Pennsylvania is typically the fourth largest apple producer in the country, producing approximately 11 million bushels – or 440 million pounds – each year. Because of the diverse climate and soil conditions, there are literally hundreds of different varieties grown throughout the state.
The top apple-producing counties are Adams, Franklin, Bedford, Berks, York, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lehigh, Snyder, Schuylkill, Erie, Lycoming, Centre, Columbia, and Chester.
In 2011, there were 21,000 acres of Pennsylvania land bearing apples contributing almost $80 million to the state’s economy, with approximately $3 million coming from exports to places like Central America, Israel and India.
Of the 10.5 million bushels of apples produced in 2011, about 4.4 million bushels went to the fresh market and 6.1 million bushels were used for processed products – including 4.4 million bushels for canned product and more than 1.6 million bushels for juice and cider.
Apples – A Healthy Choice
Apples are a healthy source of antioxidants. Oxidative damage to cells may trigger some diseases, including cancer and heart disease. You can minimize oxidative damage by eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods, including apples.
The keys to good health include eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. And by including apple servings – like delicious Pennsylvania apples – in your diet each day, you’re on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Apple Nutrition Facts and Benefits
FACT: Apples don’t contain fat, cholesterol or sodium.
BENEFIT: A plus for maintaining heart health.
FACT: Apples do have lots of fiber – both soluble and insoluble kinds.
BENEFIT: Fiber helps promote heart health and maintain regularity.
FACT: Apples contain small amounts of potassium.
BENEFIT: Potassium may promote heart health and help maintain healthy blood pressure.
An Apple Serving Defined
- 1 medium apple (about the size of a tennis ball)
- 1/2 cup chopped, cooked or canned apple
- 6 ounces of 100% apple juice
- 1/2 cup of applesauce
Add Apples to Your Diet
- Stir apples into hot or cold breakfast cereal.
- Garnish a green salad with diced apple cubes for color and flavor.
- For an afternoon energy boost, snack on an apple.
- Freeze applesauce and then whip it in the blender for an apple “slushie”.
- Add thinly sliced apples to your favorite sandwich.
Apple Nutrition Label
Apple Health Benefits
Provided by the U.S. Apple Association
Promising research results suggest a link between apples and weight loss, brain health (including Alzheimer’s disease), cancers, lung and heart health and stroke. Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber. In addition, apples are also a healthy source of antioxidants, which have been linked to disease prevention. Recent research links apple nutrients to an impressive range of health benefits:
Boost Weight Loss: Researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss found that overweight women who ate the equivalent of three apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet. (Nutrition, 2003, 19: 253-256)
Age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease: Multiple studies from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell found that the consumption of apple juice, in conjunction with a balanced diet, may protect against oxidative brain damage that can lead to memory loss. The brain health benefits were found when animals consumed the equivalent of 2-3 cups of apple juice or 2-4 whole apples per day. (of Alzheimer's Disease, 2009, 16:1; Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2005, 8: 283-287; Journal on Nutrition Health and Aging, 2004, 8: 92-97)*
Brain health and neurodegenerative diseases: Researchers from Cornell University also found in their in vitro study that apple nutrients protected brain neurons against oxidative damage. Such damage can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The study highlighted a particular apple flavonoid, quercetin, as a principle compound responsible for the protective effect. (Journal of Food Science, 2004, 69: S357-S360)*
Breast cancer: A series of studies at Cornell University have evaluated the direct effects of apples on breast cancer prevention in animals. The more apples consumed, the greater the reduction in incidence or number of tumors among test animals. The apple consumption tested was equivalent to one to six apples a day for 24 weeks. (Journal of Agric. Food Chem., 2009, 53: 2341-2343)*
Pancreatic Cancer: Quercetin, a flavonoid found naturally in apples, has been identified as one of the most beneficial flavonols in preventing and reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Although the overall risk was reduced among the study participants, smokers who consumed foods rich in flavonols had a significantly greater risk reduction. (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007, 8: 924-931)
Colon and Liver Cancer: A research team at Cornell University identified a group of phytochemicals that are more abundant in the peel and appear to kill or inhibit the growth of at least three different types of human cancer cells: colon, breast and liver. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007, 55(11):4366 – 4370)
Prostate Cancer: Researchers at Rochester, Minn.’s Mayo Clinic report that quercetin, a plant-based nutrient found most abundantly in apples, may provide a new method for preventing or treating prostate cancer. They found that quercetin inhibited or prevented the growth of human prostate cancer cells by blocking activity of androgen hormones, in an in vitro study. Previous studies had linked androgens to prostate cancer’s growth and development. (Carcinogenesis, 2001, 22: 409-414)
Diabetes and Heart Disease: Apple product consumers are likely to have lower blood pressure and trimmer waistlines, resulting in a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health issues related to diabetes and heart disease. (Experimental Biology 2008 Poster (unpublished).*
Lung Health Childhood Asthma: Research from the UK reports that children of mothers who eat apples during pregnancy are much less likely to exhibit symptoms of asthma, including wheezing, at age 5. Among a variety of foods consumed and recorded by the pregnant women, apples were the only food found to have a positive association with a reduced risk of asthma. (Thorax, 2007, 62:745-746.)
Childhood Asthma: Research from the UK reports that children of mothers who eat apples during pregnancy are much less likely to exhibit symptoms of asthma, including wheezing, at age 5. Among a variety of foods consumed and recorded by the pregnant women, apples were the only food found to have a positive association with a reduced risk of asthma. (Thorax, 2007, 62:745-746.)
Chronic cough and lung cancer: A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that foods rich in fiber and flavonoids — found abundantly in apples — may reduce chronic productive cough and other respiratory symptoms. Researchers at the University of Hawaii and Finland’s National Public Health Institute have also linked flavonoids found in apples with a reduced risk of developing certain cancers, including lung cancer. (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med, 2004, 170: 279-287; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000, 92: 154-160; American Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, 146: 223-230)
Asthma: Researchers from Australia report that study participants who ate apples and pears had the lowest risk of asthma. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003; 78: 414-21). A study from London’s King’s College and the University of Southampton reports that people who ate at least two apples per week had a 22-32 percent lower risk of developing asthma than people who ate fewer apples. (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med, 2001, 164: 1823-1828).
Reduced Mortality: A study has identified a possible link between a common component of apples and heart health in postmenopausal women. The study results indicate that increased consumption of apples may contribute to a decrease in mortality from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007, 85 (3): 895-909.)
Fiber and cardiovascular disease: A French study found that diets with the highest total dietary fiber and nonsoluble dietary fiber intakes were associated with a significantly lower risk of several heart disease risk factors, including overweight, elevated waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005, 82: 1185-1194). U.S. researchers report that for every 10 grams of fiber consumed per day the risk of developing heart disease may decrease 14 percent, and the risk of dying from heart disease may decrease 27 percent. Fiber from fruits appeared to be slightly more protective than cereal fiber, lowering the risk of coronary disease death by 30 percent. (Arch Int Med, 2004, 164: 370-376)
LDL Oxidation: Researchers at the University of California-Davis report that daily consumption of apples and apple juice may help reduce the damage caused by the “bad” type of cholesterol and protect against heart disease, based on the first human study of its kind. (Journal of Medicinal Food, 2000, 3: 159-165). An earlier study from UC-Davis Davis reported similar findings in vitro. They also confirmed that important phytonutrients from apples are also found in apple juice. (Life Sciences, 1999, 64: 1913-1920)*
Antioxidants: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently categorized three specific varieties of apples among the top 20 antioxidant sources. While the study highlighted three apple varieties in particular, all apples contain beneficial levels of antioxidants and have other healthful nutrition properties. Two-thirds of an apple’s antioxidants are found in its peel. (USDA Agricultural Research Service, 2007)
For more information on these studies or for other research findings, visit the USApple website at www.USApple.org
*Indicates study was funded by the U.S. Apple Association or its research partner, the Apple Products Research & Education Council (APREC) (formerly the Processed Apples Institute)
Pennsylvania Apples Fun Facts
- One large apple contains no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and only 130 calories.
- Apples are an excellent source of fiber.
- Apples contain Boron, a mineral that helps children’s bodies use calcium and keeps brain function active and alert.
- Two-thirds of the fiber and many of the antioxidants are found in an apple’s peel.
- One serving of 100% apple juice counts as a fruit serving.
- Eating a fresh apple will cleanse your mouth or more than 95% of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
- There are over 10,000 known varieties of apples grown throughout the world (3,000 in the United States).
- The first American apple orchard was planted around 1625 by William Blackstone on Boston’s Beacon Hill.
- Pennsylvania grows approximately 11 million bushels of apples each year.
- October is National Apple Month.
- The apple appears throughout history as a symbol of love.
- Cut an apple in half (across the center) and you will find a hidden star.
- Well known apple orchardists include George Washington and Thomas Jefferson