Later History of Apples in Europe

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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After the fall of the Roman Empire the cultivation of apples lapsed into disarray. Although the Arabs preserved many classical techniques, including that of grafting trees of all kinds, they were not in a position to reorganize European apple-growing, since they invaded Europe from the south, through hot regions unsuitable for apples.

However, apples continued to be grown, and certain distinct types were recognized. In England the two leading kinds were the Costard, a large variety, and the Pearmain. These were both known in the 13th century. There are recipes for apple dishes in 14th-century works such as the menagier de paris and the forme of cury(e), which also includes one for a caudle made with apple blossom.