apples in a box

The apple doesn’t fall far… from the train car

Happy Fall, Y’all! When it comes to fall fruit, the apple is king. One only has to think of quotes or sayings about apples to recognize their popularity in American cuisine:

“It’s as American as apple pie.”

“One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”

“Don’t upset the apple cart.”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Like many other foods, apples have been and are still transported by train to markets across the country. One of the rail companies that transports apples is the Union Pacific. As a benefit to its passengers, in the 1920s the Union Pacific Agricultural Department issued a wonderful little booklet about the many uses of apples in recipes, as well as their nutritional benefits.

We happen to have a 1924 copy of 150 Recipes for Apple Dishes in which there are several different recipes for apple pie.

Union Pacific Menu

Figure 1 Union Pacific booklet from 1924, front cover. Colorado Railroad Museum Collection.

Within this lovely little booklet are suggestions of when it is best to harvest different varieties of apples, how to use them in recipes, and from what states they come. There is also an article about the health benefits of eating apples, which states, “The apple – well named ‘The King of Fruits’ – is one of Nature’s best and cheapest medicines: preventive as well as curative”. The book even suggests that consuming apples will clean teeth!

The Union Pacific has a long history of shipping produce, but such shipments lessened with the onset of the automobile since trucks can carry fruit from one coast to another in just a few days. However, in 2018, as part of a company-wide idea contest, experiments with ethylene gas determined that with the proper ethylene filtration system, apples can be shipped via rail and still have several days before they ripen. To read this interesting article, click this link:

See below for some interesting 1920s recipes for many different kinds of apple pie. If you try to make any of them, please let us know how your recipe turned out via our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page!

Back of Union Pacific menu.

Figure 2 Union Pacific booklet from 1924, back cover. Colorado Railroad Museum collection.

Apple Pie Recipes

Figure 3 Apple pie recipes from “150 Recipes for Apple Dishes”. Colorado Railroad Museum collection.


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