Of all shapes, sizes, colour and flavour, beginning obviously with the home grown, the international trade even from Empire took a while after the war to take off.
We grew apples, plums, cherries and pears, rhubarb; black, red and white currants and blackberries, raspberry and gooseberry. Cooked or raw they play a colourful wallpaper to my childhood.
I ate them and enjoyed them, I helped pick them and received payment for the deed (another source of income to buy books) and watched fascinated as they were prepared and put into jars for the winter When cooking apples were prepared for apple pies I used to steal some and dipping them into the sugar bowl chew them contentedly as I watched. Mum turned out at least one tart - as out family called the pies she made - every week until Dad died shortly after their golden anniversary. Plus the few extras.
Apple pie was just one of many - I preferred the raspberry and redcurrant, and blackberry and apple myself.
We had some exotic fruit, such as bananas. We all liked those. Mum in particular, but she had gone short during rationing as, being a mum we children had first pick and sometimes there was none left for her. During rationing, after the war, Mum and Dad went to Eire for a weeks holiday. Eire not being part of the UK had no rationing and while Dad filled up on steak, Mum would buy a huge bag of bananas each morning and happily munch her way through - we were so envious when we heard:)
At Christmas we had grapes and mandarins. Winter was generally a citrus time as oranges were plentiful as well, and they were definitely a favourite of mine. As a alternative to Christmas pudding and trifle we had fruit salad but it was mostly tinned fruit there was always tinned fruit.
Another delight at mainly Christmas time was dried fruit,Mum did use then during the year for Rock Cakes and Bread and Butter Puddings but we had far more in the winter.
Later new fruits would grace the table but none have beaten the childhood offerings in the rating tables, I am a loyal eater:) However, melons and pineapples were rare and so became a treat the same with mango's and kiwi fruit, uglies and lychee's the last of which I never took too. Oranges and bananas are my top raw fruit, and berries and currants still my best cooked.
Over the last few years with ageing taste buds the fruits I can tolerate begin to shrink from the sweetness level. I like to blame the weather, the growers and anything else I can think of but I remember Mum had the same trouble in later years. Tastes change and sweetness is part of it, it has been many a year since I enjoyed dry wine. To lessen the sourness I now find that mixing soft fruits with say banana,yogurt or a cereal I manage better.
Grapes and cherries still taste good and I can still binge on those. The cherry season is short so I feel no guilt in just sitting and eating whole bags of them. In the grape line I prefer the black grape and treat myself to a punnet a week maybe two:)
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