Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Nases's Balsam Apple Salve
"The Balsam Apple is a tropical vine grown as a garden annual with bright yellow flowers followed by curious, oblong, yellow-orange warty fruits that burst open when ripe, and has attractive, glossy green foliage. It is native to the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Although the pale yellow, deeply-veined flowers have a subtle beauty, its round, somewhat warty, bright-orange fruits, or "apples", are its most distinguishing feature. When ripe, the fruits burst apart, revealing numerous seeds covered with a brilliant scarlet, extremely sticky coating. The Balsam Apple was introduced into Europe by 1568 and was used medicinally to treat wounds. Most of it is poisonous to eat, in fact.
Monticello has a lot of these vines. Or did.
Laura Nase, Herman's wife, gave birth to nineteen children, many dying in the first year or two. I think they ended up with thirteen surviving childhood. Herman worked in a cigar factory so any way to add to the income was probably welcome.
I never met either of these grandparents who were very much country people. Whereas my mother's family were very much city people.
I think it was probably not uncommon to sell salves like this at country fairs and stores. I wonder if it's still around. Any entrepreneurs in your family? Anyone ever seen a balsam apple?