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. We’re celebrating National Raisin Day on April 30.
Raisins show up throughout history and literature as a healthy, 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 timeline
Raisins are produced by the Ancient Egyptians.
Spanish missionaries bring grapes to the United States, setting up vineyards.
When it is discovered that producing raisins will make higher profits, the raisin industry is born.
The popularity of trail mix skyrockets with the addition of chocolate-covered raisins.
National Raisin Day Activities
Eat sweets for every meal
For breakfast, why not some cinnamon rolls topped with raisins? For lunch, make a nice Waldorf salad and swap out those grapes for a few of the sun-dried variety. Finally, why not top dinner off with a little bit of bread pudding?
Make your own
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 a few days. Finally, place the shriveled grapes in an airtight container and you have a namesake snack!
Watch "Meet the Raisins" (1998)
The half-hour special got a Primetime Emmy Award nod for Outstanding Animated Program. Afterward, why not make it a full on Rais-a-Thon following it up with the sequel — "Raisins: Sold Out!" Don’t forget the Raisinets!
Why We Love National Raisin Day
Perhaps. Raisins can be up to 72% sugar by weight, making them a sweet and satisfying snack. But unlike jellybeans, raisins are have some nutritional value. They boast cancer-fighting antioxidants, provide an excellent source of fiber, and contain no cholesterol.
Raisins complete things
Raisins and oatmeal cookies are one of the culinary world’s great pairings, but it's just one of many. The most obvious? Cereal, of course — as long as it's not too sweetened already. Some other fan favorites: rugelach, cinnamon raisin bread, rum raisin ice cream and trail mix.
Welcome to Selma
Over half of the world’s raisins come from California. Although Napa is known worldwide for its wine-producing grapes, the Golden State’s raisin capital is actually the city of Selma— just southeast of Fresno. This area produces over 350,000 tons of raisins annually.
National Raisin Day dates