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  #51  
Old 02-01-2017, 01:39 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But apples all get ripe at the same time. There's only so many apples you can eat in the 1 or 2 month span, max, in which they're available and not rotten yet. Unless you make cider out of the remainder, then you'd be missing out on the non-caloric nutrients, but you'd be extending the shelf life of the remaining calories substantially.
Fruit can also be dried.
  #52  
Old 02-01-2017, 02:06 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
I have trouble seeing a hungry peasant taking an apple, squeezing out the juice, and discarding all of the fiber, calories, and other nutrition you'd receive from eating the apple.
I suspect the average peasant would have fed pomace to his pig, to help fatten it for the pre-winter slaughter. Bacon is the best way to preserve calories

Although you can also use it to make "ciderkin", a weak cider made by adding water to the pomace and fermenting it. It was said to be good for kids.

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-01-2017 at 02:08 AM.
  #53  
Old 02-01-2017, 01:11 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by Marcus Flavius View Post
Yes, juicing is an extremely wasteful way to consume fruit.
Hard cider dude. Hard cider.




http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-c...ier-180953263/

But this contemporary notion is flawed, tainted by our modern perception of the apple as a sweet, edible fruit. The apples that Chapman brought to the frontier were completely distinct from the apples available at any modern grocery store or farmers' market, and they weren't primarily used for eating—they were used to make America's beverage-of-choice at the time, hard apple cider."Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider," writes Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire. "In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water."


http://www.archiveofciderpomology.co...s_of_cider.htm


These references show cider was made and sold in England in the medieval period, and transported for unlike beer it could be kept.. The price was between 2.5d – 4d a gallon, cheap in comparison to wages, which were about 1d to 4d a day at this time. There are many more references to beer than cider however (74 compared to only 2 for cider in TNA), partly because beer was regulated by the state and the manor, but this in itself shows how much more important it was than cider. Why was cider less important than beer? Was it a matter of taste, of economics, regulation or technology. Price (as today) may have had something to do with it, beer is cheaper to make and this was reflected in the medieval price, about 0.75d to 1.5d a gallon depending on quality and area, while cider was slightly more..

Here is an explanation from Jim Franklin, orcharder in the Teme Valley:

Before 1900, cider was so important, so important through the Teme valley, in Devon, in Somerset, is was a complete way of life. It was paid as wages, it was drunk because the water was so foul and it was used for medicinal purposes. It was taken on ships to stop scurvy, I mean it was a complete product in its own right. Previously to, I suppose, to the 1200s there’s reasonable records that they called it wine, it wasn’t called cider and that’s probably where the origin came, cider went one way and wine went another way but I cannot see really what’s the difference, between an apple being made into wine or an apple being made into cider, it’s just that it picked up this name and I don’t know exactly what the origins of this name is but I think it’s supposed to mean “strong drink” but maybe it was because it was so plentiful that it was quite a dangerous product. And it was, unless it was used properly, a lot of people were drunk for most of their life, which is probably the best way to go through life anyway.”....“Very few of our cottagers, yea, very few of our wealthiest yeomen, drink anything else (but cider) in the family save on very special festivals”

http://drinkfocus.com/beer/history-of-apple-cider/

When the Romans arrived in England in 55 BC, they were reported to have found the local Kentish villagers drinking a delicious cider-like beverage made from apples. According to ancient records, the Romans and their leader, Julius Caesar, embraced the pleasant pursuit with enthusiasm. How long the locals had been making this apple drink prior to the arrival of the Romans is anybody”s guess.

By the beginning of the ninth century, cider drinking was well established in Europe and a reference made by Charlemagne clearly confirms its popularity.

After the Norman Conquest of 1066, cider consumption became widespread in England and orchards were established specifically to produce cider apples. During medieval times, cider making was an important industry. Monasteries sold vast quantities of their strong, spiced cider to the public. Farm laborers received a cider allowance as part of their wages, and the quantity increased during haymaking. English cider making probably peaked around the mid seventeenth century, when almost every farm had its own cider orchard and press.


Early apples were mostly bitter and almost inedible. A few trees were grafted to produce dessert apples, but most were made into cider.
  #54  
Old 02-01-2017, 02:13 PM
rat avatar rat avatar is offline
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Yep, Hard Cider, beer and wine is common after the agrarian age. And actually it is highly probable that beer is the reason we settled down anyway.

Think of even the US, Johnny Appleseed was planting trees for the land owners who would make cider, and he would return for a cut of the profits.

Even from an area like England where seeds and plants were introduced from other places. Even if there were no wild trees to induce genetic materials from the original trees only 1:5 planted seeds would be a good eating apple and only 1:20000 trees would be an extant eating apple.

If you consider most of the commercial apples today are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, McIntosh or Cox’s Orange Pippin, and that all of those varieties are grown on trees with grafts from the same parent it become clear that apples were primarily a cider stock.

In the US this changed with the temperance movement and there was a huge push by farmers to develop eating apples during that period but previous to that it was almost exclusively for brewing cider. If you got an exceptional tree that was a bonus but it was not the norm for un-grafted trees.

Later as beer brewing increased "small beers" or the beer that resulting from brewing from the later runs off of grains became common. They were low in proof but were safe to drink.

It was only after Pasteurization was understood that the temperance movement was even practical.

If you read earlier brewing books like "Every Man His Own Brewer" - 1768 or "Town and Country Brewerey Book" - 1830 which are not as early but accessible they cover these topics. As the "Dark Ages" are dark due to a lack of information I cannot find earlier data.

But in at least England it seems that skeleton were close to the same height as modern humans which indicates they were most likely getting adequate nutrition.

I would not go so far as to say it was healthier, but modern diets tend to have issues more around overconsumption compared to energy use rather than the items actually consumed.

Last edited by rat avatar; 02-01-2017 at 02:13 PM.
  #55  
Old 02-01-2017, 04:06 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But apples all get ripe at the same time. There's only so many apples you can eat in the 1 or 2 month span, max, in which they're available and not rotten yet. Unless you make cider out of the remainder, then you'd be missing out on the non-caloric nutrients, but you'd be extending the shelf life of the remaining calories substantially.
Apples can be kept over the winter. But not everything was about maximizing the calorie intake, anyway. Otherwise, snails, locust or acorn bread would have been common dishes in medieval England. Liking cider is a perfectly good reason to produce cider, even if it means some waste.

And as for the apple remains after pressing them, I'd bet they would have been fed to the pigs. Even when I was a kid, which wasn't during the middle ages, anything marginally edible was fed to pigs by by farmer relatives. So, your apples would probably end as cider and sausages, which very conveniently, go well together.
  #56  
Old 02-01-2017, 11:36 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
.Pliny reported 2 dozen kinds. But I'm sure none of those made it to the Middle Ages. in Italy.
You're confusing the fact they these existed with the idea that the average peasant would have had them. A peasant would have likely had access to exactly one kind of apple. A burgher with access to multiple agricultural zones would have been in a much better position regarding varieties, but even then most cities would not have had that kind of variety.
  #57  
Old 02-02-2017, 12:26 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
You're confusing the fact they these existed with the idea that the average peasant would have had them. A peasant would have likely had access to exactly one kind of apple.
Uh-huh - tell me more about how the people growing the many different kinds of apples would have had access to just one kind...
  #58  
Old 02-02-2017, 06:48 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But apples all get ripe at the same time.
No they don't, if you choose your mix right. One advantage of having multiple varieties is having them be ripe at different times. Many a modern person has gotten an allotment, planted multiple rows of a handful of things, and within a few months understood why those people with multi-generation vegetable gardens prefer to have fewer rows of more different things.
  #59  
Old 02-02-2017, 08:50 AM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Uh-huh - tell me more about how the people growing the many different kinds of apples would have had access to just one kind...
Most peasants did not have orchards, nor anything of the kind. All the land they could plow was dedicated to grain and some vegetables, to ward off starvation.
  #60  
Old 02-02-2017, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Most peasants did not have orchards, nor anything of the kind. All the land they could plow was dedicated to grain and some vegetables, to ward off starvation.
Even in the dry, non-irrigated areas it was common to have trees mixed in with the year's grain or herbals. Granted, in a dry area they'd be more likely to produce some sort of nut than a fruit, but in those same areas there were fruits grown along riversides. Both that kind of technique and crop rotation have been used to "keep the land from burning up" for a very long time.

Some of the things that George Washington Carver advocated for were traditional in the Old World but had mainly been abandoned in the New. The sight of large fields growing the exact same crop year after year after year would have been very unusual in 1000-1300 Europe.

Last edited by Nava; 02-02-2017 at 09:11 AM.
  #61  
Old 02-02-2017, 12:56 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Apples can be kept over the winter. But not everything was about maximizing the calorie intake, anyway. Otherwise, snails, locust or acorn bread would have been common dishes in medieval England. Liking cider is a perfectly good reason to produce cider, even if it means some waste.

And as for the apple remains after pressing them, I'd bet they would have been fed to the pigs. Even when I was a kid, which wasn't during the middle ages, anything marginally edible was fed to pigs by by farmer relatives. So, your apples would probably end as cider and sausages, which very conveniently, go well together.
Cider and pork is a heavenly combo.

Snails, locust are actually not often a good use of energy. Acorns require a lot of prep, but not if you feed them to pigs.
  #62  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:28 PM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Most peasants did not have orchards, nor anything of the kind.
They definitely had something "of the kind" - kitchen gardens and fruit tree plantings . Or is your expertise in peasant gardening better than the people who actually research this kind of thing?
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All the land they could plow was dedicated to grain and some vegetables, to ward off starvation.
"The garden of the Arden peasant's holding was an important, if poorly documented, resource. Apple, cherry, plum and pear trees seem to have been common on many holdings, as in 1463 at Erdington, where nearly all peasant holdings contained orchards. The range of crops cultivated on the peasant's curtilage is poorly recorded, but the garden of Richard Sharpmore of Erdington was probably typical. In 1380 trespassing pigs ruined his vegetables, grass, beans and peas."
-- Andrew Watkins, "Peasants in Arden", in Richard Britnell, ed. Daily Life in the Late Middle Ages, (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998), p 94.
  #63  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:34 PM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
All the land they could plow was dedicated to grain and some vegetables, to ward off starvation.
And if you think all they grew was pure subsistence calories, you really are displaying ignorance of the Medieval attitude towards garden produce, which was often as much medicine as it was mere food. Never mind all the non-edible things they had to grow, like flax, osiers & withies, wood for fire and making things, dyestuffs...

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-02-2017 at 02:36 PM.
  #64  
Old 02-02-2017, 09:31 PM
TubaDiva TubaDiva is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Apples can be kept over the winter. But not everything was about maximizing the calorie intake, anyway. Otherwise, snails, locust or acorn bread would have been common dishes in medieval England. Liking cider is a perfectly good reason to produce cider, even if it means some waste.

And as for the apple remains after pressing them, I'd bet they would have been fed to the pigs. Even when I was a kid, which wasn't during the middle ages, anything marginally edible was fed to pigs by by farmer relatives. So, your apples would probably end as cider and sausages, which very conveniently, go well together.
I bet it didn't all go to the pigs; boiling down the leftovers from cider making is how you get apple butter.
  #65  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:18 AM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
And if you think all they grew was pure subsistence calories, you really are displaying ignorance of the Medieval attitude towards garden produce, which was often as much medicine as it was mere food. Never mind all the non-edible things they had to grow, like flax, osiers & withies, wood for fire and making things, dyestuffs...
No, I'm well aware of all of that. What MrDibble is arguing for, and what I am arguing against, is the idea that peasants had a wide choice of apple varietals. They most definitely did not; a peasant diet was unfortunately pretty monotonous, not just in Europe, but in most of history for the world. They ate darn near anything edible, because they didn't have the luxury. They most definitely did not get to casually pick from multiple varieties of a single fruit as pleased them. (I also do not agree with his strange idea that the modern "common man" is a culinary simpleton.)

Additionally, much of what you describe happened on the edges of whatever land they controlled, and gathering fuel was often something which had to be managed on the local lord's land. It could not necessarily be done without permission,and peasants would commonly use dried inedible plants in lieu of actual firewood.

This, of course, is a picture that would be heavily modified depending on the time, place, and social class of the peasant involved. A Freeholder in the late Medeival period would have been in a far different position than a cottager three centuries earlier.
  #66  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:47 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
They most definitely did not get to casually pick from multiple varieties of a single fruit as pleased them.
Well, on that we agree, since that's a complete strawman version of what I've said.
Quote:
Additionally, much of what you describe happened on the edges of whatever land they controlled, and gathering fuel was often something which had to be managed on the local lord's land.
Actually, a lot of that sort of thing happened on the commons, in hedgerows or the royal forest. But also in the kitchen garden. Like. I. Cited.
Quote:
It could not necessarily be done without permission,and peasants would commonly use dried inedible plants in lieu of actual firewood.
Cite? Since estovers was a fairly widely established right, I'd love a cite that it was "common" to not have actual firewood (or turf or peat, where turbary took precedence over estovers).
  #67  
Old 02-03-2017, 04:23 PM
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Diabetics were a HELL of a lot less common - if you had Type 1 you'd be lucky to survive two years, if that long. Prior to artificially produced insulin that could be injected into the body Type 1 diabetes was 100% lethal.
One radical treatment for type I diabetics was starvation therapy. They literally starved children, giving them very small amounts of food. It severely limited calories, but had the benefit of somewhat controlling glucose. But that was just starting right before they developed artificial insulin, which made it obsolete.
  #68  
Old 02-06-2017, 08:53 PM
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What about what they drank? The water couldn't be trusted, so people had to drink light beer, whose alcohol content would kill at least some of the bacteria. Not very alcoholic, but it's literally homebrewed beer. Moonshine. I wonder if people often went blind as a result of accidentally consuming methanol. (We don't hear about plagues of that, though.)
Moonshine is the product of distillation. Beer is not distilled. I don't think there would be a danger of methanol.
  #69  
Old 02-06-2017, 10:46 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Peas porridge hot
Peas porridge cold
Peas porridge in the pot,
Nine days old.


What a splendid diet.
  #70  
Old 02-07-2017, 01:20 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Pease porridge. And that rhyme is hardly medieval.

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-07-2017 at 01:21 AM.
  #71  
Old 02-10-2017, 01:52 PM
apLundell apLundell is offline
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
This is pretty absurd, and the implication outside of the enlightened "urban trendsters" nobodies eats vegetables is frankly ridiculous. You can walk into nearly any supermarket in America and find between four and six varieties of apple, depending on the season.
Maybe in upper-middle-class regions, but allow me to provide a counter-example.

I recently lived in a poor town in New England. Residents without cars (and there were a lot of them) basically had two choices for supermarkets unless they wanted to spend all day switching buses.

There was the grocery store by the strip-mall. Its "produce" section was mostly lettuces, onions, and potatoes. There was also a table at the end that, when it had anything on it, had bunches of bananas and plastic containers of rather dubious tomatoes.

Then there was the grocery store downtown next to the police station. No produce section. None. There was a rack of bananas near checkout. That's it. This is a full-sized supermarket I'm talking about.

(Both stores had canned and frozen vegetables available.)

There was also a tiny local grocery who seemed to specialize in Latin-American stuff. I don't recall them having apples. I suppose they might have, but the only thing they had more than one variety of was cigarettes.

If those are the "typical Americans" you're talking about, it doesn't seem at all unlikely that a peasant with a few fruit trees in his garden might consume a greater variety of fresh fruits.
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