The Short History Of Dried Fruit- When Did Man Begin Drying Fruit And Why?
For millennia, dried apricots, dates, figs, and raisins have been the staple of people in the Mediterranean. Early hunter-gatherers collected sun-dried fallen figs and dates and naturally preserved fruits were valued for their concentrated nutrients and sweetness. Mesopotamian tablets dated to about 1500 BC mention the written recipes for making dried fruits as early civilizations in Middle East used raisins and date syrup as sweeteners. Ancient recipes mentioned the use of dried fruits as flavourings for breads. Date palms were among the first cultivated trees and probably domesticated in Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago. They grew abundantly in a region called the Fertile Crescent, which is consisted of the banks of the Euphrates, Tigris and Nile rivers, and Palestine.
Dried Figs And Other Fruits Found In Egyptian Tombs
Dried figs were prized by ancient civilisations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine. The consumption of figs was probably at a similar level to that of dates. Depictions of dried figs have been found in wall paintings and Egyptian tombs, and in Crete and Greece, figs were the staple of both rich and poor. During the era of Roman Empire, dried figs were also extremely popular, especially as a winter food. Dried figs would be mixed with toasted sesame, fennel seeds, anise, and cumin, and spiced dried figs were wrapped in fig leaves and then stored.
Other Dried Fruits For Production
Peaches, apricots, and plums were dried as well and they had their origins in Asia. These fruits were first domesticated in China around 3000 BC and spread to the Fertile Crescent region. Dried and preserved fruits were also used in Europe during the medieval era. Since honey was expensive, it was common to use dried fruits for baked products. Today, dried fruits are sun-dried, tray-dried, vacuum microwave-dried and freeze-dried. They continue to become a convenient source of nutrients, dietary fibres and energy.
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