Fall means a lot of wonderful things in Michigan, not the least of which is a great influx of fresh, crisp apples.  Home to over 14.9 million apple trees, the state ranks third in the U.S. (behind only Washington & New York) for apple production. Apples are in fact, Michigan’s most valuable fruit crop.

You can bake with them, toss some in a salad, or grab one to eat on the go. Different varieties are well-suited to different purposes. Some are better as juice, other as cider. Many are now being used to create hard ciders across the state. Eating and drinking Michigan apples is a tasty  way to contribute to our state’s economy. With an increasingly wide variety, there’s something for nearly everyone.  Here are some fun facts followed by a quiz to test your apple knowledge.

Fun Apple Facts

  • Archaeologists have found evidence that people have been eating apples since at least 6500 B.C.
  • Apple varieties brought as seeds from Europe were spread along Native American trade routes.
  • Johnny Appleseed was a real person, who actually did impact the significant number of apples we enjoy today. His actual name was John Chapman. He owned many tree nurseries in the Midwest and sold and traded apple trees.
  • Michigan currently produces an average of 24 million bushels of apples each year.
  • There are no genetically-modified (GMO) apples grown in the state.
  • Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. They can help prevent inflammation, among many healthy benefits.
  • Apples can bruise easily, so handle them gently.  Store them in a ventilated bag away from other foods that may have strong odors.
  • Cool air helps maintain the quality, so store them in a cool place or fridge. They will usually remain fresh for at least 1-2 months, if not longer, that way.
Photo of apple bin

Fresh, ripe apples from Blake’s Orchard in Almont.

Test Your Apple Knowledge

Read the descriptions below and name the variety to test your apple knowledge. Answers can be found after the quiz.

  1. The name gives away the origin of this pale burgundy cross between a Wagener and Jonathan. They are very crunchy and generally store quite well.
  2. A cross between Ben Davis and McIntosh, this red apple is slightly sweeter than its ancestors. It has a hint of tartness, and is often used in desserts.
  3. This eating apple is cold-tolerant and pocket-sized. Consequently, a company now known for pocket-sized devices named one of its first products after it.
  4. This yellow gem is one of the most popular varieties in the world. Beneath its thin skins lies a very sweet treat.
  5. Though its name may raise suspicion in some parts of the country, this tantalizing fruit is particularly useful for cooking. The green and dark red variety ripens late in the season and stores well.
  6. This mostly red apple, with patches of lime green is widely regarded as one of the best flavored, and is popular for eating fresh as well as cooking.  It’s not surprising that it rocks, having been discovered in Woodstock, New York.
  7. One of the new kids in the lineup of Michigan apples, this crisp, sweet apple has a tremendously long shelf-life and originated in Japan.
  8. The unmistakable dark red color and bumps on the bottom make this famous American variety one of the easiest apples to identify.
  9. Discovered in Sparta, this mild, juicy apple is Michigan’s own! It has a particularly short season from late summer to October.
  10. Named for its parents, this apple does particularly well in Michigan’s cool climate. It’s light yellow with a bright red overlay, and is typically quite large.
  11. An extremely early bearer, the mildly tart flavor of this yellowish-green fruit gets the Michigan autumn apple harvest off to a tasty start.
  12. In the storied history of the apple industry, this variety is a relative newcomer. Introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1991, the juiciness and crispness of this red and yellow fruit have made it a rising star.
  13. Orangish-red in color, this local favorite, originated in New Zealand, and has a thinner skin with a soft, sweet flesh.
  14. Living up to its name, this combination of McIntosh and Delicious, is a sweet and tart ruby red treat. It’s a common choice for candy and caramel apples, as well sliced in salads, or as a crunchy snack.

Answer Key

Check the answer key below the picture test your apple knowledge.

Each of these bags contain a peck of apples, which is a quarter of a bushel, or roughly 10-12 pounds of fruit.

Answer Key: 1) Ida Red; 2) Cortland; 3) McIntosh; 4) Golden Delicious; 5) Northern Spy; 6) Jonathan; 7) Fuji; 8) Red Delicious; 9) Paula Red; 10) Jonagold; 11. Ginger Gold; 12) Honeycrisp; 13) Gala; 14) Empire

Author: BMN Staff