National Apple Day falls on October 21 and is a day dedicated entirely to celebrating all things apple: apple pie, apple sauce, apple crisp… The list goes on and on. This holiday reminds us to appreciate the apple in its myriad forms. On October 21st, pick out your favorite variety and celebrate with apple lovers across the world.
History of National Apple Day
Studies have shown that the earliest known wild apple trees cropped up in regions of central Asia anywhere between 10 and 20 million years ago. Though initially their flavor skewed toward sour, apple trees would evolve to produce sweeter fruits. This development would make them a more attractive food for wild animals and thereby assist with their diffusion throughout the continent. The apple would eventually spread to Europe as early as the 17th century BC; some historians believe it was during this time that the Roman populus cultivated and developed the apple into the larger, sweeter, more edible fruits that we are familiar with today.
Since then, the apple has found its way to the forefront of parts of American consciousness and identity (the iconic story of Johnny Appleseed, the phrase “as American as apple pie,” and the nickname “The Big Apple” all come to mind). In fact, though, the United States plays a small part in the worldwide history of the apple; the only native variety to the country is the crabapple, often dismissed as too bitter to enjoy naturally.
Furthermore, though also observed in America, National Apple Day actually has its roots in Europe. It was created by the U.K.-based charity organization Common Ground on October 21st of 1990 in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of diversity in different communities. Though the initial meaning of the holiday has been somewhat forgotten, apple-lovers everywhere still enthusiastically use the holiday as a chance to rave about their love for the more than 7,500 different varieties of apple grown across the globe!