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Activity #2: Fruit and Vegetable Tasting

The people in Tudor England 500 years ago grew and ate many of the same fruits and vegetables that we grow and eat today. You can see many of these today in Agecroft’s KITCHEN GARDEN. Tudor kitchen gardens were located near the cooking areas of the manor house, and the fruits and vegetables were used for daily cooking. Nothing grown at home needed to be bought at the local market, and this saved the family time and money.

Common fruits were apples (which were usually cooked), strawberries, pears, plums, blackberries and raspberries. Rich Tudors could afford fruits imported (shipped over to England) from France, Spain and the New World (North America). These imported fruits included lemons, pomegranates, peaches and oranges. Some of these plants can be found in Agecroft’s TRADESCANT GARDEN, named after the two men who first brought these fruits to England.

Most fruits were cooked because Tudor people believed that raw fruits could be bad for them. Apples, for instance, often made people sick because of salmonella (a bacterium) in the soil. They made, instead, a cooked apple dish called “moise”, much like today’s applesauce.

Common vegetables were cabbages, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce and turnips. Early carrots in England were not orange. They were black, yellow, purple or white!

The Tudors had many recipes that made their fruits and vegetables taste good. Fruits and vegetables could be cooked with herbs and spices, baked with sugar and spices into pies, or added to cooked “sallats”, or salads. Pickling was another convenient way to keep fruits and vegetables for a longer period. Do you have any pickles in your refrigerator? What vegetable are the made from?

Go ahead today and taste some fruits and vegetables that are new to you. Keep a record in your field notebook of what you tried and what you thought about it. Did you like it? Why or why not? You can use the diagram below to help you to describe the flavors in these new foods. As you can see, different parts of your tongue can detect specific flavors. Let us know how your tasting session went!





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