Apples are tempting. Eve was tempted by an apple wielding serpent. Adam was tempted by Eve’s apple. You know how that turned out. In Greek mythology, Athena was tempted by a golden apple, which began a series of events that resulted in the Trojan War. And who could forget Snow White’s apple-induced coma? Obviously, apples are dangerous.
All that hoopla over a fruit with such lowly origins. Ancient apples bore a strong resemblance to today’s crabapples. While crabapples might become palatable with enough sugar and made into crabapple jelly, most of us would rather not eat them fresh off the tree. They might have been red, but certainly not delicious. Those original apples had a long way to go before being considered tempting.
Some of the "apple transformation" came about through natural selection. Environmental conditions determined which apples were able to survive. But a lot of change can be laid at the feet of artificial selection. Farmers decided which plants were useful enough to propagate. Human standards run to taste, hardiness, disease resistance, and even appearance. Remember the witch brandishing the lovely red apple and urging Snow White to, "Just look at it, my beauty."
Isn’t it interesting that a fruit linked to dangerous temptation can, at the same time, lead to wholesomeness and good health? An apple a day might not really keep the doctor away, but nutrients in apples can ward off some diseases.
Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) earned a cherished place in American folklore as a distributor of apples seeds that became orchards. Those orchards supplied food for humans and animals alike. Many a pioneer family in Ohio Territory enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple dumplings, and (in the winter) dried apple rings.
Today we are treated to an array of apple varieties. Familiar ones such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, MacIntosh, and Jonathan share grocery store shelves with fancy ones like Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, Ambrosia, and Honeycrisp. The choices are enough to tempt every tongue. Each of us should be able to find one that’s the apple of our eye.