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Last weekend I went to the National Apple Harvest Festival and of course walked away with tons of goodies! A bushel of apples, a jar of the most delicious honey from Allen's Apiary, candy apples, sauces, jams, pickled beets and of course some really great music.

The apple may not be some exotic tropical superfruit but it definitely has some surprising health benefits, plus they are Gluten-Free!!

Here are some crunchy facts from the US Apple Association!

Apples are part of the rose family

Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.

Apples are rich in antioxidants, especially quercetin, known to inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation.

More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but only the crabapple is native to North America.

The apple also appears as a symbol of love and fertility, even eroticism. By early Greek history, the apple figured in courtship as well as the rites and customs of marriage. For example, the happy couple in the seventh century B.C. might share an apple as a symbol of their marriage and hopes for a fruitful union.

It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.

Research from University of Illinois suggests soluble fiber, like pectin from apples, may strengthen the immune system.

Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each.

Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.

Apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. The largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds.

The healthy image of apples probably finds its source in Greek myths, some of which have foundations as far back as the New Stone Age, in which apples are a token of knowledge and immortality. In one myth, Hercules achieves immortality by eating a sacred apple before submitting to his ritual slaughter. In other myths, apples are associated with the healing gods Apollo, Hercules and Dionysus.

Apple juice was one of the earliest prescribed antidepressants.

University of Denmark researchers discovered apple consumption increases the number of good gut bacteria.

OSU reports eating one apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL, the “bad cholesterol,” by 40%

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