Appalachian Dialect Appalachian Food

Apples = Fruit & The End of Time in Appalachia


I’ve put up a lot of apples this summer-so I’ve had them on my mind and in my hands!

Granny and Pap always called applesauce fruit. My Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English documents the usage so I know it was common at least throughout Western NC and East TN. I’m betting it was common in other areas of Appalachia too.

In a recent video I made I discussed the Appalachian language usage of the word fruit, how apples are typically preserved in the Appalachian Mountains, and even the end of time. Crazy combination uh 🙂

Granny called while I was filming, we thought you might want to hear our conversation so I left it in the video.

I hope you enjoyed the video and Granny’s call. I’d already promised her I’d bring her some eggs, I just didn’t get them there before she decided to make cornbread 🙂

Hoping you’ll share this post with anyone you know who loves Appalachia!

This week we:

  • froze blueberries
  • froze greenbeans
  • canned tomatoes


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 24, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    I could be mistaken but I think a horse apple is a kind of crabapple. I think they were used to graft other kinds of apples onto. They are much more resistant to diseases. Lots of apples you buy at a nursery are grafted and the trunk will be a different variety from the fruit. Crabapples were raised more by our ancestors because they are higher in pectin. That was before Sure Jell. They were added to sweet apple juice instead.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Good post Tipper. I love apples and all that tou can do with them. I love making apple butter. I also love fried apples with a biscuit. As for End of Time, I hope everyone believes it, because it will come. Maybe not in our life time but maybe it will . God gives us signs when it will be . In Revelation. Just like when clouds form and it gets a dark cloud, we know it’s going to rain. He gave us things to look for and we will know it be close.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    August 24, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    I hope you got Granny’s egg delivered on time! When you mentioned stack cakes, that got my attention. My Mom used to make stack cakes and put apple butter between each layer in addition to covering the outside with apple butter just as we ice a cake.
    The pots used in our area to make apple butter were either brass or copper. Some people used cinnamon to both flavor and make the apple butter a shade of red. At some point, some started using the cinnamon drops which, I guess, made the apple butter a deeper red?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    In my mind there is a difference between fruit and cooked apples. Mommy cooked apples that “cooked up” and called it fruit. Sometimes she ran it through a colander if there were lumps. Other times, if she had apples that didn’t break down as much she canned them and called it cooked apples. “Fruit” was eaten as is, cold straight from the can or heated up a little with a bit of cinnamon and sugar depending on how sweet the apples were to begin with. Cooked apples were further processed before reaching the table.
    I was way up in school before I realized that “fruit” and applesauce were one and the same.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    August 24, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    amazing thanks tipper there are so many uses for apples like trying different varietys have a great week and take care

  • Reply
    JanL l
    August 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    We had a few fruit trees when I was growing up in South Carolina. However, we didn’t refer to ‘apple’ as the only fruit… we had fruit trees of apple, peach pear,, and plum. Like Ron Stephens comment, I also remember apples referred to as horse apples – I think these were the little green apples that indeed my father fed to his horse, the trees usually were growing out in a field in our area. My mother made many different foods from all those fruit trees; I think my favorite was the baked apples with cinnamon and sugar!
    Enjoyed the inclusion of your phone conversation. I think it is wonderful to live close enough to your parents to walk to their house. When I married someone from ‘off’ and moved away, I was very homesick. Many years later, though I call another state ‘home’ now, I admit to still longing for ‘home’ – Upstate SC, the mountains, streams, and soft speech.

  • Reply
    Sherry Dobbs
    August 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    My Dad’s Mom, Granny Summers always dried apples as I grew up. We would visit her house and in the fall and winter she’d have apes drying, she would string them and hang them up all through her kitchen which bad no running water. She had a wood burning stove in the kitchen she used until I was about 15 when she finally got a ‘lectric stove! She kept the wood burning stove she’d use for special cooking. I can still taste her Apple stack cakes she made! We lived in Ohio and would come for holidays and take one back when we left. Often eating on it on the way. I still make one on occasion but it never has that wood burning stove flavor of my memories. And the dried apples I by never have that texture I remember either! I sure miss you Granny Summers!❤️

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    August 24, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Re apples, yes, we have always eaten them. I used to can applesauce, but don’t anymore. Mama always
    sauteed apple slices in butter with a little brown sugar and cinnamon to serve with pork. Delicious! I couldn’t
    eat sulphured apples when I was a child because the sulphur gave me asthma.
    Re the end of time, yes, I was brought up with the concept, but we spoke of the Lord coming again
    rather than calling it the end of time.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

    I meant to say john’s twin Daughters instead of twin Sisters. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 24, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Pap called him Indian John. He ran a drop-ball for Hitchock Corporation near Atlanta. Me and Harold was there, playing with his twin Sisters, Myrl and Pearl, and their younger brother, Johnny, when we got Bad News. Someone had Pulled a Shot at Hitchcock Corporation, and their dad was Killed. He saw what had happened, and John Richard jumped off his machine and got underneath his drop-ball. He thought he was safe, when a Huge Rock hit him in the Back and done him in.

    Me and Harold had our Pastebored Boxes ready and planned to go over to the Railroad Tracks and slide down Mountain on the vines. That was a lot of Fun, but Tragedy had happened.

    We said our condolences and left. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 24, 2020 at 10:07 am

    We lived in Greenville county, SC and like Ron my grandparents had a tree they called a horse apple tree. I never knew why it was called that. The apples were small, hard, and not very sweet. They used the apples for jelly and also for making dried apples.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 24, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Tipper–In our family fruit and applesauce were used pretty much interchangeably, although in truth the apples Momma put up (and she canned quart jars of them score after score) weren’t sauce. She just cooked the quarters we had peeled and cut up until they were tender and then canned. Grandma Minnie almost always used “fruit” but I think Momma and Daddy were more inclined to use applesauce.

    I don’t think Momma every “sulfured” dried apples but Grandma did. Other than color, I don’t remember any real difference in the taste.

    One thing sure–apples figured prominently in our daily diet. Moreover, two of my fondest food memories from boyhood are Grandma’s stack cake made with apples she had dried and Momma’s applesauce cake. Both desserts were finer and tastier than anything ever served in a four-star restaurant.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 24, 2020 at 9:58 am

    The early May freeze we had in Ky killed all my fruit this year. My special Yellow Sheepnose apple tree was loaded with blooms before the cold snap hit. None of the other apple, pear or peach trees had any fruit and I’m sure missing my fried pies.
    I’m glad you took Granny some eggs!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Tip, my Granny put up all kinds of apples. Apples were plentiful in the area. My granny had four apple trees. One tree was growing in the chicken lot and she called it an Early Transparent. As the name implies these were the first apples to come in. Then she had three other big old apple trees in a row down below the garden. I don’t recall the varieties but she put up lots of apples that included, freezing, drying, apple sauce, apple butter, and dried. There may have been more that I don’t recall.
    Apples were plentiful in that section of North Carolina so everyone ate and put up apples back then. There are still a lot of apples grown there but not many people put them up any more. We live in a time where most people eat from a restaurant and there is not a lot of cooking.
    Tip, I really enjoyed your video and a big “Thank You!” for documenting and preserving our Appalachian way of life!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2020 at 9:04 am

    I watched your interview with Josh yesterday but could not figure out how to leave a comment. Back in the late 1950’s a group from our school rode the train to Copper Hill to tour the area and learn about the mine. In the early days they used mules to haul the ore down to the smelter. Quite a distance and a dangerous downhill route. We visited Duck town often when I was a youngster as mom’s cousin lived there and ran a small store.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      August 24, 2020 at 8:38 pm

      You’ve got to subscribe to Youtube to leave a comment. But everybody needs to subscribe. You don’t have to post any videos to subscribe and it don’t cost you anything. If I can do it you can do it!

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    August 24, 2020 at 9:03 am

    First off, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! Honestly, I thought you may be 41 but not close to 50. That Mary Kay has given you beautiful glowing smooth skin like a doll and I’d say your clean healthy living and diet have preserved your vitality as well. My brother eats apples every day and DEVOURS THE CORE too. I’ve never seen anybody else do that. I am a crock pot apple butter woman. I like it on toast as a snack or meal. I’d love to make apple butter with the old folks just like you. I remember those days. Bobby ( my grandpa) would stoke and tend the fire while mommy ( my grandma) stirred with copper pennies to keep it from sticking and it smelled so good cooking! We all gathered around and waited and talked even into the dark as we huddled under covers. My parents were irresponsible hoodlums who gave us 3 kids to my daddy’s parents and often I thank those heartless losers for that! Where would I be had they raised me??? Anyway, I think this blog was definitely a fantastic one and I can relate to most all of what you shared. I asked a preacher one time when the end of the world would be and he said “ Little lady, when you die, that’s the end of time for you. “ I laughed as I thought about that and he was so right. I got no right to guess the thoughts and ways of God the Almighty. That would be like an ant trying to figure out politicians motives. But I will be using the end of time thing for an excuse to get out of chores from now on, though as it’s right handy!!! Apples are an excellent FRUIT and good for teeth, digestion and antioxidants which kill cancer and other sicknesses. Besides bananas, apples are number 2 favorite fruit to me- golden delicious are my favorite variety!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2020 at 8:57 am

    This takes me back to a conversation I had many years ago with a great Uncle. I so wished I had talked to him more, as he could have shared so much about the family. He was a jolly laughing man, as many on Mom’s side of the family were. Late one evening, he mentioned when he was younger and the Northern Lights were seen over his mountain. He laughed and said, “Everybody on Barker’s Ridge was on their knees prayin” ’cause they thought it was the end ‘a time. Many years later my work travel took me over that same ridge, and my mind wondered about all those scared people that had mostly gone on by then to “meet their maker.” I always learned all I could about the areas I traveled, because I sometimes looked at them more in a historical sense than in present day.
    Your posts and subject matter are just getting better and better, Tipper, and I really loved the one today. Thanks for discussing something so Appalachian, but seldom mentioned anymore.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 24, 2020 at 7:49 am

    I do not recall ‘fruit’ being a synonym for apples in east KY when I was growing up. Apples were the most common kind of fruit though there was no commercial orchard anywhere near. My Grandma had three apple trees at her old place. One of them we called a horse apple though I never heard any reason for the name. For some reason we never had any apple trees at our house. And yes, I have drying apples. I think I am done at 18 one-quart bags. They are sour green apples because the birds won’t let me wait for them to get ripe.

    Your end of time story reminds me of Jerry Clower’s story about the man who saw sky writing for the first time. And the only way I ever heard it used was in the biblical meaning of a for-sure literal elements melting with fervent heat.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 24, 2020 at 7:37 am

    I have a young apple tree that had quite a few apples on it this year and the squirrels left me one apple. I picked it alittle green but it was still good. Squirrels are fun to watch as long as they aren’t eating my crops. No fried apples for me. Squirrel season is open now and the 13 year boy just over the hill has killed 3 with his pellet rifle and yes he does eat them. If it would help I’ll buy him all the pellets he needs. They need to be thinned out.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2020 at 7:40 am

      AW-we had the same problem with squirrels and apples a few years back. I think they go every last apple I had!

    Leave a Reply