October 22, 2011

As American as Apple Pie-or then again maybe not!

Any time of the year is apple pie time, but October is actually National Apple Month in the US and everyone knows that Apple Pie originated in America right?  Wrong.  
Clamber Hill Apple Pie
Both apples and apple pie were introduced to America in the 17th century.   History books trace apple pie baking back to at least 14th century England.  There is a recipe for apple pie published on Wikipedia dating back to 1381!  Then the French also made apple pie famous with the Tarte Tatin, created by accident at l'Hotel Tatin in 1898.  And Apple Pie is not limited to the English or the French, there is a Dutch version, a German version, a Swedish version...need I say more?  Apple pie is definitely not an American creation!

Apples themselves are ancient, possibly originating in Asia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea as far back as 6500 BC.  The Greeks and Romans brought apples into Europe and Apple Pies were a favorite English food.  In fact they were banned by the puritanical Oliver Cromwell because they gave people too much pleasure!

An apple tree at Red Apple Farm

The first apple orchard in America was right here in Massachusetts, established by William Blackstone on Beacon Hill.  And Massachusetts also lays claim to Johnny Appleseed, born in Leominster MA in 1774 as John Chapman.  He migrated west during his life time and died in Ft. Wayne Indiana, after having established many apple orchards along the way.  Although originally only crab apples were native to North America, the colonists propagation by seeds instead of grafting led to the development of native American varieties.

Although apples have a long history in America, and have been important to American history and agriculture, it wasn't actually until the 19th Century that the saying as American as Apple Pie came to prominence.

Fall in New England is a great time for harvesting apples and baking pies!.   Clamber Hill Inn & Restaurant is a tourist destination in Petersham MA.  When staying at the Inn one can pick apples at the Red Apple Farm in Phillipston MA, or shop for apples with apple expert Bob Pease at Pease Orchards in Templeton MA.  Both places sell wonderful apple cider as well as apples.   Not quite as close but also worth a visit are New Salem Preserves and Hamilton Orchards just on the other side of the Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem.  

Clamber Hill Nipmuck Salad

And after apple shopping, dine at Clamber Hill and enjoy apples in just about any course...our famous Nipmuck Salad is topped with apple slices,  our Pork Medallions comes topped with an Apple-Onion Marmelade....very German and of course at this time of year we offer either Apple Oat Crumble or Apple Pie for dessert.  You can even top the evening off with "apfel eis", an Apple Ice Wine from Still River Winery in Harvard MA...a very yummy way to top off a great meal!

Enjoy an after dinner drink by the fire!