Apples and Oranges
No two things could be more different than apples and oranges. Just by looking at them one can see many different characteristics that set them apart from each other. Apples are red, yellow, russet, and sometimes striped in color and oranges are usually orange. Oranges have to be peeled before one can eat them. These two different fruits grow in different parts of the world, on different trees, and in different climates. What could these complete opposites have in common? Surprisingly they share many qualities that really do make them a lot alike.
The apple is the most important tree fruit of the temperate regions of the world. Apples have been grown and used for food since the early dawn of history. Charred remains found in Stone Age lake dwellings in central Europe show that prehistoric people ate apples. There are carvings of apples on ancient tombs and monuments in the Middle East. The apple appears often in myths and folklore of ancient civilizations. In Greek mythology Hercules traveled to the ends of the Earth to bring back the golden apples of Hersperides. A golden apple-the apple of discord-caused a quarrel that led to the Trojan War. A Norse myth tells of a magical apple that keeps people alive forever. The Halloween game dipping for apples had a beginning among the ancient Celts as a way to foretelling the future.
Early European settlers brought apples to America. At first apples were mainly used for cider, which is another name for apple juice. As the frontier moved westward so did apple trees. One of the first things a settler would do after clearing the land and building a cabin was to plant apple trees in the yard.
Apples grow on a medium- sized tree. In good soils, non pruned trees will reach 9 to 12 meters (30 - 40 feet) in height. Apple trees generally do not begin to blossom and bear fruit until they are 5 to 8 years old. They reach maximum production at about age 20; commercial orchards are generally replaced when they reach 35 to 40 years in age. Although the trees would live longer, the fruit from old trees is generally smaller and poorer in appearance and more expensive to care for. Apple trees can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees C. Here in the United States apples...