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History and Uses of the Apple., Ashburton Guardian, 5 November 1880
History and Uses of the Apple.
I Paper read by Mr. G, 11. Smith, at the Horticultural Society's Meeting on Wednesday night. The apple tree malus, in botany—is a pecics of ptinus. It is a native of the tl astern parts of the world, as we learn oil n he authority of the earliest writers, both n sacred history, as well as the information p ;iven by the ancient Romans. The pro- f diet Joel mentions the fruits which were leld in estimation, and among them the lames the apple tree. The crab, or the « ipple in its wild state, is a native of most t countries of Europe, and must have been a ■mown to the aborigines of Great Britain ; 1 mt from whence the cultivated apple was t received into that country is unknown — n all probability from the Romans. It ,vus largely planted in England by the l Monks, who took great delight in the culti- i ration of fruit, and the remains of their 1 eld abbey gardens show that they chose * the best spots as to soil and aspect. As early as G 74, we have a record describing fruit bearing gardens at Ely. At the present day Elj' has some splendid orchards, and the cultivation of fruit there is much I encouraged, and brought to great perfection. About Cambridge I have seen very ancient-looking orchards, some of the apple trees appearing to be of great age and yet fruitful. Apple trees in Herefordshire, England, are said to have attained the great age of one thousand years and were still prolific, but two hundred years is considered to be the ordinary duration of this tree. Fruits have attracted the attention of man from the earliest period, and are supposed to have been the first vegetable production on which he fixed as an article of food. Of all fruit cultivated the apple and fig are the most ancient. The apple is as hardy as the British oak, and where one grows the other will. Its useful qualities have extended its cultivation far and wide. Of late years there has been a great quantity of new sorts of apples added to the list of varieties; but I think some of the oldest sorts are as good as any, such as the nonpareil, ribstone, and golden pippin. They have been cultivated for centuries. Pippin apples were first introduced into England in the reign of King Henry the Eighth. The golden pippin is considered the native growth of England. Catherine, Empress of Russia, was so fond of this apple that she was regularly supplied with it from England. Then
there is that delicious apple the ribston pippin. It is a native of Ribston Park, Yorkshire. The original tree was raised from a pip brought from France in the year 1668 I believe there is no doubt about this being the original tree. The suckers produce fruit of the same kind. Pippins are so called because they can he raised from the seed or pips, and will come into bearing in about five or six years without grafting. _ In 1629 we find in horticultural works 58 sorts of apples described. This was before the art of fertilising the blossom was made known. This ingenious method of producing new varieties was first deemed possible by Lord Bacon, but not clearly described until a century afterwards by one Knight. He benefited the country by raising several beautiful sorts, such as Downton pippin, Knight’s codling, and others. In Mr. KnighPs time the growth of this most esteemed fruit, with the native industry of the British people, had rendered the nrodnce of the apple an important article of general consumption, and the varieties so rapidly multiplied that now it would be almost impossible to present any account of them which would be interesting, for it is supposed that there are as many as 2,000 sorts in cultivation. Some years ago the catalogue of the Royal Horticultural Society presented a list of names to quite that number, and are adding every year to the list. The apple is used in a great many ways which are familar to everyone. But it mi"ht be interesting to describe them, ituu foimii ucgm ivnu Older. me' apple is largely cultivated in the west of England for this purpose, and some of the orchards occupy a space of from fifty to sixty acres. It must be a highly interesting sight to see the trees covering such an extensive space with a profusion of blossom in the spring, and its fruit as beautiful in the autumn. In a good apple year, one acre will produce on an average from 500 to GOO bushels. Some doctors inform us that cider is very nutritious, and those that chiefly drink it are healthy and strong, and have a good complexion. Cider was first invented by a Norman, Aprples for Pics and Tarts. — When they are used in this way, there is scarcely an article of vegetable food more widely useful and more universally esteemed, and for dessert nothing can be more wholesome than a raw, mellow apple. It digests in an hour and a half, and when they are baked they are the most healthful thing that can be placed on the table. If families could be induced
to substitute the apple, sound and ripe, for the sweetmeats with which their children are too oftjyr indulged, there would be fewer of the doctor’s visits and healthier children. Apple Jam is delicious, and the most wholesome of any that can be made. It is very simple to make it, as follows ; —Take the apples, do not peel them ; cut into quarters ; take out the core ; then fid an earthen jar with the apples, tie paper over it and put it into an oven not too hot. When quite soft and cool, with a wooden spoon pulp them through a fine seive. To each pound of fruit, which should be weighed after pulping, add. three-quarters of crushed sugar. Boil it gently until it forms a jelly, and put into jars. It will keep for years in a cool, dry place. Apples to be preserved for winter use should be gathered in dry weather, and spread out in a dry, cool place. The way in which I have succeeded in preserving fruit, after they are gathered, as before said : —I spread them out in a dry, shady outbuilding. They remain there for five weeks. Then place in a closet, spread out on laths (without straw), shut up in the dark with a little air. They must be looked over at different times to pick out any that should happen to be decaying, for, if not, the air will become contaminated, and they will injure each other by their exhalations. Hence, a pure air and cold is essential for the preservation of all organic substances, and particularly apples. The apple tree is not cultivated to such an extent in this country as it ought to be, for the demand is more than the supply, and there are thousands of bushels sent to this country. I believe this climate to be well suited for the production of the apple. But many of the fruit trees that are planted only present a melancholy example of cruelty to trees. I consider the very act of planting an orchard is a promise that the trees shall be fed and otherwise cared for, more especially for the first eight or ten years after planting. An orchard poorly kept is a bad investment. No fruit tree will reward the careful cultivator better than the apple. In the Old country fruit trees are most carefully attended to. Indeed, the trees are a pleasure to look at, independent of the fu\e fruit they carry. In the north of Scotland, although not favorer! with such a genial climate as the south, fine crops of apples are produced by skilful cultivation. The Hawthornden and ribstone pippin are great favorites in Scotland. Few gardens are without them. The former takes its name from Hawthornden, a romantic seat on the banks of the river Esk, once the residence Drummond, the poet. Again there is the Keswick Codlin, first discovered at Keswick, in Cumberland. This, and the Hawthornden comes very early into use, and are very productive, and will often bear the second year after grafting. Also we are indebted to the Americans for a number of very beautiful sorts of apples.
History and Uses of the Apple., Ashburton Guardian, 5 November 1880
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