Private: Number 1


The seeds of the kiwifruit were brought from its native China to New Zealand where the kiwifruit is now New Zealands national fruit. It is named after that country’s native bird, the kiwi, because of its furry brown skin. The kiwi was introduced to Western Europe in 1953 and although it is a relative newcomer to the local fruit bowls, it has now definitively crossed over from “exotic” fruit, to a regular, mainstream fruit. Indeed, such has its success been, kiwifruit is now so popular that it is cultivated in many European countries.

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Private: Number 2


It is a mystery where the first lemon tree flowered. It is unclear whether the Romans or the Greeks knew about lemons as there is a lot of conflicting information. They were introduced to Spanish and North African soil between AD 1000 and 1200. By the 2nd century AD they had been imported to Rome from Libya and the Hebrews were cultivating lemon groves. At Anne Boleyn’s coronation, there was just one lemon which had cost over 6 silver pennies! Lemon juice, of course is traditionally served with sugar on pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

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Private: Number 3


The name comes from the Arabic “limah”. Believed to have been discovered in North East India adjoining Burma and North Malaysia, the crusaders and Arab traders brought the lime to Europe, eventually reaching the New World. It is the most hardy and tropically inclined member of the citrus family and is very difficult to grow from seed. Lime juice, high in vitamin C, used to be carried on ships to prevent scurvy and was given to soldiers laced with alcohol to make the bitter taste easier to swallow!

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Private: Number 4


The history of the mango can be traced back 6,000 years and it has close ties with the Hindu religion. It is acclaimed as one of the most delicious tropical fruits with a flavour described as a cross between a peach and a melon, with undertones of ginger. It is thought to have been a native of the East Indies and Malaya but is now grown throughout the world’s tropical regions and is imported into Europe from the Caribbean, Africa, South America, South Africa and India. The main varieties are Haydon and Tommy Atkins.

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Private: Number 5


The melon is a member of the squash family. It was cultivated in ancient Egypt but introduced to Europe during the Renaissance. The water melon, however is native to Africa where it is featured in Egyptian art and Sanskrit literature.

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Private: Number 6


Oranges originated in the Far East around 3,000 years ago and became widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area in the Middle Ages, following their introduction by traders from the East. Oranges became a sign of great wealth at that time- the richer you were the more oranges were used in your food. Baths and make-up were even scented with orange flowers! Oranges take their name from the French town of Orange, which was a major growing area for oranges during the Middle Ages, and the Indian name “narayan” which means perfume within.

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Private: Number 7

Papaya / Paw Paws

The paw paw or papaya is a native of tropical America but is now found growing in most tropical or sub-tropical regions of the world. It is an extremely fast growing plant – the tree bears fruit from the central stem after only one year. In Australia, the Aborigines use the seed of papaya as an aphrodisiac. The raw fruit has excellent digestive properties.

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Private: Number 8

Peaches & Nectarines

Peaches and nectarines are members of the rose family and were originally thought to come from Persia. In fact, the fruits come from China and were brought back to Persia along the old silk routes by the Ancient Persians. They reached Europe approximately 2,000 years ago, said to have been introduced by Alexander the Great. They have since been transported all over the world and they are mainly imported into Western Europe from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, America and South Africa. It used to be thought that the nectarine evolved from the peach, crossed with a plum, but this is untrue and the nectarine is classed as a fuzzless peach. The name is believed to be derived from “nectar”, the drink of the Gods, because of its superb flavour.

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Private: Number 9


Pears have been cultivated for at least 3,000 years and were eaten by the Romans. They were mentioned in Homer’s “Odyssey” as being a “gift of the Gods”. They were first cultivated in Britain in the 12th century. The William pear was first cultivated in 1770 and named after Mr. Williams who distributed pears in Britain and the United States. Like apples, the variety of pears available in Europe has increased exponentially over recent years. Conference, Williams, Packham and Comice pears remain amongst the most popular, however.

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Private: Number 10


Pineapples originated in Brazil and Paraguay and are now grown in all tropical regions in the world. They are thought to have acquired their name because of their resemblance to pine cones. Because of their unusual appearance, during the 17th century they were used as table decoration at royal banquets and became a symbol of hospitality as well as social standing. The advent of “super sweet” or gold pineapples in recent years has seen the popularity of the fruit explode across Europe with these new, sweeter pineapples now accounting for the vast majority of pineapples imported into Europe.

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Private: Number 11


Plums come in two main types— dessert and culinary. The wild plum, from which our modern plums derive, are native to Western Asia and were cultivated in the Middle East 3,000 years ago. Plums were introduced into Europe during Roman times and new strains were developed.

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Private: Number 12


This exotic fruit is originally from Iran and is one of the most ancient cultivated fruits, favoured by the Gods in ancient myths. It was a symbol of fertility, immortality, rejuvenation, wealth and prosperity. Today, it is grown in Mediterranean countries as well as in the USA and Middle East. The name pomegranate comes from the Latin word meaning “grain apple”, as it reflects shape and characteristics.

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Private: Number 13


Raspberries became popular in Western Europe around the 17th century, originating in Asia. An indigenous crop in many European countries, raspberry picking became synonymous with part-time work for school children in summers in many countries.

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Private: Number 14

Red / White / Black Currants

The currants cultivated today are derived from species native to Northern Europe, North Africa and the United States. They were introduced to France from Scandinavia in the Middle Ages and were first seen in the UK in the early 16th century. They were mistakenly thought to be the fruit from which raisins came, hence the name “currant”.

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Private: Number 15


Rhubarb was known as far back as 2700 BC, when it was mentioned in a Chinese book of herbs and medicines and was cultivated by the Greeks and Romans as well as in India, Siberia and Mongolia. As well as its acclaimed medicinal properties, it was grown as an ornamental plant where a special specimen was planted in the famous Botanical Gardens in Padua, Italy. In the 18th century, its culinary uses were fully appreciated and even Queen Victoria used to enjoy rhubarb. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that two varieties were developed during her reign, one in her name and the other of her consort, Prince Albert. Although it is one of the oldest vegetables, it is treated as a fruit.

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Private: Number 16

Sharon Fruit

The sharon fruit originated in the Sharon valley in Israel, from which it gets its name. Sharon fruit is the non-astringent strain of persimmon and unlike persimmons, the sharon fruit tastes sweet when the fruit is hard, as well as soft.

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Private: Number 17

Soft Citrus

Soft citrus fruits are otherwise known as easy peelers because the skin is not firmly attached to the fruit, which makes them easier and less messy to peel than most oranges and grapefruit. Soft citrus fruits are all members of the mandarine family and come from original citrus stock, although there are many varieties. They first came to Europe from the Far East and may have been shipped via Tangier, from where they may take their other name; “Tangerines”. The popularity of easy peelers has eclipsed that of conventional oranges in recent times.

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Private: Number 18


The Romans were the first people known to have cultivated the strawberry from the common or wood strawberry. In the 14th century a small number of strawberry plants were cultivated and grown in the gardens of Charles V of France before becoming very popular in the rest of France. Cardinal Wolsey is actually credited with serving the first British bowl of strawberries and cream at a large banquet in 1509. The English word for strawberry comes from the old English term “streowvberie” or “streawberige”

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