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FRUIT, TEMPERATE

The Maraschino cherry is almost an artificial fruit in which cherries are brined, bleached, and then artificially colored and flavored with bitter almond oil. They are of- ten used in a wonderful confection: chocolate-covered cherries. Cherries are now available over a long season in North American markets due to the efforts of Amer- ican and Canadian breeders.

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), an ancient fruit native to central Asia and China, was thought by the Greeks to have originated in Armenia, hence its scientific name. The beau- tiful, aromatic fruit with a velvety skin is consumed fresh, dried, and processed. Apricot liquor is well appreciated. The apricot blooms very early, is subject to spring frost, and is difficult to grow. This may explain why apricot has not become as important as peach, cherry, or plum. The beautifully flowered Chinese plum (P. mume) is more prop- erly included with the apricots than the plums.

Plums are a diverse group of fruits, as exemplified by the many names by which they are known: bullaces, cherry plums, damsons, date plums, egg plums, greengages, mirabelles, plums, prunes, and sloes. Various species orig- inated in Europe, Asia, and America. Two European species (Prunus domestica and P. insititia) are hexaploid, with six sets of chromosomes. The domestica plums include several groups of cultivars, such as greengage and prune types, while P. insititia includes bullaces, damsons, mirabelles, and St. Julien types. Among Asiatic species are P. salicina and P. simonii, the former of which includes both red- and green-fleshed Japanese plums. Many of these were intro- duced by Luther Burbank, with the red-fleshed Santa Rosa being the best known. P. simonii (apricot plum) is cultivated in China. There are a number of American plum species, but none are widely cultivated. At the start of the twenty- first century, the world plum industry is largely made up of P. domestica in Europe and P. salicina in Asia. Plums are consumed fresh or dried. Plums that dry without fermen- tation are called prune plums or simply prunes. They are dried down to very low moisture levels, in which state they can be stored for long periods of time. They are rehydrated when they are sold as packaged prunes, processed into jelly and jam (popular as a bakery filling), made into a diluted juice, or turned into brandy or cordials. The wrinkled dried fruit was widely consumed by senior citizens because of its laxative properties and thus became a source of comic de- rision. (It has been said that the turndown service at senior hostels includes a prune rather than a chocolate on the bed.) As a result, the industry has changed the name of prune to dried plum!

Vine Fruits

Grapes (species of Vitis, Vitaceae, or grape, family), one of the most important temperate fruit species, are usu- ally grown on trellises. Total world production of this fruit is surpassed only by all citrus and species of Musa (banana and plantain). Grapes derived from the Euro- pean species, V. vinifera, have been prized as the source of wine since antiquity. Although wine can be made from

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FOOD AND CULTURE

any sweet fruit, the grape is the preferred species because the combination of sugars, acids, and astringent sub- stances such as tannins gives character to the product. The name of wines, such as cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir, refer to the grape cultivar. Because these wines have become a standard product there is great reluctance to change grape cultivars used for wine, but various clones have been selected throughout the many years they have been cultivated. Some grapes (known as table grapes) can also be enjoyed fresh; many of the new cultivars bred for this purpose are seedless. Nonalcoholic grape juice is en- joyed in the United States; this industry derives from Concord, a cultivar of the American species V. labrusca, the fox grape. American grapes are typically winter-hardy and have a slip skin and a unique flavor referred to as foxy. Concord juice in the United States is also used to make the sweet wine used traditionally in Jewish cere- monies, a product often derided by wine connoisseurs but still enjoyed by millions of ordinary folk. (When the as- tronaut Gene Cernan landed on the moon, he expressed his wonder at the sight with the famous expression “Man O Manischewitz,” the name of a popular brand!) Amer- ican grapes have long been grown in Japan, where their foxy flavor is appreciated. The large-fruited table grape Italia, widely appreciated in Europe, has a muscat flavor that is similar to the foxy flavor of labrusca grapes, many of which are sweet and pleasant but insipid. The strong- flavored muscadine (V. rotundifolia), native to the south- ern United States, has a small market in this area for fresh fruit, juice, and wine.

The kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa, Actinidiaceae) is an example of a fruit species that has been essentially do- mesticated in the twentieth century. It derives from a gathered Chinese fruit known as yangtao, which had long been appreciated in China but was collected rather than cultivated. Introduced to the United States and New Zealand early in the twentieth century by the plant ex- plorer E. H. (Chinese) Wilson, it was referred to as Chi- nese gooseberries. Although it remained a curiosity in the United States, New Zealand growers and nurserymen succeeded in domesticating the crop by selecting suitable male and female clones (the plant is dioecious), as well as techniques for cultivation. One seedling selected by A. Hayward Wright and subsequently named Hayward be- came the mainstay of the world industry. The fruit was exported to the United States and promoted by Frieda Caplan, a marketer of new crops. In 1959 the relatively unattractive brown fruit received the new name kiwifruit after the kiwi, an endemic flightless bird often used as a nickname for New Zealanders. Kiwifruit has a pleasant but weak flavor with very high vitamin C content, but the nutritious quality of the fruit has not been promoted; rather, it was the beautiful and unique appearance of the sliced flesh, which is used as a garnish on bakery products or as a component of mixed fruit, that made this fruit popular worldwide. The long storage life of the fruit made it possible for New Zealand to export the fruit

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