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Apples are one of the most popular fruits out there, and given the whole debate about tomatoes actually being a fruit and strawberries not really being a berry, it’s no wonder you’d ask about this! Apples are common in many parts of the world, and they never seem to go out of season. They’re an ingredient used in salads, pies, and even eaten as a healthy snack. But, are apples a citrus fruit?
No, apples are not citrus fruits. In fact, they’re a pomaceous fruit. Citrus fruits come from flowering trees and shrubs from the genus “Citrus”, and they’re known for their juiciness, acidity, and fragrance. In this article, we’ll talk about exactly what kind of fruit apples are, their nutritional value, historical significance, and the conditions in which they grow best.
The Apple as a Pomaceous Fruit
Apples are smooth-looking fruits with shiny skin that could be anything between yellow, green, or red in color. They’re juicy under the skin, with a sweet taste and a fleshy pulp. More often than not, apples are round and between 2-4 inches in diameter. You could probably fit an apple in the palm of your hand.
Apples can be sweet or acidic depending on the kind, and some are even used solely for their juice.
The History Behind Apples: Where Do They Come From?
Apples have been around for quite some time. In fact, they’ve been around for millennia. People all across Europe and Southeast Asia have been collecting wild apples since more than ten thousand years ago, and apples have been depicted in many classical paintings — a sure sign of their presence and significance.
In fact, apples are so old that they were classified as the “forbidden fruit” in the Bible in the story of Adam and Eve. This, along with their anecdotal nutritional value, could explain why they have been so popular throughout the centuries. DNA analysis has revealed that not only are apples not citrus fruits, and they originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, where the wild apple Malus sieversii still thrives today.
A fun fact about apples is that they’re heterozygous. This means that an apple grown from seeds will be nothing like its parents, and it’s the reason why people choose domesticated apples — with the wild ones, you can never be sure if they’ll be sweet or extremely sour. Today, China is one of the biggest growers of the domesticated apple, Malus domestica, along with Italy, Chile, the USA, and Poland.
Apples Are Not Citrus Fruits: Here’s Why
Apples aren’t citrus fruits, and they never could be. The only thing they may have in common is how their seeds look from afar, but no matter how juicy an apple might be or how acidic, it’s not a citrus fruit. Let’s dig a bit deeper:
Apples are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They give you a high burst of energy, almost no fat, and almost 85% water.
All these nutrients can also be present in citrus fruits but in usually in different quantities, and they certainly don’t have as much fiber in them.
Apples are fleshy and soft to eat and can taste sweet or acidic. People usually eat them whole, cut them up and put them in salads, and are divided over whether to eat them with or without the peel.
On the other hand, citrus fruits aren’t fleshy in the same way, and their leathery peel is not fit for consumption.
Apples are usually eaten in salads, by themselves, and less popularly as juices. They’re available all year round and grow on trees, the planting of which is easy. There are two varieties of apples, the cooking and eating varieties.
As implied by the name, “cooking variety”, those types of apples are usually used in the making of apple-flavored desserts and pies. Apples even hold a central position in a lot of holiday traditions, especially on Halloween. Apple picking is a beloved pastime around autumn, and candied apples are a Halloween favorite.
In Europe, many savory dishes like pork and sausage are served with fried apples on the side. In the case of citrus fruits, they are usually used in juices and flavorings, with their juice sometimes being used to prepare delicious, savory meals.
Where Do Apples Grow Best?
Apples grow best in areas with a distinct winter season, but their growth is only hindered if it gets too cold. They need to be planted in well-drained soil, which is fertilized for optimum growth. Because of the unpredictability of apples grown from seeds, most trees are grown through grafting, which is the only way to know for sure what your apple yield will look like once they’re ready.
Many cultivators prefer to grow them in hilly areas, so when it gets too cold, the colder sir can drain to the bottom of the valley instead of clinging to the trees. If left to sit in extreme cold, the young flowers or seedlings may freeze over and be destroyed.
A typical apple tree takes over six to eight years before it starts producing apples, but they need to be taken care of throughout this time, especially in the first five years.
The Conclusion: Are Apples a Citrus Fruit?
While apples and citrus fruits may share some similarities, the apple is not, in fact, a citrus fruit — though it’s just as delicious as one. From the taste to the appearance to the nutritional value, the two differ quite strongly.