If you love history, mystery and happy endings, you'll enjoy learning about autumn apples. One of the earliest cultivated fruits, the apple has come a long way from its crabapple-like ancestors. Careful cultivation has transformed those original small, sour apples into large, sweet fruits. Grown in many parts of the globe, modern apples come in more than 7,500 varieties, representing a number of different shapes, colors and flavors.
Careful grafting practices account for much of the consistency in today's apples. Without relying on grafted stock from established strains, cross pollination would produce somewhat different apples with each new tree, and eventually apples would revert back to the smallish, unappealing stock that man first started cultivating in the Iron Age or before.
Selective crosses of established apple strains create new varieties, and some of the most popular apples sold in the United States today, like Gala and Fuji, are the result of carefully planned crosses.
The next time you eat an apple, show a little appreciation. Besides tasting good, most apples have long and respected pedigrees.