Interesting Facts about Raisins
Did you know that raisins were discovered by accident? Historians say that the first raisins were discovered back in 2000 BC when some grapes were accidentally left to dry in the sun. ever since then, people have popularized the use of grapes as its raisin form.
And now raisins have become one of our most popular snacks and ingredient, so we should appreciate that precious accident, right?
Here I gathered some fun facts about Raisins that I thought you might enjoy:
The History of Raisins
The word “Raisin” comes from the Latin word “Racemose”, a loanword from old French which means a cluster of grapes or berries. Wall paintings from ancient times show that dried fruits were eaten and used as decoration in the Mediterranean parts of Europe, Persia and Egypt. The ancient Armenians and Phoenicians took the first steps in developing viticulture, the process of grape growing and collection.
They began pioneering vineyards in the areas of Spain and Greece. About this same time, the Armenians established their vineyards in Persia (Iran, Turkey, Iraq). These lavish growing areas had the ideal climate for making raisins and were also close to Rome Greece, the first markets for raisins.
In the 11th Century, knights returning from the crusades brought raisins back to Europe with them. They had discovered it during their travels through the Mediterranean and Persia. When the knights came back home and began to crave raisins, a huge rush was created. Fortunately, packing and shipping systems had developed enough for raisins to be sent all over Northern Europe.
In the 18th century, The Queen of Spain, Isabella sent ministers to Mexico to teach natives about religion. While they were lecturing and teaching, ministers also passed on their knowledge of viticulture. They used grapes for sacramental wines and also planted Muscat grapes for raisins.
Fun Facts about Raisins
- Ancient physicians designated raisins as medicines that could cure everything from mushroom poisoning to old age.
- Emperor Augustus feasted on small birds filled with raisins.
- They say Hannibal had raisins in his troops’ rations when he passed the Alps.
- Dried grapes are even mentioned in the Bible (Numbers 6:3) throughout the time of Moses. David (Israel’s future king) was granted with “a hundred clusters of raisins,” apparently sometime during the period 1110–1070 BC.
- Early Romans and Greeks ornamented places of worship with raisins, and they were awarded as rewards in sporting events.
- English immigrant William Thompson developed a seedless grape variety that was thin-skinned, seedless, sweet and tasty which is named after him.
- California discovered the marketing potential of raisins by accident. In 1873, a super-hot season withered the grapes on the vines, and one enterprising grocer sold these dried grapes as “Peruvian Delicacies” which is what drew so much attention.
- It needs more than 4 tons of grapes to provide 1 ton of raisins.
- Raisin colors depend on the drying process. For instance, a purplish/black raisin is sun-dried. The light to average brown raisin is mechanically dehydrated in specific drying tunnels. A golden to rich yellow raisin is mechanically dried and treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve color, and a green raisin is drained by air in adobe houses.
- Langston Hughes, The American poet, has a beautiful poem that used raisin in the sun as a symbol to being in pain:
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”
That’s it guys.
What do you think? Check our other blogs about raisins to get more information about different types of raisins, what are raisins and what do they taste like.