Origins of Apples

The Origins of Apples

Apples are not native to North America.  They originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea.  Alma Ata, capital of Kazakhstan, until 1997, means “full of apples.”  By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe.  The Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans cultivated apples. To the latter goes the credit, during the early centuries of the Christian era, for having carried apple seeds and trees to the British Isles.   Many varieties of apples thrived in England.


Approximately 750,000 years ago: early Paleolithic food gatherers in (modern) Kazakhstan, central Asia, discovered sour crab apples growing wild in the forest.

Ancient Roman mural of a vase filled with apples and grapes, a wine container, and a jug filled with olives
Apples depicted in a mural from Pompeii

Approximately 8,000 years ago: Neolithic farmers in (modern) Asia cultivated wild apples.

c. 1300 BC: Egyptians began planting orchards along the Nile Delta.

c. 800 BC: Ancient Greeks learned grafting techniques.

c. 200 BC: Ancient Romans planted apple orchards in Britain.

1500s-1600s: Spaniards brought apples to Mexico and South America.


Information on this page is from Olwen Woodier’s  Apple CookbookApple Cookbook was first published as The Apple Cookbook in 1984. All of the information in the previous edition was reviewed and updated, and new recipes and information were added. 
Woodier, Olwen. The Apple Cookbook. Pownal, Vt: Garden Way Pub., 1984
Woodier, Olwen. Apple Cookbook. Clarksburg, MA: Storey Publishing LLC., 2001