Original image
Yummy Fruit Company

Former Bachelor Contestant Sets World Record for Loudest Apple Crunch

Original image
Yummy Fruit Company

What do you get when you combine noisy New Zealand apples with a reality TV star? A world record, naturally.

“Our main reason for going for the Guinness World Records title was to show the world just how amazing our SweeTango apples are!” Yummy Fruit’s brand manager Emma Wulff explained in an exultant email to mental_floss. “SweeTango apples have cells that are twice the size of other apples', which fracture apart when bitten … creating a HUGE CRUNCH!!”

This might sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. Created by apple breeders at the University of Minnesota, the SweeTango was engineered with acoustics in mind.

“… SweeTango has much larger cells than other apples,” agriculture writer John Seabrook noted in a 2011 New Yorker column, “and when you bite into it the cells shatter, rather than cleaving along the cell walls, as is the case with most popular apples. The bursting of the cells fills your mouth with juice. Chunks of SweeTango snap off in your mouth with a loud cracking sound.”

So if there was going to be a record, the SweeTango was a likely contender. To improve their chances, Yummy Fruit (the company behind the apple variety) recruited fellow New Zealander and former The Bachelor NZ contestant Art Green to execute the record-attempting bite. Green was a good pick; his girlfriend Miranda Rice told The Spinoff that she had previously been “taken aback” by the volume of his chewing. He also has a nice, big mouth. “A big mouth makes for a great crunch,” Yummy Fruit’s Paul Paynter told The Spinoff. “You don’t want any little rat bites.”

Green spent weeks practicing at home. “Fresh apples were delivered to my doorstep almost on a daily basis and I’ve been trying all sorts of techniques. It all comes down to the fruit and the size of a bite. It was a challenge to find out if smaller apples crunch louder than larger and what difference their temperature makes. Honestly, this is apple science at its best.”

The entire wacky situation is unprecedented. Before the Yummy Fruit attempt, there was no Loudest Crunch of an Apple record, so to create a hurdle for Green’s bite to clear, Guinness World Record scientists tested apples. They arrived at a benchmark of 75 C-weighted decibels (dBC).

As you could probably have guessed from the headline, Green and his SweeTango apple succeeded. The record-setting bite rang out at 79.1 dBC, much to the delight of the Yummy Fruit cheering section (you can watch it here).

Official apple chomper Art Green and Yummy Fruit Company chief Paul Paynter. Image Credit: Yummy Fruit Company

“There have been earlier, non-official, scientific attempts to measure the crunch of an apple,” Paynter said in the press release. “However, these were not attempted by a human being and certainly not in an official soundproof environment. Tonight’s success confirms what I’ve always known; in a world of soft mushy apples or hard impenetrable apples, SweeTango really stands out.”

Yummy Fruit is now taking its show on the road, bringing their world record certificate, crates of apples, and a soundproof booth across New Zealand. They’ve also donated 5000 SweeTango apples to families in need.

Original image
Wikimedia commo
9 Facts That Tell the True Story of Johnny Appleseed
Original image
Wikimedia commo

A hero of American folklore, Johnny Appleseed was said to be a barefoot wanderer with a tin pot hat, and a sack of apples, so he might leave the start of trees everywhere he went. But unlike his tall tale colleagues Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Appleseed's story was based on a real man. His name was John Chapman, and his real life was far richer and more interesting than his legend. Here are nine things you might not have known about the man behind the myth, in honor of Johnny Appleseed Day.


Born in Leominster, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1774, John Chapman grew up in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, in which his father served as a minuteman at the Battle of Bunker (Breeds) Hill and helped construct the defenses of New York against British invasion with George Washington. While his father would survive the war, Chapman's mother did not, dying in childbirth in July 1776. In 1780, Chapman's father returned home, and began to teach his son the farming trade.


Chapman developed as an orchardist and nurseryman, and by the early 1800s was working on his own. While his legend imagines him as a messy nomad, in reality, Chapman was much more pragmatic. Frontier law allowed people to lay claim to land through development of a permanent homestead. Such a claim could be made by planting 50 apple trees. So in his travels through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, Chapman would plant swaths of seeds to begin an orchard, then sell them to settlers once the land had grown bountiful. This made him quite the land baron as he traversed 100,000 square miles of Midwestern wilderness and prairie. When he died on March 11, 1845 at the age of 70, he owned more than 1200 acres of land. 


The apples that Chapman favored for planting were small and tart "spitters"—named for what you'd likely do if you took a bite of one. But this made them ideal for making hard cider and applejack. This was a far more valuable crop than edible apples. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan wrote:

Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider. In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water.

Where water could house dangerous bacteria, cider was safe. (And delicious.) 


Chapman was often noted for his threadbare clothes and preference for bare feet. But these eccentricities may have been offerings to his faith, the Church of Swedenborg (also known as The New Church), a Christian denomination established in 1787. The second part of his signature look—that sack of apple seeds—was most definitely accurate. Because the Church forbade its members harming God's creation, Chapman became a vocal animal rights activist and vegetarian. He also refused to use grafting to create his orchards, believing that this growing technique physically hurt the source plants. So, he carried a large sack of seeds everywhere he traveled. However, his oft-depicted tin pot hat has not been authenticated. 


Another strongly held belief of Chapman's was that marriage was not for him. As the Church of Swedenborg promoted abstinence for those unmarried, Chapman remained chaste his entire life, leaving no children to inherit his lands or curtail the tall tales that sprouted like his trees did.  


Though some say Chapman had picked up his nickname by 1806, it wasn't until after his death in 1845 that the legend of Johnny Appleseed really took off. Considering his distinctive look, uncommon views, and contribution to the settling of the frontier, it's little wonder his legend proved so powerful. Of course, over the years he was made to seem less entrepreneurial and the use of his apples was played down as they made their way into children's books and this Disney cartoon: 


By the time the U.S. government outlawed alcohol in 1920, Chapman had become an American folk hero. But this didn't stop the axes of FBI agents who mercilessly tore down orchards to prevent the making of homemade hooch. Aside from slaughtering Chapman's trees, this also nearly killed America's connection to hard cider. The beverage rooted deep in our history has only recently seen a resurgence in popularity. 


Nova, Ohio, is home to a 176-year-old tree, the last known to be planted by Johnny Appleseed himself. It grows tart green apples, which are now used for applesauce and baking in addition to cider making. While Chapman might be glad to see his seeds still bearing fruit, he'd likely be sad to hear this tree is a noted bud source for grafting new apple trees. 


Pollan credits Chapman's preference for seeds over grafting for creating not only varieties like the delicious and golden delicious, but also the "hardy American apple." Since apples that are grafted are the same as the parent tree, they don’t change. But by forgoing grafting, Johnny created the conditions for apple trees to adapt and thrive in their new world home.

"It was the seeds, and the cider, that give the apple the opportunity to discover by trial and error the precise combination of traits required to prosper in the New World," Pollan wrote. "From Chapman's vast planting of nameless cider apple seeds came some of the great American cultivars of the 19th century."

Original image
The World's Spiciest Chip Is Sold Only One to a Customer
Original image

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to get pepper-sprayed directly in your mouth, Paqui Chips has something you can’t afford to miss. Following the success of their Carolina Reaper Madness chip last fall, the company is re-releasing the sadistic snack on October 11. Continuing their part-marketing gimmick, part-public safety effort, the Reaper chip won’t be sold in bags. You just get one chip.

That’s because Paqui uses the Carolina Reaper Pepper, considered the world’s hottest, and most (attempted) consumers of the chip report being unable to finish even one. To drive home the point of how hot this chip is—it’s really, extremely, punishingly hot—the chip is sold in a tiny coffin-shaped box. According to a Mashable story last year on its grim origins, the chip's engineers even added ghost peppers and chipotle seasoning.

Peppers like the Carolina Reaper are loaded with capsaicin, a compound that triggers messages of heat and pain and fiery consumption; your body can respond by vomiting or having shortness of breath. While eating the chip is not the same as consuming the bare, whole pepper, it’s still going to be a very uncomfortable experience. For a profanity-filled example, you can check out this video:

The chip will be sold only on Paqui’s website. Last year, it was $4.99. The company also encourages pepper aficionados to upload photos or video of their attempts to finish the chip. If it becomes too much, try eating yogurt, honey, or milk to dampen the effects.

[h/t Mashable]


More from mental floss studios