The History of an Apple Tree

ORIGIN

Scientists believe that apples were first domesticated in south Kazakhstan as early as 2000 BC. The Greeks and Romans actually introduced the apple to North Africa and Europe.

Apple Trees are actually a member of the Rose Family and the strawberry, plum, pear and blackberry fruits are actually sisters.

Forbidden Fruit

Apples have appeared in history from Norse mythology to Robert Frost to Johnny Appleseed. However, one place the apple doesn’t appear is in the original story of Adam and Eve. Various debate suggestion include everything under the sun but nope not the Apple as we have been led to be believe.

Varieties

This picture does not do apples any justice with the amount of varieties there are. From dark red to every variation of red to yellow to green there are over 7,500 apple tree varieties worldwide! From sweet to sour to soft to crunchy there is an apple for everyone!

Recipes

Eating apples and cooking apples are two different things and divide the many varieties of apples according to their size, sweetness and texture. Some apples are considered multi-use or all-purpose apples.

The main difference between the two is the sugar content. Eating apples are very sweet and delicious like Gala or Fuji apples. Cooking apples tend to be tarter like the Granny Smith or Gravenstein apples.

Other apples such as the McIntosh apple are better for cooked down recipes like applesauce. While Honeycrisp are used for juicing or cider.

Good news is that eating apples and cooking apples can be substituted for one another. However, cooks should know that it may change the taste or you may want to choose to reduce the amount of sugar you put in a recipe.

Apple Tree Companion Plants

Apples go great in all types of dishes but what if you could plant other fruits, vegetables or herbs to be ready at the same time as when the Apple Tree starts producing. Below is a list of companion plants that should also be ready to harvest in October for some really yummy combination recipes.

Beets

Wow! What a treat Beets surprisingly are! They have a earthy and have a surprisingly sweet taste. Cooking them can also change its taste and texture. One little warning about Beets is to wear gloves when handling them as they stain everything.

Beets can be canned, roasted, pureed, pickled, eaten raw and so much more. You can put beets in salads, juices, smoothies, main dishes and even desserts to name a few. Check out this amazing Beet and Apple Salad recipe.

Pumpkin

What rhymes with October? Pumpkin! Well it doesn’t really rhyme but Pumpkin and Apple are like two perfect peas in a pod together in many dishes from Breakfast to Desserts. But what does Pumpkin actually taste like?

Nowadays you can find Pumpkin favored everything but real Pumpkin tastes like other squashes Pumpkin Spice is composed of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg which apples also pair well with. Check out this amazingly yummy Pumpkin Apple Crisp! Which can be eaten at any part of the day in our opinion.

Cucumber

Cucumbers have a mild, lightly sweet, cool, and refreshing taste. They also have very watery, juicy and almost a fresh taste.

Like apples they are mostly used fresh in salads, eaten raw as snacks and put into smoothies. Check out his awesome Cucumber Apple Salad!

Apple Trees need companion plants not only for recipes but also to prevent diseases and pests but to also help growth. Below is a list of plants that you can plant next to the apple tree in order to seek these wonderful natural benefits.

Rosemary

Rosemary is planted near Apple Trees to attract pollinators. You can typically grow rosemary in USDA hardiness zones 7-10 and they tend to favor drier weather over wet.

Rosemary is a fragrant herb that is slightly minty, sage-like with a bitter and woody aftertaste. Rosemary’s flavor is not reduced when it cooked and a little goes a long way. Rosemary goes well with many dishes but this one is our favorite! Click here for this Recipe!

Leeks

Planting Leeks near an apple tree can help the growth of the apple tree. Leeks can also help prevent disease such as apple scab and similar fungal diseases. Leeks are a twofer as they are also ready to Harvest in October. So are sweet potato for that matter!

Leeks are related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. They taste sweet with an onion-y kind of flavor. Leeks are versatile and are used in many dishes and cuisines. Click here for this Recipe!

Chive

Long life is a key to the chive plant. It helps plants around them repel pests and help attract beneficial pollinators.

Like Leeks, Chives have an onion taste but are more mild. Chives are used world wide as a universal garnish, giving a hint of flavor and color to a wide range of dishes. Check out this yummy recipe!

Did you know? The Apple Edition

Variety

There are more than 7,500 apple varieties wordwide with more than 2,500 varieties are grown in the US where its the second most-valued grown fruit.

Come in all shades of red, green, and yellow as well as tastes such as sweet, tart and many mixed varieties.

NUTRITION

Fat-free, cholesterol free, has 5 grams of fiber, are a delicious snack and is a great low-calorie substitution in baking.

Orchards

Research shows that apples originated in the Middle East between the Caspian and Black Sea. Reported the longest-lived apple tree was plated in 1647 and only stopped bearing fruit when a derailed train struck the tree in 1866.

One tree on average can harvest enough apples to fill 20 boxes. However, one apple tree can take up to 4-5 years to produce their first fruit.

Recipes galore!

Apples can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, juiced, pureed, frozen, fermented and so much more! They can be made into many tasty, healthy and not so healthy dishes. Check out our recipes for some inspiration!

Plant of the Month Recipes – October – Apple

It’s October, cool crisp fall is in the air, the leaves are turning colors, the smell of pumpkin spice in every store, festivals and best of all apple picking. This is why we made Apple our Plant for the Month for October. Apples are absolutely delicious, sweet, sometimes tart and very low calorie fruit.

  • When to Grow: Plant bare-root trees in spring as soon as the soil can be worked and before the trees begin to significantly leaf out
  • Zone: Zones 3 to 9
  • Where: Full Sun, well-drained loamy soil
  • Harvesting: Midsummer through late fall
  • Fun Fact: There are over 10,000 different varieties of apples

Check out these amazing Apple Recipes!

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Inside-Out on Watermelon Seeds

The Old Wives’ Tale

When we were young we were told that if we would swallow a Watermelon seed a Watermelon tree would grow inside of you. For decades, this myth stuck with all of us and made a bad name for Watermelon seeds.

Nutritional Value

Taking the seeds out actually dampens the nutritional value of Watermelon. When a Watermelon is mature its seeds turn black. These seeds alone are a delicious and healthy snack. You can eat them raw, sprouted and roasted. They are low in calories and have a rich source of proteins, vitamins, omega’s, magnesium and so much more.

The Benefits

  • Great for skin: Prevents outbreak of acne, moisturizes your skin and may help prevent early signs of ageing.
  • Great for hair: May help with hair thinning and hair loss as well as keeping it silky and vibrant.
  • Blood sugar: Studies have shown that Watermelon seeds are linked to better blood sugar control and reduces insulin resistance in the body.
  • Boosts energy: May give a metabolism kick
  • May Prevent Osteoporosis: by strengthening your bones and improving their density.
  • Improves hearth health: The good fats in Watermelon seeds are useful in protecting against heart attacks and/or strokes.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Secret Gardens of Avalon LLC does not claim responsibility for this information. 

Not just for eating

Did you know that you can plant the seeds found in Watermelon and grow your own Watermelon plants. Just make sure the Watermelon hasn’t chilled, dry the seeds then put them on a towel in a sunny spot for a week or so then plant them in the Spring in warm fertilized soil. They require lots of water and sunlight.

Oddly Shaped Watermelons

Watermelon can be grown into different shapes

In 2004, Japan out of no where decided to sell Square and Pyramid shaped Watermelons. People around the world took this by the reigns. We’ve seen: Frankenstein, Heart Square and Many More!

You can now order these “molds” on your favorite online stores.

Did you know? The Watermelon addition.

Another Fruit or Vegetable situation?

Just like tomatoes, Watermelon can be thought of as a fruit and a vegetable. They grow like a fruit originating from flowers and they contain seeds whereas, gardeners think of them as vegetables since they grow like and are classified as part of the gourd family.


Variety! Variety! Variety!

Watermelon comes in 1,200 different varieties which are typically divided into 4 main categories:

  • Seeded a.k.a. Picnic
  • Seedless
  • Mini a.k.a. Icebox a.k.a. your own personal watermelon!
  • Yellow/Orange

For more information, click here!


It can grow, grow, grow….

The Guinness Book of World Records” reports the largest watermelon weighing at a whopping 350.5 lbs!


Watermelon Art

Amazing artists have created art from carving watermelons. Click here, to check them out!

Plant of the Month Recipes – September – Watermelon

For the Month of September we decided to make Watermelon our favorite plant of the month. Watermelon is scrumptiously delicious, sweet, low calorie and refreshing vine like fruit.

  • When to Grow: From late spring to early summer
  • Zone: Anywhere that has Warmer Climates (3-11)
  • Where: They do best in loamy, somewhat-sandy, well-drained soil with a lot of space.
  • Harvesting: 70 and 100 days from planting
  • Fun Fact: Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent!

Check out these amazing Recipes!

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Cocktail

History of Carrots

Trust us this is not another boring history lesson. Well at least not for us! The Carrot can be traced back over 5,000 years where evidence has shown that it originated in Afghanistan.

A Carrots Journey

Traders Traveling through Afghanistan picked up carrot seeds over the centuries and traded them along the trade routes of Asia, Arabia, and Africa. Carrots have even been found in Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh’s tombs.

Early on Greeks didn’t eat carrots but instead they used it for medicinal purposes. At times throughout history carrots were even thought to be an aphrodisiac. Europe began the cultivation of carrots by the 13th century! Carrots were introduced to America in 1609 but didn’t start getting developed until in 1871 however, it didn’t become popular until after WWI

The Carrot Gets Its Name

The name “Carrot” came from the derivatives of the Greek, Latin and French words. The Latin name Daucus carota most influenced its present name that came from the French who name it carotte.

Variety

In the past there were many varieties of carrots in all sorts of colors like purple, white, black, and red however not Orange! These early varieties weren’t sweet and succulent like the carrots that we know today.

The Dutch actually were the first to cross-breed the yellow and red carrot to produce a the orange carrot that we know today. Which became quickly popular.

Fact or Fiction Friday – Carrots & Your Eyes

Throughout history we have been told to “Eat carrots, There good for your eyes!” In history, the British convinced the Germans that the excessive eating of carrots improves vision in the dark.

But can Carrots help us see in complete darkness?

Unfortunately, this magic power is still a magic power as carrots can’t make you see in complete darkness but since they are a great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A they may help improve your eye sight. Studies have shown that the nutrients in Carrots helps the eye to convert light into a signal that is sent to the brain, helping to make us see better in the dark.

For someone who is healthy it wouldn’t hurt to eat carrots in general but eating carrots may not improve your eyes however, for someone who suffers from a Vitamin-A deficiency eating carrots may help prevent night blindness.

In the long run…..

Carrots can improve vision in the dark is half-myth and half-truth!

There’s more to Carrots?!?!

Carrots contain a lot more nutrients than Beta Carotene and Vitamin A. They contain a wide variety of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as:

Lutein, Vitamin K, Pectin, Biotin, Potassium, carotenoids, and is a Carbohydrate that ranks low on the glycemic index.

Carrots may protect against several types of cancers in the heart, colon, stomach and prostate; reduce the risk of heart disease; beneficial for diabetes; and may help boost the immune system.

You might say what do Carrots not help with… our answer is very little.

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