Bananas, apples, grapes, and other fruits are often widely available and prominently displayed at farmers’ markets and grocery stores throughout the country. Yet, many people are unaware of the rich history behind fruits that they eat on a weekly basis. In years past, some fruits were cultivated by royalty, and others were only available to the public during the holiday season. Indeed, the history of the three fruits presented below may make you appreciate your favorite fruits even more.
Although peaches are strongly associated with the state of Georgia, their roots can actually be traced back to China. Peaches were one of the fruits traded along the Silk Road, and they were widely cultivated in Persia. In Europe, Alexander the Great helped to boost the popularity of the peach, and they were even painted on walls in Herculaneum that survived the destruction of Vesuvius. Spanish explorers introduced the peach to Florida in the 16th century, and Franciscan monks cultivated peach trees on the islands of Cumberland and St. Simons, just off the coast of Georgia. In the 1920s, peaches became a cash crop in Georgia after a boll weevil infestation destroyed millions of acres of cotton.
Bergamot is a pear-shaped citrus fruit. Today, more than 80 percent of the global production of bergamot takes place in Calabria, Italy. In the 1920s, Calabrian bergamot oil became a central ingredient in the manufacturing of highly-sought boutique perfumes. In addition to the oil, Bergamot oranges from Calabria are especially renowned. These oranges are actually yellow or green in color, and they are commonly used in Italian marmalade. The essence of the bergamot fruit is traditionally used to flavor Earl Grey tea.
The pineapple is a symbol of welcome, and it was traditionally used as a gift of friendship. This fruit is believed to have originated in southern Brazil and Paraguay from where it spread throughout the warmer regions of the Americas. Europeans gave it its name because they thought it resembled a pine cone, and researchers believe that Columbus first encountered the pineapple in 1493. He brought the fruit back to Europe where it became popular with the elite and members of the nobility.
The next time you enjoy a peach smoothie, a cup of Earl Grey tea, or a piña colada, you can impress your family and friends with historical trivia about these exotic fruits. Want to read more content like this? Then be sure to check out the Food and Drinks category from Extra Extra Post!