Apples are not only one of America's favorite healthy snacks, they are a favorite topic of students of all ages. A broad, cross-curricular study of apples provides students with diverse learning experiences involving nutrition, poetry, the life cycle of fruit trees, scientific investigations, and opportunities for library research. This website offers suggestions for accessible and stimulating activities for a series of lessons about apples. The unit encompasses many areas of the curriculum: math, science, writing, literature, art and social studies.
Many of the activities lend themselves naturally to cooperative learning. Small group or partner work is recommended throughout the unit. Students who talk with each other about the topic investigated often reach a richer level of knowledge and understanding than students who are asked only to perform pencil and paper tasks.
There are many apple varieties. The taste of apples depends on many factors - latitude, terrain, weather, and the care with which they were grown. There are 2,500 varieties grown in the United States. A total of 15 popular varieties account for about 90 percent of the total U.S. apple production. Here are the top ten.
Red Delicious - Most popular variety and America's favorite eating apple. Striped to solid red in color, with rich, sweet, mellow taste. Suitable for snacks and salads, not recommended for pies or cooking. Most widely available of all varieties, can be purchased year round nationwide.
Golden Delicious - Yellow color, rich, tangy, sweet, juicy flavor. Texture and shape similar to Red Delicious. Resists browning when sliced. All purpose apple. Desirable for salads, snacks, fresh desserts and baking. Available all year.
McIntosh - Mixed red and green coloring. Tart, tender and juicy flavor. Excellent for eating fresh, not recommended for baking. Available mainly in the east and midwest from September until late spring.
Rome Beauty - Red and red-striped skin. Firm with medium-tart to sweet taste. Best for baking and cooking. Available nationwide from October until July.
Granny Smith -Green coloring, moderately tart and very firm, all-purpose apple. Available nationwide year-round.
Jonathan - Light red stripes over yellow or deep red darkening to purple in areas. Rich semi-tart flavor. All-purpose apple. Available September until spring mainly in the midwest.
York Imperial - Slightly tart, firm with lopsided shape. Deep red skin with green stripes. All purpose apple, best for cooking and baking. Available mainly in Mid-Adantic region from October until late spring.
Stayman - Mildly tart, rich flavor with deep purplish-red, sometimes russetted hue. Multi-purpose apple, suitable for fresh eating, salads and cooking. Available from September until late spring in the central and southeast areas.
Newtown Pippin - Firm, mildly tart apple ideal for eating fresh, in salads and for cooking. Popular for pie fillings and sauces. Available on the west coast from September until February.
Winesap - Deep, purplish-red, firm apple with tangy, juicy, wine-like flavor. Thick-skinned, multipurpose apple. Available nationwide from October until July.
Adapted from Apples: A Class Act published by the U.S. Apple Association. If you would like additional information, please contact: U.S. Apple Association, P.O. Box 1137, McLean, VA 22101-1137, (703) 442-8850