Taking Inventory: Apple

An a-peel-ing fruit

A balanced diet is important, and luckily the culinary world of Minecraft can provide it. All the major food groups are present in the game, from protein-rich fish and meat, to grains and cereals like wheat, to cow’s milk, to vegetables like carrots and beetroot, to fruits like melon and our item of the week – the humble apple.

The need to collect lots of wood at the very start of a new world, and the abundance of oak trees across Minecraft’s blocky landscapes, means that apples are often the first foodstuff that lands in a player’s inventory. I’ve chomped through many an apple while building a rudimentary log cabin to call home.

Apples were added to Minecraft very early on in the game’s development, in version 0.31, alongside iron tools, flint and steel. “Right-click to eat” said the patch notes. Apples replaced mushrooms as the way to recover health, and the player would spawn in a house with a chest containing 99 of them. When they were gone, they were gone.

It wasn’t until two years later, in 2012, that apples began to drop from oak leaves. Even so, they’re something of a rarity – on average, you’ll need to destroy about 12,000 oak leaf blocks to get a full stack of apples (though a fortune enchantment will help). A much easier way to get apples is to trade with villagers, hunt through village chests, or go dungeoneering – they’re often found in strongholds.

Apples restore two full points of hunger. But WAIT! They can also be crafted with gold into golden apples – which heal the same amount of hunger but give you health regeneration and absorption buffs on top. Horses like apples too, and feeding one to a baby horse will help it grow up big and strong.

Apples don’t come from oak trees in the real world. They come from apple trees, of course. The fruit is native to Central Asia, but has been grown for many thousands of years all across Asia and Europe. It wasn’t until European settlers arrived in North America, a few centuries ago, that it began to grow there.

Local supermarkets usually only have a few types of apple to buy – where I come from, Granny Smith or Golden Delicious varieties are common. But there are more than 7,500 different types of apple, with different colours, flavours and textures. Some are eaten raw, some used for cooking and some for making cider. China produces almost half of the world’s total apples.

You might have heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and it’s true that fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. The phrase dates back to 19th century Wales, where it was originally “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” It then evolved to “an apple a day, no doctor to pay,” and then to its modern phrasing in the early 20th century.

Let’s try a new one. “An apple a day keeps the Creepers at bay.”

If only that were true.

Written by
Duncan Geere