National Ambrosia Day – December 12, 2021

National Ambrosia Day is celebrated every year on December 12. The day celebrates a Greek mythological food, “ambrosia”, also known as the “food of the gods”. The Greeks believed that anyone who consumed ambrosia would become immortal. Today, ambrosia is usually served as a dessert or a side dish. Ambrosia is a creamy fruit salad that can be made with any fruits of your choice. While ambrosia rarely features on anyone’s regular diet, it is enjoyed on special occasions and thankfully, it’s healthy too! National Ambrosia Day is a day of celebration for every foodie, and especially those who thrive on healthy treats.

History of National Ambrosia Day

The recipe for ambrosia can be traced back to cookbooks of the late 1800s. This was also the time when citrus fruits were easily available to all. The recipe was very simple. It was prepared with orange slices and coconut coated with sugar. It was served in a glass bowl. In America, ambrosia can be traced back to the 19th century when it was very popular with the Southern Americans. However, the dish did not appear in print in recipes until 1932.

In recent times, ambrosia is made using pineapples, oranges, or mandarin oranges, and coated with sugar and coconut. Some even add marshmallows and jelly beans to pack a punch. It’s also quite common to find pecans and other nuts in ambrosia. The creamy texture can be attained using yogurt, sour cream, and whipped cream. The salad is then refrigerated for a couple of hours or overnight to give it a perfect texture. However, traditional ambrosia is made with freshly cut fruits and served right away. Some traditional recipes in the south may also include bananas, cherries, raisins and nuts, and grapefruits. Even though ambrosia is a simple dish, it is heavy with cream, which creates confusion about whether it should be served as a dessert or a side dish. It is packed with vitamin C and the recipe can be adapted to suit any taste.

National Ambrosia Day timeline

1200 B.C.
Earliest Citrus Fruits

The earliest citrus fruit seeds are recovered from Cyprus, which has a reputation for excellent oranges.

310 B.C.
First Writings about Citrons

The earliest complete description of the citron is attested from Theophrastus.

Early 19th Century
Modern Marshmallows

Confectioners in France pioneer the recipe for the modern marshmallows, which is a part of ambrosia if so desired.

1861
Jellybeans Soldiering On

Boston confectioner William Schrafft sends his jelly beans to soldiers during the American Civil War.

National Ambrosia Day FAQs

Why is it called Ambrosia?

The word means ‘delicious’ or ‘fragrant’. The gods on Mount Olympus ate ambrosia to maintain immortality and without it, they became weak. 

Why is ambrosia salad so popular in the South?

For many Southerners, ambrosia salad is a dish often associated with holiday potlucks or aunts and grandmothers. It occasionally gets a bad rap, alongside fruitcake, but when prepared correctly it can be light and delicious.

What does ambrosia mean in Greek?

Ambrosia literally means “immortality” in Greek; it is derived from the Greek word ‘ambrotos’ (‘immortal’), which combines the prefix a- (meaning ‘not) with ‘mbrotos’ (‘mortal’).

How To Celebrate National Ambrosia Day

  1. Make ambrosia today

    Celebrate National Ambrosia Day by making the dessert. Add your favorite fruits, some coconut sugar cream, and a dash of sour cream, and you are good to go.

  2. Create your version of ambrosia

    On National Ambrosia Day, create your own version of the mythical dessert. Experiment with different ingredients and share your unique version on social media and with your friends.

  3. Study the history of citrus fruit and its local growth

    Take family and friends to a local citrus farm and learn more about this delicious bounty. You could even suggest that they host a National Ambrosia Day event to bring about more awareness for this treat.

5 Facts About Oranges That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Christopher Columbus did more than discover America

    Christopher Columbus introduced citrus on the island of Haiti in 1493 — the sour orange, the sweet orange, citron, lemon, lime, and pomelo were introduced.

  2. Americans love OJ

    In 2018, Americans consumed just under six gallons of juice each.

  3. Oranges are diverse

    There are over 600 varieties of oranges in the world.

  4. Citrus fruits relieve stress

    The citrus peel contains an essential oil called linalool, which helps relieve stress.

  5. Orange juice and peel are cat repellents

    Cats hate the smell of citrus, so placing orange peel and pulp in areas where they should not go, keeps them away.

Why We Love National Ambrosia Day

  1. A day to experiment

    The version of ambrosia that we eat today is very different from the original one. The day encourages us to experiment with the recipe and come up with our unique versions.

  2. It could become your new favorite dish

    Ambrosia is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a dessert or a side dish. Pair it up with your meals however you like it.

  3. Celebrates its unique origins

    Unlike most of the food that we eat, ambrosia has its roots in Greek mythology. Known as “the food of gods”, it’s not surprising how humans thought ambrosia could make you immortal, just with the great flavors!

National Ambrosia Day dates

YearDateDay
2021December 12Sunday
2022December 12Monday
2023December 12Tuesday
2024December 12Thursday
2025December 12Friday

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