When I asked Jacob, 8, what he learned in Hebrew School this week, he told me that Eve actually ate a pomegranate in the Garden of “Egypt.” Hmm. He may well be right about the pomegranate, an ancient fruit with storied healing properties. Other scholars say it could have been a grape or possibly a fig, since Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves.
Personally, Bible debates make me wicked tired. I’m happy to believe it was anything but an apple, since apples are much too wonderful to be implicated in original sin.
The sweetest compensation for the end of summer and the turn toward winter is the apple. It’s sad to say goodbye to cherries and peaches and plums, but apples take center stage in October, and they hang on well into winter. Under the right conditions, apples can be stored for five to six months. Try that with a pluot.
Plums, peaches and cherries don’t have the same cultural, mythological and historical pop as apples. The Evil Stepmother didn’t offer Snow White a peach. And it is apples that have medicinal properties scientists say help prevent colon, lung and stomach cancer. It is the only fruit prescribed for daily use to keep the doctor away.
Apples have history. It is said that Alexander the Great enjoyed dwarf apples in Macedonia in 300 B.C. Today there are some 7,500 different cultivars, with qualities ranging from tooth-aching sweetness to mouth-puckering tartness. China produces about 35 percent of the world’s apples, and the U.S. comes in second in global production.
Unlike the orange, which belongs to Florida, and the peach, which belongs to Georgia, the apple belongs to the Northeast. Up and down the Hudson Valley this time of year, apples go from tree to table in a matter of days. They’re a local product, and it shows.