Raisin and Spice Bar day is celebrated each year on April 5th. This baked treat is easy to make and beloved by many people. This treat also allows you to customize it to fit your own personal tastes. If you like nuts you can add nuts, if you like vanilla this is the treat to add vanilla to. Some variations include adding some powdered sugar and icing for some added sweetness. Most people, however, agree that these treats with just raisins and cinnamon are great without any additions. The spices in this dish are a great way to fill your home with welcoming scents as well.
History of Raisins
Researchers have found that raisins were discovered by accident in 2000 BC. Grapes were left on the vine and shriveled in the sun. Ancient people tried these dried fruits and then the raisin was born. The raisin has been featured in wall paintings and has been used as decorations in the Mediterranean areas of Europe. Raisin making started to increase between 120-900 BC. During this time, the Phoenicians started vineyards in the warm climates of Spain and Greece. These growing areas were the perfect climate for making raisins. These locations also were close to where the first ever raisin markets were created in Greece and Rome. Different variations of raisins also began to emerge during these times. From Spain, the muscat raisins were wildly popular and featured oversized seeds and a full fruity flavor. From Greece, the more popular raisin was the currant, which are smaller, seedless, and tangy.
The Greeks and Romans consumed raisins in large quantities. Due to this, the raisin was very popular and the value increased as well. Raisins were given as prizes in athletic competitions, as a currency for trade, and often a cure for ailments such as mushroom poisoning. Despite being so popular, raisins didn't travel much outside of the Mediterranean area. Shipping methods failed to keep the raisins fresh for the longer journeys required of them. In the 11th century this changed with knights returning from the crusades. These knights brought raisins back with them and they became popular in Northern Europe. Shipping methods had improved by then to allow these knights to once again eat their raisins.
By the middle of the 14th century, raisins had become an instrumental part of European cuisine. In 1374, the price of raisins was extremely high and they were valued at two pence and three farthings per pound. To lessen the price, many Englishmen tried to grow their own grapes to make raisins but quickly realized their damp cold climate was not ideal for growing and drying raisins. This love of grapes and raisins spread to the Americas when they were conquered by the Europeans and raisins quickly became globally beloved.
The best way to celebrate this holiday is to make your own raisin and spice bars! Check out the recipe below to get you started.