How did teachers and apples become synonymous with each other? The truth and the right answer is, it is something of a mystery. The reason for the practice has been lost somewhat to history.
For many years beginning in the early 1700s, it was a tradition in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark and Sweden to give produce to teachers as a gift.
This tradition was carried over to America. As public schools became more common, giving apples or other produce was often used as a form of payment to help the teacher. In this way as the harvest began in the fall, poor families could pay for their children’s education with their surplus produce.