On National Raisin Day on April 30 we celebrate to America’s favorite sun-soaked snack. When it comes to raisins, there are generally two groups of people, those that love them and those that believe they ruin a perfectly good cinnamon bagel. But whether you find these wrinkly fruits irresistible or believe they should have stayed out in the sun where people found them, it’s hard to deny the impact these sweet snacks have had on history, pop culture, and cuisine. Raisins show up throughout history and literature as a hardy, transportable snack for everyone from the Egyptians to Christopher Columbus to George Washington. And of course, those little red raisin boxes are a classic symbol of childhood.
National Raisin Day Activities
1. Eat sweets for every meal
Adding raisins to a meal can satisfy your sweet tooth all day long. For breakfast, why not some cinnamon rolls topped with raisins? For lunch, make a nice Waldorf Salad and sub out those grapes for a few of the sun-dried variety. Finally, why not top dinner off with a little bit of bread pudding?
2. Make your own raisins
Making raisins is extremely easy and virtually everything required is already provided for you by nature. All you need are some grapes from the local grocer and sunny, dry weather. First, get red or green grapes and remove the large stems from the fruit. Next, place the grapes on a rack and leave them out in the sun for 2-3 days. Finally, place the shriveled grapes in an airtight container and you have a namesake snack to celebrate National Raisin Day with!
3. Enjoy an Emmy-nominated Claymation classic
In 1988, Meet the Raisins! told the story of everyone’s favorite sun-soaked super group, The California Raisins. The half-hour special was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1989. What better way to celebrate the fruit than by getting down with its musical mascots? Afterward, why not make it a full on Rais-a-Thon following it up with Raisins: Sold Out!, the sequel to Meet the Raisins!, and the animated series, The California Raisins Show. Don’t forget the Raisinets!
Why We Love National Raisin Day
A. Raisins are nature’s nutritious candy
Raisins are basically nature’s jellybeans. Raisins can be up to 72% sugar by weight, making them a sweet and satisfying snack. But unlike jelly beans, raisins are chock full of nutrients as well. They are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, are an excellent source of fiber, and contain no cholesterol.
B. Some foods just aren’t complete without raisins
Raisins and oatmeal cookies are one of the culinary world’s great pairings, like peanut butter and jelly or spaghetti and meatballs. But oatmeal cookies are just one of the many treats that are made spectacular by raisins. Some other fan favorites: rugelach, cinnamon raisin bread, rum raisin ice cream, trail mix, and of course, chocolate covered raisins.
C. Raisins are an American treasure
Over half of the world’s raisins come from California. Although Napa is known worldwide for their wine producing grapes, the Golden State’s raisin capital is actually the town of Selma, located in Fresno, California. Selma and the surrounding area around Fresno produce over 350,000 tons of raisins annually.