Happy Independence Day everyone!!! Roll out the picnic blanket and we'll have a party.
Speaking of picnics, let's skip straight to dessert.
It seems no dessert is more American than apple pie, and besides the poetic effect, it goes along with the 4th of July. So on this Tidbit Tuesday, I thought we'd explore the history behind America's favorite pie and give you a few clever tidbits to entertain your friends at whatever picnic you may consume the delicacy today. :)
The very first recorded recipe of a dish resembling apple pie dates back to 1381. However, this recipe wouldn't be what you're used to today. First of all, sugar was scarce and very expensive, so most pies didn't contain that ingredient. The other difference is that the pastry (or coffin as it was known then) was not meant to be eaten. It was just a container for the baked fruit. That being the case, it probably wasn't buttery and flakey like our apple pie crusts today.
Fast forward to about 1545 and we start gaining some semblance to this favorite. The recipe from a cookbook during this time period includes sugar and the spice of ginger in the recipe. Oh, and the crust had some butter at this point.
As American as Apple Pie?The recipe for apple pie developed and became quite popular in Britain. As a result, the love for apple pie came over along with the settlers to the New World. There was one problem though. Apparently, when the pioneers landed, they found only crab apples. Or at least wild apples that were small and sour. Thus, the Europeans had to import domesticated apples to be grown. John Smith recorded that apples, peaches, figs and apricots 'prospered exceedingly' in the Jamestown colony.
From there, the apple industry grew like the fruit on the trees. By the end of the nineteenth century, Americans were growing more than 14,000 varieties.
This history begs the question if apples aren't even native to America, and apple pies have been served around the world for centuries, how did it become an American icon?
At the same time, the commercialization and popularity of the fruit was growing in our nation. Soon, you had plantations popping up with apple orchards. One claimed to be growing as many as 10,000 apple trees. Not to mention Johnny Appleseed who traveled around planting the things.
In 1759, the records of a town parson indicate that a settlement in Deleware ate apple pies year round. Once the fresh apples ran out, they used dried.
By 1796, multiple recipes for apple pie were showing up in American cookbooks.
I suppose we just took the good thing others had going, latched onto it, and mass produced it. Apples became a huge industry in America. Still today America is second only to China in the production of the fruit. There are about 7500 commercial producers in 36 states and they harvest close to 50,000 tons each year.
That'd make a lot of apple pie.
But the Americanism of apple pie really solidified during WWII when the soldiers began quipped to journalists that they were going to war for "Mom and apple pie."
Whether the icon is truly the result of patriotism or a clever gimmick by the apple producers is still debated today.
Since it's 4th of July, I have a couple of great giveaways for you!
Indies for Independence