Summer is a great time for produce of all sorts. While the exact growing season will vary according to climate, there are fruits and vegetables available at farmers markets, grocers, and possibly in your own backyard throughout the season. Chef Johnna has looked into the history of a variety of produce, showing you where each plant originated and how it was used over the centuries.
Eating some form of apples in a sauce dates back at least as early as the 4th Century C.E. when Apicus’ book on Roman Cookery was published. The tartness of apples back then hadn’t been bred out and the sharp flavors offset the taste of the fat in the food that was served at the time. Today we carry on the tradition, though apples are sweeter and somewhat mellower.
I love a good applesauce and will eat it just by itself. I used to buy jars and jars of applesauce at the store. Now you won’t catch me buying the stuff. If I want sauce made from apples, I buy apples.
Over the next three months apples are in full bloom and while I can get them year round in my market, the fall season is the time they really shine. But what is an apple and where did it come from?
Apples were once tart, bitter, and almost inedible. The tree can be traced back to Kazakhstan and the surrounding area. Apples belong to the Rose family (as well as peaches) and at one time there were over 10,000 varieties of apples. Today there are about 7,000 classified varieties. In the American market we see only a handful of these apples.