The Surprising Connection Between Johnny Appleseed And Smucker's

Whether it's for making a mean PB&J, spreading thickly onto scones, filling thumbprint cookies, or layering in between sheets of cake, chances are you have, at one point in your life, purchased a jar of fruit spread from Smucker's. The company has been sweetening people's tables with jams, jellies, preserves, and other products since the late 1800's (via Smucker's). Offering a huge range of flavors, everyone of course has their favorite — but according to Smucker's product page, the most popular flavors sold by the company are strawberry, grape, red raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry.

From that list, it's clear the American brand is beloved for their berry-flavored spreads (after all, four of the five are berries), but did you know the very first products sold by the company were actually made of apples? And they weren't apples from just any old apple tree. The company's about us page shares these original apples were supposedly cultivated by the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

How Smucker's started out with these famous apples

If you're unfamiliar with Johnny Appleseed (his real name being John Chapman), he was a horticulturalist from the 19th century known for planting a trail of apple seeds across the U.S., according to History. Ergo his nickname: Johnny Appleseed. Chapman was devout man, belonging to the New Church and serving as a missionary, "spreading its religious ideals along with his apple seeds," shares the outlet. It was precisely because of this work planting apple seeds in Ohio that Chapman's fruit landed in the hands of local cider mill owner Jerome Monroe Smucker, the about us section of the J.M. Smucker website explains. In 1897 Smucker got his start selling apple cider and apple butter that was made using apples from Chapman's trees. He was know to go door to door, selling the goods from a horse-drawn wagon.

Fast forward to today, and the J.M. Smucker company has become a leading food manufacturer for brands offering products as varied as fruit spreads, dog treats, peanut butter, coffee, and more (via J.M. Smucker). Though he is now considered a folk hero, without Johnny Appleseed, the jelly and jam you know and love may have never came to be.