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Cut and Dried

By C.B. Gavant

Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten a dried fruit! Healthy, sweet, and low-prep, dried fruits are favorite snacks in many homes. How do they go from tree or vine to the attractive packages on your supermarket shelves? Let’s find out.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Oldest Dried Fruits

Dried fruit has been around for thousands of years, starting in Mesopotamia and theMiddle East. In the days before refrigeration, canning, and other processing methods, sun-dried fruit was sweeter, edible through the winter, and easier to transport. Since then, dried fruit has been one of the staples of a healthy diet.

Raisins and dates were among the most popular dried fruits in ancient times, with figs, apples, and apricots close behind. The sweet dried fruits were also used to sweeten other foods, and travelers ate them to keep up their energy on long trips. The Romans added raisins to breads and cakes, and dried figs formed a large part of their winter diet.

As foods from the Middle East spread to Europe and later toAmerica, raisins, dried plums (prunes), and dried apples became an integral part of medieval and colonial recipes. In the 1830s,California’s first grapevines were planted; todayCaliforniais the largest producer of dried fruits in the world.

 

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