History of National Caramel Apple Day
In the 1950s, a Kraft Foods employee had a plethora of caramel candies leftover from the ghoulish holiday and, apparently, a few apples as well. Figuring out a way to use up these extra caramels, the confectioner, Dan Walker, decided to melt them and covered the apples with the melted caramel, creating an immediate autumnal classic.
As fall is associated so commonly with apple picking, apple cider and caramel apples don’t fall far from the metaphorical tree. So as apple season comes to a close in late October, the remaining apples are either used to create a hot cider, apple pie, or deliciously sticky and sweet caramel apples.
It didn’t take long for caramel apples to become the official snack of hayrides and corn mazes, but it did take long for caramel and apples to become what they are today. From their advents in the Middle East to the tall tale (or fact?) of Johnny Appleseed, apples have a long history with humans. Caramel was created roughly around 1000 AD and, since then, the candies have held a firm place in the drawers of grandparents everywhere and, more recently, atop delicious apples.
National Caramel Apple Day timeline
According to some historians, apple trees were the first trees to be cultivated by humans. In fact, experts argue, the origin of all modern-day varieties of apples was in Anatolia (near present-day Turkey).
There's no consensus as to the origins of caramel, but some experts say a hard, crunchy version of caramel was first concocted by Arabs.
Halloween became a bonafide holiday celebration due to the influence of Irish and Scottish immigrants. By 1900, many Americans celebrated the spooky holiday, which ultimately grew into a cultural phenomenon — from sea to "The Shining" sea.
According to legend, a Kraft Foods employee named Dan Walker invented the first caramel apple one day during the 1950s when he was trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of extra caramel candies. Good thinkin', Dan!
Kraft Foods introduced "Wrapples" (with commercials featuring "Johnny Wrappleseed"). These were small slices of caramel that could be wrapped over apples to make quick-and-easy caramel apples at home.
National Caramel Apple Day FAQs
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National Caramel Apple Day Activities
Get your hands on some
All food-related holidays and observances are best experienced with gusto — and National Caramel Apple Day is no exception. Get one before they're gone!
Make your own caramel apples
We know the basics: melted caramel, an apple (Granny Smith, Fuji, etc.) and a stick. But there are so many ways to prep this Halloween standard. Cover your caramel with peanuts, sprinkles, or kosher salt (our fave) — whatever you like!
Spice up the proceedings
Create a tasty caramel apple (how 'bout a Granny Smith apple with caramel and white chocolate?) and then gorge on it while wearing a super-creative Halloween costume (how 'bout dressing up as Maria Ann "Granny" Smith herself?).
5 Things To Chew On While Enjoying Caramel Apples
Apples in the New World
Colonists in the 1600s first introduced North America to the apples we eat and enjoy today.
Don't be too crabby
The only apple native to North America is the crabapple, which most people find sour and unpleasant to eat.
A reverend planted the first American orchard
Rev. William Blaxton, the first colonist to settle in Boston, planted an apple orchard in 1625 — the first one on the North American continent.
Johnny Appleseed was a real dude
John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, introduced apple trees to many parts of the American midwest.
There was once a cosmic-sized caramel ball
In 2015, Cosmos Creations of Junction City, Kansas, made the world’s largest caramel corn ball. It weighed 6,780 pounds.
Why We Love National Caramel Apple Day
Caramel apples are golden AND delicious
Apples are perfectly tasty on their own, of course. But the addition of a caramel coating turns the whole apple-eating experience into something extra yummy.
Golden, delicious caramel is apple-friendly
There's just something sweet and special about the way melted caramel coats the outside of a bright red apple. It's like they were made for each other.
Caramel apples keep your hands clean
Caramel apples are delectable treats — and with the clever addition of a stick, you don't have to goo up your hands while you're eating one. Unless you want to, of course. Stick-less caramel apple-eaters unite!
National Caramel Apple Day dates