It's time for picking Beacon and State Fair apples, and soon Red Baron and Wealthy apples will be at their peak of ripeness, followed by other such favorites as McIntosh, Sweet Sixteen, Honeygold, Haralson and Regent. Each kind of Minnesota apple has its own special flavor and texture.
The apple provides a sweet touch that also is healthy and does not hurt the teeth. A medium-sized apple about three inches in diameter, besides being 85 percent water, has about 70 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrate and traces of many vitamins and minerals. In addition, the mild acid of the apple is effective in cleaning tooth surfaces and leaving a pleasant taste in the mouth.
Scientists believe the earliest apples to be cultivated grew wild, first in the mountains of southwestern Asia, probably in the area between the Black and Caspian seas. The first Minnesota full-sized apple variety to withstand cold winters, bear fruit regularly, and have good keeping qualities and flavor was developed in the 1860s by Peter Gideon, who lived near the south shore of Lake Minnetonka.
Gideon's apple, named Wealthy, after his wife, Wealthy Hull, ripens in late August and is still widely grown throughout Minnesota. Since then, he and other horticulturists have developed many varieties of apples suitable to our climate and the taste of apple eaters.
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