By Blair Thomas
Illinois’ official state fruit is the goldrush apple – a long-keeping, sweet and tart variety with a rich, spicy flavor. This greenish-yellow apple, which occasionally gains a golden bronze to red blush at harvest, was developed by the disease-resistant apple breeding program of the University of Illinois, Purdue University and Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Learn more about apples with these facts:
- More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but only the crabapple is native to North America.
- Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.
- Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
- Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
- Apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. The largest apple ever picked weighed three pounds.
- Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- The top apple producers around the world are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy. Apples account for 50 percent of international deciduous fruit tree production.
- A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds and will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce. It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
Source: United States Apple Association, www.usapple.org