Apples: Part I

Day 141 of 365

I was in graduate school before I learned that the Bible doesn’t actually say that Eve ate an apple. It just says she ate a fruit, and I had always thought it was an apple. In art, it’s always the apple. It turns out John Milton, author of the epic poem, Paradise Lost, published in 1667 about the fall of man, said it was an apple. I guess that stuck. Maybe it’s because we really like the aesthetic of apples.

photo credit: Vera De, Unsplash

I have often wondered about this, when a food has an aesthetic we love so much that it becomes a central part of art or decoration in our culture. I wonder about eggs in this same way. Why are eggs so beautiful to me? And I am not alone. Every chicken lady I know spends way too much time taking pictures of eggs and then sharing said pictures on social media. Are the eggs beautiful to us because of something deep inside of us on a primitive level? Eggs are so full of nutrition. Maybe that’s why I love them so, or are they just beautiful?

With apples, I have to believe that their beauty plays a big role in our love for them, but they are nutritious–perhaps not as life giving as the egg–but still. Of course, there’s also hard apple cider, so I supposed apples bring us joy and give humans something in that way too.

This week, our family will go pick apples at a small local orchard. I love picking apples. We have wild apples that grow on our property, which we do not eat, and we planted two apple trees a few years ago. But, so far, the planted apple trees have yet to produce. It could be we have done something wrong for them. Ron and I have much to learn about fruit trees. It’s an area of weakness in our homesteading knowledge, but the pear trees produce most years and were planted just one year before the apple trees.

It’s okay though because we can visit the orchard, and the whole experience is wonderful to me. We will pick a bunch oaf apples. I will make apple pies, apple crisps, and we invented a family treat where I make homemade tortillas and then fill them with cooked apples and cheddar cheese. They are wonderful to me! We will also freeze many bags of apples for future apple pies, apple crisps, and our apple tortilla invention. I wonder if other people would like these. Maybe I will share the recipe. During the pandemic, we had a terrible storm that knocked down or broke many of the big trees on our property. Ron hired a “tree guy” to come in with his team and take down the dangerous trees. It was a group of young men, and they were so sweet and kind. So we made all of them snacks, which included our apple tortilla invention. They seemed to love them. I don’t think they were just being polite. But I digress.

Apples were the first food I fell in love with for its history. If you have not read Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, I highly recommend his chapter on apples. It was a life changer for me. Of course, there is also Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Wild Apples” published in The Atlantic in 1862. Oh, how I wish The Atlantic still published essays on apples. Well, maybe Thoreau said all there was to say.

I have to admit that Thoreau would be ashamed of me that I don’t eat the wild apples on our property, but after rereading his essay this week, I think we should at least get a press and make cider. But then what would the deer eat? Maybe the deer are willing to share?

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