Ancient Fruits

I truly enjoy pondering the fact that many millions of eras of plant evolution have come to land, deliciously, in a bowl on my counter where I am privileged to taste a drop of history!

Throughout antiquity there are references to both figs and citrus fruits!  Figs many have been the earliest cultivated crops, dating to the Neolithic era and the fruits and trees of the genus Ficus are important symbols throughout the bible as well as Assyrian and Babylonion texts.  In Sparta, the basic diet was cheese, barley, and figs while citron (Citrus medica) was known to the Romans in Latin as agrumes meaning "bitter fruit"

Portugese and Italian traders introduced the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe in the 14thC.  It was so popular as an edible fruit that specialized conservatories called orangeries were established, especially as the fruit circulated in the colder regions of Northern Europe.

As for the magnolia leaves - those trees are of a positively ancient lineage themselves!  Past species of Magnoliaceae have been traced back more than 95 million years!!  These ancient blooming trees spanned the globe before the Ice Age even happened!

Anyways, this all came about because the leftovers from Christmas collected in a bowl together and I think they look just lovely and ancient :)  Last but not least, this hilarious recipe from The Medieval Kitchen: Orange Omelette for Harlots and Ruffians (scroll to bottom)

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