Why do we take the apple to our hearts?

In proverbs, in fairy tales, in art, the apple seems to touch the heart of people in all countries where its grown. It’s presented as a Christmas Eve gift in China as a symbol of peace and love and is apparently thrown by Montenegrin brides onto the roof of their new home to bless their marriage. Why does the apple have this universal appeal (even before the computer age….!)?

Maybe the Greek-born Roman writer Plutarch had this worked out two millennia ago when he eulogised:[1] “No other fruit unites the fine qualities of all fruits as does the apple. For one thing, its skin is so clean when you touch it that instead of staining the hands it perfumes them. Its taste is sweet and it is extremely delightful both to smell and to look at. Thus, by charming all our senses at once, it deserves the praise it receives.”  

The apple is a pleasant fruit to eat: firm, crunchy, juicy. Its good to look at too – and artists over the centuries have explored this from many angles. Its health benefits have been studied – the eating of apples is linked to reduced heart disease, better lung function, lower risk of asthma in young adults, and reduced memory loss.  Even to better sex life.[2]What’s not to like?

Perhaps what really sets the apple apart is that, from the earliest days of humanity, it’s been a staple in the lunchbox. It’s easy to pick and transports well whether you’re on a camel on the Silk Road or taking lunch to school. It’s a ready-to-eat, naturally packaged portion of simple goodness, that can be stored into the winter, and made into delicious juice and cider. So, on Apple Day this weekend, take some time to love what the apple means to us all.

Hereford Cider Museum is celebrating Apple Day with their own Apple Festival this Saturday, 20 October, 10.30am - 4.30pm.

Brightspace is celebrating the apple by supporting The Apple World exhibition, which is currently being developed and will be presented in 2019 in partnership with Hereford Cider Museum and the National Trust.


[1] in Moralia Table Talk 100AD

[2] Cai, T., Gacci, M., Mattivi, F. et al. Apple consumption is related to better sexual quality of life in young women (2014) Arch Gynecol Obstet) 290