The History of Apple Pie: Not What You Think

Apple pie has always been the unofficial symbol of America, but the dessert didn’t really come from America, and neither did the apples. Apples are native to Asia, and have been in America about as long as Europeans have. The early colonists of Jamestown brought European apple tree cuttings and seeds with them. The native apple of North America was that the crab apple, along with the colonists discovered its small fruit “a poor substitute for Malus domestica.” Settlers primarily employed the apples to make cider, which was favored to water for a drink and simpler to produce than beer, which necessitated labor-intensive soil clearing.

Americans had made the apple really their own. But the apple pie isn’t a uniquely American dish. It’s been said that the very first recorded recipe for apple pie was written in 1381 in England, and called for figs, raisins, pears, and saffron in addition to apples. There were other differences, too: ancient apple pie recipes generally did not include sugars and their pastry crust was “coffin” pastry, that was intended as an inedible container, not a part of the pie. There are also recipes for Dutch apple pies as far back as 1514.

It’s difficult to tell where exactly the expression comes from, but in World War II it has been said that American soldiers told journalists that they were fighting for two things. For mom and for apple pie. From then on out, we Americans use the expression “as American as apple pie.”

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Rocky Mountain Pies is a bulk apple pies supplier in the United States.