Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Appalachian Food

Fruit = Apples in Appalachia

Fruit is applesauce in appalachia

fruit noun Apples preserved, stewed, or made into sauce.
1926 Wilson Cullowhee Wordlist = apples. “We have lots of fruit this year, but no peaches.” 1939 Hall Coll. White Oak NC Will you have some of the fruit [passing the apple sauce]. 1973 GSMNP 4:2:4 A lot of times we’d have applesauce. We called it fruit. 1973 Medford Long Hard Road 14 Apples, back in the old days, contributed a big part to the family living. It was just spoke of as “fruit”. You didn’t call it apple sauce. Apples fit into every meal, as well as to eat raw between meals-and at night, as we sat around the fire. They were dried, smoked, treated with sulfur or bleached. They were made into apple butter, jelly, cider, as well as pies of all kinds (including the “family” [or deep-dish] pie…) and fried pies, made from dried apples. There were canned and baked, as well as stewed. Most tempting to me was to bite into one raw. 1984 Dykeman and Stokely At Home 55 Called simply “fruit” by the early settlers, apples such as the favorite Limbertwigs and Milams gave both variety and nutrition to the pioneer diet.

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Granny and Pap use the word fruit in the manner described in the dictionary entry. I can just hear Granny saying “Won’t you come down and eat dinner with us? Your Daddy had me open a jar of fruit and we’ve got a pan of fried taters and the biscuits are just about done.”



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  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 31, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Fruit–apples–from early June apples until the last of the fall crop was wrapped by individual apples and stored in a barrel to eat at Christmastime, we had apples (fruit) in Choestoe. And then, until they came in again with the June apples–dried fruit and canned fruit, apple cobbler from sliced canned apples, and fried fruit pies. Bounty, indeed!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 31, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    How interesting! I’ve never heard of apples being referred to like that. Learn something new every day.
    We have a McIntosh apple tree in our front yard. We got a bumper crop last year; this year, nothing. I think the extreme high dry heat we got for so long this Spring affected it like it did our tomatoes.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    August 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    As a fellow grower of fruit tree’s I would like to introduce you to the Home Orchard Society;
    I am a life member of this group and have served as an
    officer in the past. Our primary objective is to assist both new and experienced fruit growers and to promote the science, culture and pleasure of growing fruit.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    One of these days, I hope to taste a limbertwig. Even when I lived in Ellijay and about I never could find any to try. I wouldn’t mind tasting different Yankee and English apples too.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    In addition to becoming very hungry for homemade applesauce or apple butter, several thoughts come to mind:
    1) One of the best things about the time we lived in Virginia (besides the births of our first two children) was having a very generous apple tree in our yard. They were small and green but the babies loved the applesauce and apple butter I made from the tree.
    2)At that time Apple Pies and Apple Cake were my husband’s favorite desserts and since most of his co-workers weren’t married, I used all the apples off that tree making apple goodies for my babies or my “big boys”.
    3)I was surprised not to hear anyone mention Winesaps. Except for the time in Virginia, I always used Winesaps for Apple Cake and a combination of Winesaps and Granny Smiths for Apple Pies. Nowadays, Fujis are my favorite eating apple but Honey Crisps will do in a pinch.
    4)Never tried my hand at drying apples. What characteristics make a good drying apple?
    5)I saw Martha Stewart make a Shake Lemon Pie the other day. The recipe included a custard – wonder if the “apple scrap pie”mentioned somewhere in the comments was something like that.

  • Reply
    barbara Gantt
    August 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I can still hear my Daddy saying there’s hot fruit and biscuits for supper. The first thing that I learned to can was fruit.
    We have three apple trees. They are full of fruit this year. We make cider, sauce, can , freeze, dry them.
    The orchards here sell deer apples. Lots of people buy them to cook and can. A lot cheaper than the best of the crop. Barbara

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Ever thought of mixing apples and pears to make applear sauce or would it be called peapple sauce?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 31, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    PS: Tell Granny to call me when her and Pap are having fruit, fried taters and biscuits. I’ll bring over some tenderloin. Pork tenderloin has apples in it too, if you fed the pig right.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 31, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I was way up in school before I found out that applesauce was the same thing as fruit. I remember suffering a bit of ridicule when I insisted there was a difference. I still think there is a difference. Commercially manufactured applesauce comes from apples that are not good enough for anything else. Fruit on the other hand comes from the best of the crop and the bad apples go to the pig. Or are used as bait for deer.
    Do the stores where you live advertise “Deer Apples” and “Deer Corn”?

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Dolores-thank you for the comment! The applesauce was the usually color maybe the green came from the camera LOL : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    August 31, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    While growing up many years ago in a
    Section of Haywood County, North Carolina
    Called “Thickety” I remember gathering
    Sweet apples from the side of the road
    up Buckeye Cove and taking them to the
    only Cider Mill in this section where I lived.
    Lot of fun fighting the Bees while pressing
    the ground-up apples butt very rewarding.
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 31, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    After making delicious Blackberry Jam this summer, I am going to try my hand at Apple Butter in a few weeks when the local western NC apples come in. Looking forward to the result, hopefully tasty!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    my grandmother dried fruit in flower sacks laid out on the tin roof of the shed! She would climb up the ladder a couple of times a day and turn the sacks for even drying. How I wish I had a fried pie about now!!!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Can’t wait! I can understand why the apples were called fruit, as oranges were a rare treat in these mountains.
    My pear tree has done great, but they wont last long enough to can. Now I understand why they used to wear aprons. I am forever trying to hold a harvest in the bottom of my blouse.
    My Mom used to make an apple pie that I have not seen anyone else bake. She made it from the apples that made applesauce. I am sure she must have used eggs and flour in it, and it had the consistency of custard only firmer. I will never know how she made these as I didn’t pay attention, and she cannot remember. It is always good to pick the brains of those older and wiser. That is, except for you, and you are younger and wiser.

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    August 31, 2015 at 11:57 am

    The older members of my family always refer to apple sauce as fruit. The late Lorena Nix Turner always gave us a box of canned fruit. hers had a reddish color. She said she always used “Detroit Red” apples. It was delicious.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Your big bowl of fruit looks tasty. I like applesauce on Spice Cakes. Last fall an 82 year old lady gave me a couple quarts of Applesauce that she recently put up. I enjoyed it on cakes, never cared for those homeade fried pies that you fold over.
    When I was a youngin’, we had
    lots of apple trees in our holler, the old timey kind like
    Winter Johns, Ben Davis, Potts,
    some little striped ones (can’t
    think of their names) Never cared for those
    sour Crab Apples, but they make
    awful pretty, pink Jelly…Ken

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    August 31, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I lived in the sawmill town of Cass, West Virginia back in the late forties. There was an apple tree growing by the “Wood Shed” door in our backyard. We used scrap from the hardwood flooring for cooking and heating water. Well we ten year old boys used to crush apples from this tree in a bucket (Lard Pail) We used a piece of Oak or maple flooring to pound away at the fruit. We strained, squeezed the pulp through a rag into a Mason Jar. We hid the jar and waited a few days. You All probably know the rest of the story. Ol Mother Nature had Her way. We discovered fermentation. Our parents didn’t approve much, but we kept the Jar well hidden. Simple pleasures of a “Wood Hicks” (My Dad) Son.

  • Reply
    Marylou Sweat
    August 31, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Wish I had an apple tree but they don’t grow well in central Florida! Have to buy my apples…My pickle along(which I know is over for ya’ll)has netted me 92 pints(of 8 day sweet pickles) so far with 2+ buckets left to go *whew*! Be glad when I’m done getting those in jars!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I really enjoy a good natural applesauce. The first picture made my mouth water, but the tint of green made me wonder what type of apple was used to bring on that color. Also, there is nothing better than a fine apple pie. Looking forward to tomorrow.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Well, you can just ‘hear’ Granny, and I can just ‘smell’ all those things together for dinner- scrumptious!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 31, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I love apples in any way shape or form. Mother made applesauce, pies, fried pie (my favorite), and traditional apple pie. She also made cooked sliced apples that were very buttery. A bowl of those and a hot biscuit was about as good as it gets! Mother and dad called it fruit as well.
    We had some old apple trees that produced a small striped apple. I never knew their real name but dad just called them old timey apples. They were good for snacking but the best ones came from the orchards up the road.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

    PS…I forgot to mention one very important thing…When me, my brothers and cousins were visiting in the summer, we would slip upstairs in that apple drying room. One would lower a corner of the frames and we would grab a few handfuls of the drying apples and run back downstairs, out the screen door we’d go, to swing on the porch swing and eat those half dried leathery like apples.
    That is until our Grandmother caught us….oops! How did she catch us you ask! Why we always let the screen door slam shut and she come to check why it was slamming so often!…Boy oh boy, were those half-dried apples good tastin’!
    Those were the good ole days!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 31, 2015 at 8:09 am

    My Grandmother referred to apple pie as a fruit pie. However, I remember when I was a young girl and she handed Mother a brown paper bag of apples…she referred to them as a bag of dried apples. We went upstairs and she had them drying in a spare room. It was summer and the windows were open, with a cross breeze that you could feel. The apples were on a large sheet of cloth, (maybe cheese cloth) that was attached to big square quilting frames. Her frames were attached in the corners, with cords on pulleys from the ceiling, and she could lower them or raise them up to the ceiling out of the way. She had the “fruit” raised about 5 or 6 feet off the floor.
    The room was, of course, warm and breezy and when she let them down the fruit was near dried. She stirred them around a bit with a long wooden ruler when she showed Mom her prized drying apples. I always thought that was the best idea in the world and kept the insects off too. The morning thru mid-day sun come in those windows as well and kept the room very warm. That is the only room she quilted in and it doubled as an apple drying room.
    We made a trip to Rowell’s Apple House in Crab Orchard, Tn. Friday. I am trying a new apple, at least to me called “Shizuka”! This is the first year they have sold this apple. Mr. Rowell said it was a good all-round apple for drying, baking and eating. We also got a big bag of my favorite, “Honey Crisp”…I love those moist crunchy apples. His are better than any I have ever bought in the store. Rowell’s have all varieties of apples coming in, starting in August thru November until they are sold out!
    I have to get to peeling those apples today to put in my son’s dehydrator. My daughter-in-law gave it to me, telling me she would never use it. Mine was an old model and didn’t dry well.
    The last fruits he dried for us was some tomatoes to use in soups or make sauce. Even though disabled he was a great stay-at-home Dad and a excellent cook!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 31, 2015 at 7:47 am

    This reminds me of the way we use coke, no matter what type of soft drink you want.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 31, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Fruit still equals Apples here on White Oak today!

  • Reply
    Henry Horton
    August 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Have been finding some interesting apples in the area along the roads in abandoned homesteads. A couple i think i’ll graft on to dwarfing rootstock next year. Sat. found a monster big sized fruit…subtle flavor, but soft…not a keeper i’d guess but early and might dry very nicely.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 31, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Apples grow well here thus folks have always eaten a lot of them. They grew so well here that they became simply, fruit. THE fruit, bountiful and easily processed translated into eaten a lot.
    I love apples. I like them best raw but will take them any way I can get them. There is something very satisfying about eating apples and they are healthy. How about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
    I’ve processed a lot of apples over the years, Tip. So many that I can tell how those in the picture were processed just from looking at them.
    Yeah, for our mountain grown apples!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 6:41 am

    That’s so interesting! I’ve not heard that before.

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