

  3. 20 years to eat all apples

    There are 7,500 varieties of apples grown all around the world; eating them all will take you a fair bit of time.

  4. The world's largest collection of apple trees

    The USDA’s Plant Genetics Resources Unit in Geneva, New York, has about 2500 different varieties of apple trees in a 50-acre orchard.

  5. Apples are from the rose family

    Known taxonomically as a member of the Rosaceae family, this group also includes pears, plums, peaches, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Why We Love International Eat An Apple Day

  1. Apples are good for you

    Today is the day we remember what our moms said, "Eat your fruits! They are good for you," especially fruits like apples, which have low-fat content, loads of fiber, and a host of other lovely health benefits. There is a reason the 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ quote is still so popular.

  2. There are plenty of ways to eat them

    Eat them fresh. Bake with them. Fry them in a delicious batter. Apples are versatile and yet never lend their sweet and unique flavor to every dish. They can even be added to some savory dishes! What more do you need?

  3. They are a fascinating fruit

    With a fun history too! They have traveled the world and overcome their sour beginnings to become the world's most consumed fruit.

International Eat An Apple Day dates

YearDateDay
2022September 17Saturday
2023September 16Saturday
2024September 21Saturday
2025September 20Saturday
2026September 19Saturday

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