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and by this means theusands of them may be obtained and destroyed, from the time when they first begin to leave the apples, until the fruit is gathered."
Properties and Uses. The wood of the apple-tree, in a wild state, is finegrained, hard, and of a brownish colour; and that of the cultivated tree is believed to be of a still finer and closer grain, which is a result of cultivation contrary to what is usual. The weight of the wood of this species varies much according to the locality in which it grows. In a green state, it weighs from forty-eight to sixty-six pounds to a cubic foot; and it loses from one eighth to one twelfth of its bulk in drying, and about one tenth of its weight. The wood of the cultivated varieties weighs more than that of the wild tree, in the proportion of about sixty-six to forty-five. In Britain, apple-tree wood was formerly much used in turnery, and as cogs for wheels, for which latter purpose it was found to be durable, when kept dry; but if exposed to the alternations of moisture and dryness, it did not last long in any situation. The bark of this tree affords a yellow dye; and the leaves are eaten by horses, cows, sheep, and goats. In France and some parts of Germany, the thorny wild-apple, or crab, is formed into live hedges, the branches of which, according to Agricola, were inarched into each other, in order to give them more strength to resist cattle. In some of the forests of France, its fruit is a great resource for the wild boar, and it is also given in that country to swine and cows. Apples, for the various purposes in domestic economy, recommend themselves to our choice by very different qualities; though some few varieties are almost equally well adapted to all purposes. In those for the table, we require sweetness, with a subdued and pleasant acidity, and a delicate, aromatic flavour. In the kitchen-apple, size, the quality of keeping, and considerable acidity are the principal requisites; and those intended for boiling and for making sauce, acidity is an indispensable property. The best apples for cider, are those which yield a juice of the greatest specific gravity; and it is said that cider made from trees grown on a strong clayey soil, has more strength, and will keep better than that made from trees on a sandy soil. The red and yellow colour of the rind is considered as good indications of cider fruit, and apples of the various degrees of these colours are decidedly preferable to those of which the rind is green. The pulp should be yellow, the taste rich, and somewhat astringent. Apples of a small size, if equal in quality, are always to be preferred for cider to those of a larger size, in order that the rind and kernel may bear the greatest proportion to the pulp, the latter of which, affords the weakest and the most watery juice.
With regard to the preservation of apples, it is a practice, with many persons, to gather them in October, and first spread them on the floor of an upper room, in order to let them dry, and then to pack them in casks or boxes, and store them away in a cellar; but experience has shown that this mode of treatment causes them to wither, and lose their flavour, without acquiring any additional dura bility. The apples intended to be preserved for winter and spring use, should remain on the trees until quite ripe, which will usually take place at the coming of the first heavy frost. They should then be plucked from the trees by hand, in a fair day, and packed up immediately in casks, in alternate layers of dry sand, plaster, chaff
, saw-dust, or bran, and conveyed to a cool, dry place as soon as possible. The sand or saw-dust may be dried in the heat of summer, or may be baked in an oven at the time required to be used. The peculiar advantages arising from packing apples in sand, are explained and commented upon as follows, by the late Mr. Webster, author of the “ American Dictionary of the English Language;"_“1st, the sand keeps the apples from the air, which is essential to their preservation; 2d, the sand checks the evaporation or perspiration of the apples, thus preserving in them their full flavour-at the same time any moisture yielded by the apples is absorbed by the sand-so that the apples are kept dry,
and all mustiness is prevented. My pippins in May and June, are as fresh as when first picked. Even the ends of the stems look as if just separated from the twigs; 3d, the sand is equally a preservative from frost, rats, &c. But after the extreme heat of June takes place, all apples speedily lose their flavour, and become insipid.”
The uses of the apple, as an eatable fruit, are very numerous. They are equally good for the kitchen and the dessert; and may not only be used in various dishes by themselves, but enter into numerous combinations with other fruits. In confectionary, apple-jelly forms a most beautiful medium for preserving Siberian crabs, and many other kinds of fruit; and dried apples (beaufins) are prepared in great numbers in some parts of England, by drying them slowly in bakers' ovens after the bread has been drawn, and occasionally taking them out and flattening them with the hand, till they are perfectly soft, and of a rich deep-brown colour. In France, a kind of jam or rob, called raisiné composé, is prepared by boiling apples in unfermented wine. The must or wine should be diminished by boiling to one half of its bulk, to be continually skimmed as fresh scum arises, and afterwards strained through a cloth or a fine sieve. The apples are then pared, cut into quarters, and put into this liquor, (raisiné,) and left to simmer gently over a fire, with a continual stirring with a wooden spatula, till the apples become thoroughly amalgamated with the liquor, and the whole forms a species of marmalade, which is extremely agreeable to the taste. pared in the northern departments, the raisiné, after the first boiling, skimming, and straining, should be set in a cool place for twenty-four hours, when a saline liquor, like a scum, will appear on the surface. This must be removed, and the liquor strained, before it is mixed with the apples, as above. This scum consists principally of tartaric acid, which would spoil the rasiné, and prevent it from keeping sweet, but which is not perceivable when the grapes have ripened in a southern climate. The raisiné, when properly prepared, is sweet, but with a slight flavour of acidity, like lemon juice mixed with honey. The best raisine is made in Burgundy. In Normandy, a similar marmalade is composed of cider and pears, much resembling the "apple-butter” or “apple-sauce," of the United States; but it is not so good as the raisiné, being apt to ferment. In some cases, the pears are put into an earthen vessel without water, and placed in a baker's oven after the bread has been drawn, previously to mixing with cider. The best raisiné is considered very wholesome, particularly for children, who eat it spread on bread, and for persons in delicate health, whose stomachs will not bear butter. In Italy, the raisiné is eaten with preparations either of Indian corn, or of maccaroni, to give a flavour to these dishes.*
A kind of wine is also made from apples with water and sugar; but it is by no means so good as the better classes of cider, from which a spirit is extracted equal to brandy, for preserving fruit. In some parts of England and France, a drink called boisson, is made from the wild crab; and verjuice is a well known vinegar, produced from the most austere of this fruit. In the United States, a liquor is made from cider by distillation, which is called cider brandy; and a very agreeable, and at the same time, a very strong liquor, is obtained by allowing cider to freeze, and drawing off the unfrozen part, which, of course, includes all the spirit the cider contained. A liquor is also made in America, called pomona wine, by add•ing one gallon of brandy to six gallons of new cider after it is racked off, which, when eight or twelve months old, is a very good substitute for wine.
Apples are stated, by persons who have made exact experiments, to yield about seventy per cent. of their weight of juice; or nearly seven imperial gallons, or eight and thirty-five hundredths wine gallons of juice to one hundred pounds of apples;
* See Nouv. Cours d'Agr., xiii., p. 44.
which may serve as some sort of guide to those who may wish to purchase apples for the purpose of making cider. It has also been stated that the quantity of apples required to make a hogshead of cider, in England, is from twenty-four to thirty bushels; and from eight to twelve bushels to make a barrel of that liquor, in the United States. As the strength of cider always depends upon the weight of the juice, there is no surer way of determining its value than by its specific gravity. The specific gravity of the juice of the best quality of apples should vary from 1.080 to 1.095.
Medicinally, apples are considered particularly cooling, and excellent in all inflammatory disorders; and apple-water is a most refreshing drink in fevers. Dr. Short, in speaking of the properties of cider, says, “ Long observation assures us, that such as chiefly drink cider, are more healthy and strong, and have better complexions than those that are accustomed to wine and ale." Both Lord Bacon and Dr. Baynard tell us of several persons nearly a hundred years of age, and some more, who seldom drank any other liquor, and were very active and vigorous at that age.
The apple-tree, as an object in landscape scenery, cannot be recommended as harmonizing well with other forms; but, as it has a character of its own, and as it affords an agreeable variety to the husbandman's hopes and pursuits, and no inconsiderable addition to his domestic comforts and enjoyments, it deserves a place in every garden and in every hedge-row. In the latter, it is more especially desirable, as it does very little injury to the surrounding crops by its shade; and, on the authority of Mr. Loudon, it may be added, that, in nurseries and market-gardens, particularly in the former, it gives protection to the young trees. And indeed, in viewing a “heaven-showered” orchard, whether covered in spring with a profusion of blossoms, or laden in autumn with fruit of rich and varied flavour, more beautiful than the grape, and yielding a juice scarcely less agreeable to the palate, our admiration is excited with the prodigal bounty and beauty of nature.
THE MOUNTAIN ASH.
LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
LOUDON, Arboretum Britannicum.
salvatica ottobrina, Sorbo salvatico, ITALY.
Gianfigliazzi, Sorba della Romola,
Wild Service, Mountain Service, Fowl-
en, Whitten, Wiggen-tree,
Derivations. The specific name aucuparia is derived from the Latin aucupor, to seek or get by cunning; having reference to the use made of the berries of this tree in all countries where it grows, and from time immemorial, to bait birds with Whence the French names, Sorbier des oiseleurs, the Bird-catcher's Service-tree, and Sorbier des oiseaut, the Bird Servicetree. The German name signifies the Bird's Berry.cree. This species is called Mountain Ash, from its growing on mountains, and the pinnse of its leaves bearing some resemblance to those of the common ash. Witchen, and all its derivatives, bear rela lion to the supposed power of this tree, as a protection against witches and evil spirits.
Engravings. Audubon, Birds of America, iv., pl. ccclxiii.; Selby, British Forest Trees, pp. 76 et 80; Loudon, Arboretum
Leaves impari-pinnate, serrated, and slightly glabrous. Flowers in branched corymbs.- De Candolle,
“But what is higher beyond thought than thee }
HE Mountain Ash forms an
of twenty or thirty feet, with 7 trunk a foot or more in diameter.
When fully grown, like most of its congeners, it assumes a somewhat formal character, having an orbicular head; but in a young state, its branches are disposed in a more loose and graceful manner. The bark is smooth and gray on the old wood, but when young, it is of a purplish-brown. The leaves are composed of eight or nine pair of leaflets, which are spear-shaped, notched at the edges, except at the base, and terminated by an odd one. They are smooth above, and nearly so beneath, with channelled midribs, but no foot-stalks.
The flowers, which put forth in May and June, occur in large white corymbs, of an almond-like scent, and are succeeded by brilliant scarlet, or purplish berries of a sour or bitterish taste. They usually begin to ripen in September, and ofter. remain upon the trees until the following spring.
Varieties. The varieties of the mountain ash are as follows:
1. P. A. FRUCTU LUTEA, Loudon. Yellow-fruited Mountain Ash, which may be continued by grafting.
2. P. A. FOLIIS VARIEGATIS, Loudon. Variegated-leaved Mountain Ash.
3. P. A. FASTIGIATA, Loudon. Fastigiate-branched Mountain Ash, having rigid and upright branches.
4. P. A. AMERICANA. American Mountain Ash; Pyrus americana, of De Candolle and Loudon; and Sorbus americana, var. B, of Michaux. The leaflets of this race are acute, almost equally serrated, glabrous, as is the petiole. Although a native of Canada, Newfoundland, Labrador, and the most northern parts of America, it closely resembles the European variety, being, apparently, a more robust-growing tree, with larger leaves, shining above, and smooth beneath. The young shoots are of a dark purplish colour, and are thought to be more tender than those of the common cultivated variety. The fruit is of a dark purplishred, approaching to the colour of copper, and like the European variety, is of a globose form. This tree may be propagated from seeds, or by grafting on the Pyrus aucuparia; and, from the brilliant colour of the fruit, and the large size of the bunches, it well deserves a place in collections.
5. P. A. MICROCARPA. Small-fruited Mountain Ash; Pyrus microcarpa, of De Candolle and Loudon; and Sorbus aucuparia, var. a, of Michaux. This variety, which is indigenous to the mountainous parts of the United States, particularly to the whole range of the Alleghanies, may be distinguished from the preceding, by the young branches being covered with a dark-brown gloss, and by having small scarlet berries. The leaflets are unequally incisely serrated, with the teeth tipped with a bristle-like mucro.
Geography and History. The Pyrus aucuparia is a native of most parts of Europe, from Iceland to the Mediterranean Sea. It is found in Asia from Russia and Siberia, as far as the Eastern Ocean; and from the cold woody region of the north, to the Alpine parts of Caucasus and Mount Libanus. In the former situations it is a low shrubby bush, and in the latter, a handsome tree of the third rank. It also occurs in Japan, and probably on other islands of the Indian Ocean; and, as stated above, two of its varieties are indigenous to North America. In Britain, it is common in woods and hedges, and in almost every cool and mountainous part of the island, as well as in Ireland. In France, Germany, and Switzerland, it occurs wild in the woods, and in the higher and colder regions of the mountains of Sicily, Italy, and Spain.
This tree was known to the Greeks and Romans, and frequent mention is made of it by their poets and historians. Thus they tell us that the Amazons of ancient mythology formed their spears of its wood; and Virgil was aware that it was susceptible of being grafted upon the pear, and that its fruit was sure to attract the thrush and the black-bird to any grove where it grew. Pliny considered it as a species of ash; and Matthiolus, an Italian physician who wrote about the middle of the XVIth century, describes it under the name of Sorbus sylvestris. And to come down to more recent times, Evelyn, in speaking of this tree, says, that “ale and beer brewed with these berries, being ripe, is an incomparable drink, familiar in Wales.” They form, continues he, a tempting bait for the thrushes; so that, "as long as they last in your woods, you will be sure of their company.' “Besides the use of it for the husbandman's tools, goads, &c., the wheelwright commends it for being all heart; our fletchers commend it for bows, next to the yew, which we ought not to pass over, for the glory of our once