Nursery Rhymes

Medieval Fruit

Medieval life and Times

Medieval Fruit
The wealthy nobles of the Middle Ages ate little fresh fruit - unprepared food of this variety was viewed with some suspicion. Fruit was usually served in pies or was preserved in honey. Fresh fruit was traditionally  eaten by the poor. Little was known about nutrition and the Medieval diet of the rich Nobles lacked Vitamin C and fibre. This led to an assortment of health problems including bad teeth, skin diseases, scurvy and rickets!

Medieval Fruit availability
Western Europe was originally very poor in fruits, and it only improved by foreign importations, mostly from Asia by the Romans. The apricot came from Armenia, the pistachio-nuts and plums from Syria, the peach from Persia, the cherry from Cerasus, the lemon from Media, the pomegranate,  the quince from Cydon in Crete; the olive, fig, pear, and apple, from Greece. The quince, which was so generally cultivated in Medieval Times, was looked upon as the most useful of all fruits. Not only did it form the basis of the farmers' dried preserves to make a sort of marmalade, but it was also used for seasoning meat.
Several sorts of cherries were known, but these did not prevent the small wild or wood cherry from being appreciated at the tables of the peasants.

Wild and Exotic Medieval Fruit
The Portuguese claim the honour of having introduced oranges from China. Raspberries were still completely wild and wood strawberries had only just at that time been introduced into gardens. Apples were the only cultivated fruit, but others grew wild. Wild fruits like pears, quinces, and even peaches were served on some medieval tables. Strawberries raspberries, red currants could be found in the woods. Only the Nobility could afford exotic fruits such as dates. About the same date melons begin to appear and were watered them with honeyed or sweetened water.

Medieval Fruit
The following fruits were available during the Medieval era, even though many were looked upon with sheer distain, especially by the Upper Classes. The following list of fruits were available during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Apricot
  • Quince
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Red currants
  • Melons
  • Pomegranate
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