Apple: A Global History

Apple: A Global History explores the cultural and culinary importance of a fruit born in the mountains of Kazakhstan that has since traversed the globe to become a favorite almost everywhere. From the Garden of Eden and Homer’s Odyssey to Johnny Appleseed, William Tell, and even Apple Computer, Erika Janik shows how apples have become a universal source of sustenance, health, and symbolism from ancient times to the present day.

Featuring many mouthwatering illustrations, this exploration of the planet’s most popular fruit includes a guide to selecting the best apples, in addition to apple recipes from around the world, including what is believed to be the first recorded apple recipe from Roman gourmand Marcus Apicius. And Janik doesn’t let us forget that apples are not just good eating; their juice also makes for good drinking—as the history of cider in North America and Europe attests.

8 thoughts on “Apple: A Global History

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  4. Erika,

    I heard your interview with Larry Mueller this morning (I was listening to the archived programs) regarding your book about apples. I would like to add my experience with tending apple trees with one of the callers to the program. One of the callers to the program said that they remembered picking apples from pastures and not finding the apples to be insect damaged as many do today. My experience is that it is difficult to maintain insect damage free apples in a suburban area because there are so many host sites available for the bugs to proliferate (primarily coddling moth and apple maggot fly). I have several neighbors who do not do anything with their apple trees and their apples are always bug-infested. I grew up in northern WI near Ashland and I remember being able to pick apples off of our trees to eat and never finding any insect damage. My father has told me that he never sprayed our trees, however, he said he always allowed to chickens to roam under the trees and he always picked off any apples that appeared to have insect damage and fed them to either the chickens, pigs, or cows. I have since found that the recommended method of insect control prior to WWII was to allow chickens and pigs to pasture in the apple orchard (the chickens eat any bugs off the orchard floor and the pigs will eat all fallen apples including the June drops). The caller to the program wondered if the cows in the pasture may have
    done the same (possible) but I think it is more likely that there were deer in the area that helped with the clean up of any fallen apples (including the apples that tend to soften up early and fall off the tree early due to insect damage). I have visited some areas of the state recently that have heavy deer pressure and I have found apples trees where the owner of the property does not perform any care of the tree (no spraying) and also does not have any insect problems. I think the interruption of the insect cycle by the deer or other hungry creatures is an aspect of apple management that isn’t given enough credence. The suburban area that I live in has a few deer move through every now and then but not enough to clean up apples in time to interrupt the insect cycle. I have been trying to maintain my apples without any sprays and I have been having some success using apples socks (nylon socks sold for this purpose) as well as other methods.
    Are you familiar with any of these methods? I am looking forward to getting a copy of your book.

    Emil Pocernich
    Sun Prairie, WI

    • Hi Emil,
      I have heard of the methods you mention but I’m still not sure the right answer – I’m a apple historian, not a grower! It seems like growers each have their own methods and tricks for dealing with whatever their local problem may be. And that these problems continue to evolve and change so there’s a constant need for new ideas.

  5. Pingback: An Object History of Apples | Erika Janik

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