Growing up in Maine means falls filled with foliage and apple picking. To this day, the smell of apples at any time of year – in an orchard, freshly sliced, baking in some delicious treat – makes me think of fall and the oncoming winter. Apple pie (homemade) is still my favorite dessert… so stay tuned for an upcoming weekly recipe featuring apple pie.
With the beginning of September, apple picking season in Maine has kicked off and is entering full swing. In fact, next Sunday, September 8th, is Maine Apple Sunday. There is no shortage of orchards to visit to participate in apple picking, cider, hayrides, and other fun activities. Visit this orchard map from maineapples.org to find one close to you.
Most of the information and links in this post come from maineapples.org, the website of the Maine State Pomological Society. My husband and I have been working to include more fruit in our diets, so apples have become a staple in the fruit bowl at our house.
I was interested to learn that his favorite variety, Honeycrisp, is one of the primary apple varieties grown in Maine. While over 100 varieties are grown in the state, the McIntosh (which is the most commonly grown apple throughout New England), and more recently the Cortland, Macoun, and Honeycrisp are popular. Two apple varieties that originated in Maine are the Black Oxford and Brock, although these are lesser known.
The apple is a fruit with a long history, as well as a significant role in mythology and religion of various cultures. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe and were brought to North America by colonists. A Massachusetts man, John Chapman, gained fame for planting apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois – he became known as Johnny Appleseed.
We’ve all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and apples do indeed offer good nutrition. The skin of an apple is high in fiber, while the apple itself is low in calories, and includes phyto-nutrients and antioxidants. Apples have good quantities of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as B-complex vitamins. Personally, I love dipping apple slices in natural peanut butter – as a runner, this is a tasty and healthy way for me to immediately refuel with carbs and protein, and the fiber helps keep me full until mealtime.
To close, here are a few fun apple facts:
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider
- Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie (good for me to keep in mind!)
- The only apple native to North America is the crabapple
- There are more than 8,000 apple varieties in the world
Do you have a favorite orchard to visit in Maine? A great recipe for me to try?