Forgotten Fruits: A guide to Britain’s traditional fruit and vegetables from Orange Jelly turnips and Dan’s Mistake gooseberries
01 May 2008
In an era when supermarket conformity rules, it is refreshing to discover that there are still wonderful, traditional varieties of fruit and veg out there waiting to be grown and tasted. What about Glaskin’s Perpetual rhubarb, quick to settle in and ready to be cut in its first year? Or Alderman peas, deliciously sweet even when they reach the size of marbles? Not to mention Ashmead’s Kernel apple, as devoured and praised by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: ‘exploding with champagne-sherbet juice infused with a lingering scent of orange blossom’.
But Forgotten Fruits is more than a guide to these unusual varieties. It’s also a fascinating work of natural and social history. Did you know, for example, that beetroot was instrumental in ending the slave trade? Or that observing gooseberries helped Charles Darwin to arrive at his theory of evolution? Or that there are over 2,000 varieties of cooking and eating apples in Britain alone?
If you want to grow a bit of history in your garden, if you’d like to get a real taste of the huge variety of local produce that Britain has to offer, or even if you just want to find out a bit more about how rural life in the UK has evolved over the past centuries, Forgotten Fruits will prove irresistible — and enlightening — reading.