December is full of festivities and celebrations that involve enjoying copious amounts of delicious food, but one little-known holiday is all about eating for your health. National Eat a Red Apple Day is observed December 1 of each year.
Apples are certainly popular during this time of year — as evident from caramel apples, apple pie, bobbing for apples and even receiving apples after sharing your Christmas wish list with Santa. However, Eat a Red Apple Day emphasizes both the tasty and nutritional aspects of America’s favorite fruit. It also specifically celebrates the Red Delicious apple, perhaps the most iconic member of the apple family, and its history.
Red is the Color of the Season
When most people think about apples, the first image that comes to mind is probably not the chartreuse color of a Golden Delicious apple, or even the vibrant green of a Granny Smith Apple. People think of red apples. And not a red apple mottled with yellow like what you see in a Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp or Braeburn apple. No, most people think of the Red Delicious apple. It’s so engrained in our minds that when you ask a young child to draw an apple, they reach for a red crayon.
Until the 1980s, the Red Delicious firmly held its position as the most popular variety of apple in the world. At one point, volume numbers for Red Delicious in Washington State, which is one of the biggest producers of apples, constituted 75% of the state’s production. However, since the late 80s, production has shrunk to 1/3rd of that amount as grower-shippers continue to move away from the classic apple and began planting a greater variation as American’s craved better-tasting apples.
Red Delicious are still desirable for many, and they are still a massive part of the world’s production of apples. But Gala apples are estimated to account for 23% of the current season’s crop, and they are on track to surpass Red Delicious this season or the next.
Red Apples Contain Many Health Benefits
With more 7,500 varieties of apples in an assorted shapes, flavors and colors, many of which are grown in the U.S., apples are widely available, especially in the fall and winter months. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and today is a perfect time to put that theory to the taste test.
Apples are low calorie and free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Research suggests apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. While apples contain a relatively low amount of vitamin C, they provide a rich amount of antioxidant and fiber, which help reduce damaged cells and fight diseases. They may also help with heart disease and weight loss.
Other Apple Facts:
- Depending on what variety you choose, apples can be sweet or tart.
- Some are soft and smooth, while others are crisp and crunchy.
- Apples can be eaten raw, cooked, baked or juiced.
- They are easy to pack in a lunch box or carry for snacking.
- Apples are a natural mouth freshener.
- Compared to other fruits, apples are still relatively inexpensive.
So celebrate by Eating a Red Apple today!