What are cooking apples?
cooking apple is an apple that is used primarily for cooking rather
than eating. While there’s no harm to using an eating apple in a recipe,
or to eat a cooking apple, there are some differences that you can see
and taste with each of type of apples.
that are best used in cooking or baking have a lower sugar content than
eating apples. They are usually tarter than eating apples and as a rule
do better in storage than eating apples.
Different types of
cooking apples are available depending are the region of the world that
you live in. If it is possible in your
region, purchase fresh apples from your local grower or farm market.
Nothing is better than an apple that hasn't traveled thousands of miles
before ending up in your kitchen.
Best Apples for Baking:
Pippin - crisp, tart, with a sweet finish
Jonagold - Jonathan/Golden
Delicious hybrid, tart, crisp, and juicy
Rome - grainy,
soft, juicy, and sweet
Winesap - firm, slightly tart, with a sweet-sour contrast
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1 large apple = 2 cups sliced or chopped = 1
1/2 cups finely chopped =1 1/4 cups grated = 3/4 cup sauce.
1 medium apple = 1 1/3 cups sliced or chopped
= 1 cup finely chopped = 3/4 cup grated = 1/2 cup sauce.
1 small apple = 3/4 cup sliced or chopped =
3/4 cup finely chopped = 1/2 cup grated = 1/3 cup sauce.
1 pound apples = 4 small apples or 3 medium
apples or about 2 large apples
1 (9" or 10") pie = 2-1/2 pounds (4 to 5
large or 6 to 7 medium or 8 to 9 small apples)
Peck = 10-1/2 pounds
Bushel = 42 pounds (yields 20-24 quarts of applesauce)
Photo courtesy of U.S. Apple
To prevent discoloration of peeled apples,
place peeled slices in a pan of cold water to which a pinch of salt has been
added (for each whole apple peeled).
When making salads, dip apple slices in fresh
lemon juice to prevent slices from turning brown.
Discoloration of aluminum utensils can be
removed just as effectively by boiling a number of apple peelings in them as
by the old method of boiling a little vinegar in water.
Sprinkling salt on spilled juice from apple
pies in a hot oven will cause the juice to burn crisply, making it easier to
To peel apples, dip them quickly in and out of
boiling water. The skin will come off much more readily.
Greek and Roman mythology referred to apples as symbols of love and beauty.
Today we call something we prize as,
"The apple of our eye!"
Issac Newton is said to have thought up the law of gravity while sitting
under an apple tree, observing the falling of apples.
The expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" actually comes from an
old English saying, "Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, makes the doctor beg
his bread." (Eat an apple before going to bed makes the doctor beg his
Members of the rose family have flower parts in fives (multiples of five).
The flowers are white or pink and the fruit is a pome type, derived from the
fusion of the ovary and the receptacle which make up the fleshy part of the
fruit. Cut the apple in half cross-wise to find a star with five chambers,
with two seeds each.
Apple blossom are the state flower of Michigan. April 28, 1997, marked the
100th anniversary of this official designation.
The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan,
California, Pennsylvania and Virginia, which produced over 83 percent of the
nation’s 2001 apple supply.
The apple variety ‘Delicious' is the most widely grown in the United States.
Freckles (russet) on Golden Delicious indicate ripeness
Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air.
Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds
The largest apple ever picked from a tree weighed 3 lbs 2 oz, according to
The Guiness Book of World Records.
It takes about 36 apples to create
one gallon of apple cider.
Apples are sometimes called "nature's toothbrush," Apples help clean the
teeth and massage the gums.
America's longest-lived apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by
Governor Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard on the corner of Third
Avenue and 13th Street. The tree was still bearing fruit when a derailed
train struck it in 1866.
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History and Legends of Apples
The saying "As American as apple pie" is referred to as the symbol of America. The word
"apple" comes from the Old English word "aeppel." there are
approximately 10,000 different kinds of varieties of apples grown in the
world with more than 7,000 of these varieties grown in the United
States. Apples are a member of the rose family of plants and the
blossoms are much like wild-rose blossoms.
Native Americans appropriated what they liked, cultivating apples extensively. There are between 25 to 30 kinds of
wild apples grown throughout the world with seven kinds in the U.S. Most wild apples are crab apples with small, sour, hard fruit. The crab apple
is the ancestor of many of the varieties of apples grown today.
Carbonized remains of apples have been found by archeologists in
prehistoric lake dwellings in Switzerland, dating back to the Iron Age.
There is also evidence to show that apples were eaten and preserved by
slicing and sun drying during the Stone Age in Europe.
In earliest writings of China, Egypt, and Babylon, records were found
that mentioned that man understood the art of budding and grafting fruit trees as long as twenty centuries ago.
1470 - In the Old Saxon manuscripts there are numerous mentions of apples and
cider. Bartholomeus Anglicus, who's Encyclopedia was one of the earliest printed books containing botanical information,
gives a chapter on the Apple. He says:
"Malus the Appyll tree is a tree yt
bereth apples and is a grete tree in itself. . . it is more short
than other trees of the wood wyth knottes and rinelyd Rynde. And
makyth shadowe wythe thicke bowes and branches: and fayr with dyurs
blossomes, and floures of swetnesse and Iykynge: with goode fruyte
and noble. And is gracious in syght and in taste and vertuous in
medecyne . . . some beryth sourysh fruyte and harde, and some ryght
soure and some ryght swete, with a good savoure and mery."
Dr. John Caius (1510-1573), physician to Edward VI, Mary I, and Queen
Elizabeth I, in his Boke of Counseille against the Sweatynge Sicknesse advises the patient to 'smele to an old swete apple to recover his strengthe.'
Queen Elizabeth called him "the most learned
physician of his age."
In William Shakespeare's (1564-1616) time, apples when served at dessert were usually accompanied by caraway, as we
may read in Henry IV, where Shallow invites Falstaff to
'a pippin and a dish of caraway,'
In a still earlier Booke of Nurture, it is directed
'After mete pepyns, caraway in comfyts.' The custom of serving
roast apples with a little saucer of caraways is still kept up at
Trinity College, Cambridge, and at some of the old-fashioned London
Livery dinners, just as in Shakespeare's days.
When the English colonists arrived in North America they found only crab
apples. Crab apple trees are the only native apples to the United States. European settlers arrived and
brought with them their English customs and favorite fruits. In colonial
time, apples were called winter banana or melt-in-the-mouth.
1622 - Most historians fail to mention that those early
orchards produced very few apples because there were no honey bees.
Historical information indicates that colonies of honey bees were
shipped from England and landed in the Colony of Virginia early in 1622.
One or more shipments were made to Massachusetts between 1630 and 1633,
others probably between 1633 and 1638. The Indians called the honeybees
"English flies" and/or “white man’s flies.” A description of New York in
"You shall scarce see a house, but the South side is begirt with
Hives of Bees."
1623 - William Blackstone arrived in Massachusetts from Europe. Historians write that he carried a bag of apple seeds (also called "pips") with
him and soon planted an orchard on Beacon Hill in Boston. He later moved to Rhode Island and also planted orchards. According to the
Biography of Reverend William Blackstone, The Pioneer of Boston and His Ancestors and Descendents by Nathaniel Brewster Blackstone:
"As for the apple
seeds he used to develop his orchards, it is probable that he was
foresighted enough to retrieve and save every apple core (which
naturally contains seeds) he could find, or otherwise come by.
Certainly most ships were stocked with apples along with other
foodstuffs, therefore, it is doubtful that he brought them with him
in 1623 because this kind of living was most likely not his original
intention. He would have probably only brought with him his
1628 - John Endicott (1558-1665), one of the early colonial
governors of Massachusetts Bay Colony, was commissioned to begin a new
colony at Massachusetts Bay by the English chartered company that
established the original Massachusetts Bay colony in New England. Early
in 1629 the Boston Bay Company placed an order for apple seeds from
England. According to historians, among the possessions brought were
either apple seeds or seedling apple trees (history is very confused
Among the articles “to provide to be sent to New England” by the
Massachusetts Company, in 1629, are the following: “Vine-planters,
wheat, rye, barley, oats, a hogshead of each in the ear: beans,
pease, stones of all sorts of fruits, as peaches, plums, filberts,
cherries: pear, apple, quince kernels: pomegranates, woad seed,
saffron heads, liquorice seed, madder roots, potatoes, hop-roots,
hemp seed, flax seed, currant plants, and madder seeds.” These seeds
and roots were afterwards sent, and, according to accounts, sprung
up and flourished. The mode of cultivating and manuring the soil by
means of fish, was practiced at first as at Plymouth. Owning,
however, to the scarcity of certain kinds, such as cod and bass, it
was forbidden in 1639 to use these for that purpose.
1632 - April 2, 1632, Conants Island in Boston Harbor was granted to John
Winthrop (1588-1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony. The name of the island was changed to The Governour’s Garden.
For this gift, he promised to plant an orchard and a vineyard there, and
agreed to pay yearly a fifth of the fruits forever to the governor,
whoever he might be. In 1634, the rent was changed by the General Court
A hogshead of the best wyne that shall grow there to be paide yearly, after the death of the said John Winthrop
and noething before.” A few years afterwards, the rent was changed
to “two bushels of apples every yeare one bushel to the Governour &
another to the Generall Court in winter, — the same to bee of the
best apples there growing.” The records of the General Court in 1640
show that “Mr. Winthrop, Senior, paid in his bushel of apples."
1640 - By the 1640’s, orchards were well established. Nearly all land owners planted
1737 - Robert Prince in 1737 established
the first commercial apple tree nursery in America called William Prince Nursery in Flushing, New York. The nursery
survived under four generations of the Prince family until just after the Civil War. Prince's Nursery gathered trees and
plants from around the world for resale, and became renowned through the
American colony for its exotic wares.
1775 - The British who occupied Long Island during the Revolutionary War
(1775-1783) had considered the William Prince Nursery so important that
they put an armed guard around the nursery to protect it.
1779 - In 1779, Marquis
de Lafayette entertained George Washington, general of the Continental
Army, for dinner in 1779 under the shade of an old apple tree to map out
Revolutionary War strategy against the British. Lafayette returned in
1824, during his tour of the United States, and was presented with a
cane carved from this tree. The tree blew down in 1821
1789 - George Washington, six months after he became the new nation's first
president, made a trip by barge to visit the William Prince Nursery. He
was accompanied by Vice President John Adams and others. Washington was
not overly impressed, perhaps because the nursery had not yet fully
recovered from the war or perhaps because his Virginia standards were so
high. In his diary for Oct. 10, he notes:
set off from New York, about nine oclock in my barge, to visit Mr.
Princes fruit gardens and shrubberies at Flushing. These gardens,
except in the number of young fruit trees, did not answer my
expectations. The shrubs were trifling and the flowers not
1804-1806 - When Meriwether Lewis and
William Clark explored the Northwest during The Lewis & Clark Expedition
(1804-1806), many of the botanical treasures they found were sent back
to the William Prince Nursery.
1801-1841 - One of America's fondest legends is that of Johnny Appleseed, a folk
hero and pioneer apple farmer in the 1800s. There really was a Johnny
Appleseed and his true name was John Chapmen (1774-1845) and he was born
in Leominster, Massachusetts. His dream was for the land to produce so many apples that no one would ever go hungry.
Most historians today classify him as an eccentric but very smart
businessman, who traveled about the new territories of his time, leasing
land and developing nurseries of apple trees. It is estimated that he
traveled 10,000 square miles of frontier country.
He collected apple seeds from cider mills, dried them, put them up in little bags,
and gave them to everyone he met who was headed West. For forty years he
traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa (planting seeds every
place he considered to be likely spots). He did more
than just plant apple seeds. He began nurseries to take care of the
apple orchards as well as other fruit, vegetable, and herb plants. He walked alone
in the wilderness, without gun or knife. He chopped down no trees and
killed no animals. He believed that God wanted him to go around and read
his Bible to people and plant apple tree for them. He was respected and
appreciated by the native American tribes and the new settlers alike.
For the rest of his life, he traveled alone and denied himself the
companionship of a wife. He fully expected to be compensated for his
celibacy on earth by expecting to have two wives in heaven.
He was considered
"funny looking" because of the way he dressed and looked. According to
the Ashland County web site,
Johnny Appleseed by Marji Hazen:
"John Chapman's appearance was variously described as humble and bizarre
for he was scantily clad summer and winter, without shoes except in
the severest weather when he might wear sandals or moccasins as
often as the old pair of boots one pioneer writer claimed to have
given him out of pity. . . A claim that he was occasionally seen
wearing his mush pot as a hat is likely a legend, but it is reliably
reported that he would wear someone else's castoff hat or create for
himself a sun hat from cardboard. This writer would expect that he
might carry his mush pot on his head if his hands were full, but
probably not as a substitute for 'real' headgear. Pots of that
period were handmade, usually of heavy copper, iron, or enameled
iron. Such a burden would not long or comfortably serve the function
of headgear. And above all, Johnny Appleseed was a man with a
practical sense of function."
1825 - Apples were introduced to the Pacific
Northwest in 1825 by Captain Aemilius Simmons, who planted apple seeds
at Fort Vancouver in the state of Washington. Previously, Captain
Simmons attended a farewell banquet in h is honor in London. At this
party, a young lady slipped some apple seeds into his pocket and bade
him plant them in the wilderness. Some time after his arrival at Fort
Vancouver, he handed the seeds over to Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857), Chief Agent of the Hudson's Bay Company. Dr. McLoughlin, delighted by
the gift, gave the seeds to his gardener to plant His first tree
produced only one apple, but the seeds of that single fruit bore future
generations of hardier stock.
1843-1869 - When covered wagons traveled over the Oregon Trail westward, they
carried apple trees and "scion wood" for grafting as part of their
cargo. Often the family orchard was planted before the ground was broken
for their log cabin that was to be home.
1837 - Josiah Red Wolf, a Nez Perce leader and last survivor of the
Nez Perce War, planted apple trees at Alpowa Creek near the Snake River
in southeast Washington. He is probably the first Native American in
what is now eastern Washington and Oregon known to have a European-style
garden and orchard. Red Wolf's trees lived for decades.
1847 - Henderson Lewelling (1809-1879), an Iowa nurseryman, traveled the Oregon Trail to Oregon with four
wagons, his wife, and eight children. Three yoke of oxen were required
to pull the lead wagon in which were the approximately 700 one-year old
grafted fruit trees. During most of the trip, the family traveled alone
or with small companies as its slow pace irritated those traveling with
them. Eliza Lewelling, one of the daughters, late related that a
Christian Indian told her father that the nursery saved the lives of the
family when they camped near a large band of Indians:
"He said that the Indians
believed that the Great Spirit lived in trees, they thought that he
must be under the special care of the Great Spirit, and so they did
not harm him."
Along with his future son-in-law, William Meek, form a partnership and planted a
nursery in the spring of 1848 near Milwaukie, Oregon. Today, in front of
a military building in the city of Vancouver, a historic apple tree with
a plaque on it, records the following story:
In 1847, Henderson Lewelling
(know for promoting the fruit industry in Iowa, Oregon, and
California) came to Oregon in a covered wagon with his wife,
children and 350 fruit trees that had survived the long journey. It
is said that he took such good care of those trees on the trip that
they were watered every day and only water that was left was given
to his family. He brought apples, pear, quince, plum and cherry
trees. He went into partnership with William Meek, who arrived with
a bag of apple seeds and found a nursery. By 1850, their first crop
produced 100 apples. It was the time of the Gold Rush in California,
and when they rushed to San Francisco with the apple crop,
prospectors were so hungry for fresh fruit that he sold them for $5
each. They used the money to build more orchards.
1908 - Sydney Babson (1882-1975) traveled around Oregon
seeking "just the right spot" to start his apple orchard. He carefully
tended his tiny apple seedlings as he traveled with only a small tend
and his pack. He believed that when his eyes beheld just the right
location for his orchard, he would receive "a sign from God." Emerging
from his tent one morning, he looked towards the beauty of Mt Hood.
Sydney took this as the sign he was looking for and began to plant his
apple orchard. Sydney devoted his life with single-minded purpose to
these orchards for over 60 years. In 1960 he was named "Orchardist of
the Year." Today, the Hood River Valley is one of the major growers of
American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking, By E. Aresty, American Heritage, New York, N.Y., 1964
Apples and More, University of Illinois Extension.
Apples: History, Folklore, Horticulture and Gastronomy, by Peter Wynne, Hawthorn Books, New York, N.Y., 1975.
Food - An Authoritative and Visual History and Dictionary of the Foods of the World, by Waverley Root, published by Smithmark Publlishers, 1980.
Foodbook, by James Trager, published by Gossmand Publishers, 1970.
Good For Me! AllAbout Food in 32 Bites, by Marilyn Burns, published by Little Brown and Company, 1978.
Henderson Luelling, Seth Lewelling, and the birth of the Pacific Coast fruit industry, by Thomas C. McClintock, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. LXVIII, No.
2, June 1967
Johnny Appleseed, by Marji Hazen.
Biography of Reverend William Blackstone, The Pioneer of Boston and His Ancestors and Descendents by Nathaniel Brewster Blackstone.
History of Fruit Growing in the Pacific Northwest Henderson Luelling and Seth Lewelling.
New Jersey’s Histories Mysteries.
The Buying Guide for Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs and Nuts, by Blue Goose, Inc., 6th Edition, 1976.