It a very old saying,“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. In India apple is mainly cultivated in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and some parts of Uttrakhand. Himachal Pradesh has earned the fame of “Apple State”as the apple was first cultivated in Thanedar village of Shimla district. Apple is also the main cash crop of the state. Apple as a cash crop has given the people of Himachal Pradesh to raise themselves economically. It constitutes about 48% of the total area under production. The apple fruit industry has an economy of about Rs. 4000 crores. Himachal Pradesh currently produces an average of over 4 Lacs tonnes of apple annually,but the production is much less as compared to other countries such as China and United States.
The History of Himachal Apples
Himachal is known for its apples not only in the country but worldwide as well. A very few know about how this fruit came to India and how it nurtured to win everyone’s heart. Samual Evan Stokes (also known as Satyananda Stokes)was the first person who started the cultivation of apple trees at a small village in Himachal named Thanedar. He is known for starting the large-scale cultivation of apples in Himachal Pradesh. Some of the theories state that Captain R C Scot of the British Army had introduced apples to the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh much before Satyanand Stokes, but it is mainly due to the efforts of Satyanand Stokes today Himachal is widely known for delicious red coloured apples.
Main Areas for the production of apples in Himachal
The hill state of Himachal Pradesh constitutes about 48 percent of the area under the production of apple. The average production is around 2.5 crore of boxes each year but may vary every year depending on the weather conditions. The production of apple is mainly done in the districts of Kullu, Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi, Chamba and some areas of Sirmaur District. Nowadays the production of apples has stretched to some areas of Lahaul and Spiti district as well. The economy of these areas is mainly dependent on the production of apples. The apple season starts from June and is at its peak in the month of August when the fruits are being harvested from the higher and middle reaches of the state. The total duration of the apple season varies from June to November depending upon the altitude.
The health benefits of Apple Consumption
- Apples are extremely rich in antioxidants, dietary fibres and Flavonoids.
- Apples help in providing you healthier and whiter teeth. It also provides protection from diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s.
- Apples contain flavonol which reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer. It also reduces the risk of Diabetes and heart attack. Our modern lifestyle has affected our eating habits to a large extent. We people are constantly consuming toxins in the form of food as well as drinks.
- Apple consumption helps in detoxifying the liver.
- Red apples help in boosting the immune system of the body. The consumption of apples also helps in beating diarrhoea and constipation. Thus it is also another reason for you to start eating apples.
Different varieties of Apples
The production of apples per hectare in Himachal is not that much of China and United States but it has a vast variety of apples which are grown here. The apple industry is booming as new and new varieties are being imported with the help of the local governing authorities. Some of the common varieties of Himachal apples are enlisted here along with its key features:
- Tydeman: Tydeman apples are of glossy red colour and have and extra sweet spicy taste different from its other counterparts. It is an early summer variety and is available in the month of June.
- Red Delicious: Red delicious apples are dark red in colour and are one of the most well-known apples which are grown commercially. It is available from July to November depending on the altitude.
- Golden Delicious: Golden delicious apple is golden in colour but is not related to red delicious as it differs in terms of taste and colour. It is green skinned and is very sweet in terms of taste. It needs very careful handling as its skin is very delicate and gets damaged easily.
- Gala Apple: Gala apple is mildly sweet in flavour and is very aromatic. It is widely used in salads and manufacturing sauces. It is a bit orange in colour with vertical stripes.
- Granny Smith: Granny Smith apple is a hard, crispy and juicy apple which is light green in colour but turns to yellow after ripening. It is easier to preserve and store as compared to the other varieties.
Owing to the high production of apples in Himachal, it is known as the “Apple Garden Of India”. Although Himachal is famous for its crunchy and delicious apples, there are a lot of other fruits that are produced in Himachal such as Mangoes, Plums, Cherries, Kiwi, Pear, Apricot,Peach, Strawberry,Pomegranate and Persimmons which is a rare fruit and not easily available commercially in India.