If you’re like a lot of people, you enjoy snacking on dried fruit. Have you ever stopped to think about how the idea of drying came about? Drying fruit has been around for centuries and is the process of extracting most of the original water content from the fruit. When fresh food was tougher to come by, having dried fruit on hand stood in place of fresh fruit in our diets. The main idea of drying fruit was to help preserve it; dried fruit lasts a lot longer than fresh fruit and is a lot easier to keep on hand. It is sweeter than fresh fruit because the natural sugar content is more concentrated.
Some of the earliest records of dried fruit can be found on clay tablets and in wall paintings dating back as early as 2000-1700 B.C. in Mesopotamia (01). There are multiple mentions of dried figs and raisins in the bible. From there, dried fruit kept making its way out west. Eventually, centuries later, Spanish missionaries introduced California to the ways of grape cultivation in the mid-1800’s and the first main California raisin crop took place (03). To this day, raisins are still the number one consumed dried fruit across the globe and might be the oldest dried fruit known to history with over half of them being produced in Bella Viva Orchards’ neighboring San Joaquin County (03). Dried plums were right alongside the same timeline as raisins, becoming a California staple in the mid-late 1800’s (04). Other popular dried fruits include apples, apricots and berries. By the early 1900’s, the California commercial dried fruit industry was booming (05)!
What Has Changed?
Over the past few decades, the strategies behind drying fruit have changed. Today, various dried fruit methods include sun-drying, freeze-drying and by dehydrator. Depending on which technique is used can determine the outcome of look and flavor of the fruit at hand. Although now we have more access to fresh fruit than ever before, the popularity in dried fruit has been on the rise in recent years. Dried fruit has an incredibly longer shelf life than fresh e.g., a fresh peach might be able to last just about a week on the counter while a dried peach can last roughly a year and still be good! A couple other utilizations for dried fruit are incorporating the dried fruits into countless recipes and having some stocked up in your emergency go-bag. Today at Bella Viva, we offer dozens of different varieties of dried fruit that range all over the palate board from sweet to tangy. From candied pineapple and cantaloupe to organic nectarines and pomegranate arils, you’ll be eating a nutritious snack whether you’re on a hike or lounging around the house. So, no matter where you’re at, make certain to take your favorite choice of our dried fruit with you!