Apples throughout History

Apr 4, 2014 by

Written by Phin Upham

The Roman legions first introduced apples to the Europeans, but they were not the first civilization to enjoy the fruit. In fact, wild apples were highly sought after throughout the ancient world. Historians have found evidence of apples consumed at Catal Huyuk, and in prehistoric dwellings in Switzerland.

Depending on their size, apples were either dried or consumed whole. Larger apples would be cut in half, and the smaller ones would be plucked from the tree and eaten whole. Historians also know that apples were prominent throughout Mesopotamia and Egypt, where Ramses II had an apple orchard planted in his garden at the Nile delta.

The Greeks also ate apples, although it’s difficult to pinpoint who gave them apples or when they started growing them on their own. What we do know is that well before Homer began writing his epic poetry, apples were a staple food in the Mediterranean. By the time of Pliny, there were thirty-six species of apple known to the world.

For the Romans, the apple was a luxury of sorts. The Bible is not very specific about whether the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an apple; it is believed that this idea came about from the Romans. The Romans managed to grow them larger and sweeter too, eventually bringing them to Europe where the English would cut and dry them in a well-ventilated loft.

The first apple tree in the New World came with the stock on the Mayflower, which led to apple orchards grown in Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth. In fact, early settlers planted them even before they began to organize settlements in the New World.

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

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