In the primitive era, when humans lived by hunting and gathering, they accidentally discovered that fruits left in the sun for a long time would dry out but still be edible and tasty. After that, they started to dry the fruits they picked, which allowed them to store them for a long time without spoilage, providing enough food for the winter. Later, when Western traders and explorers passed through these tribes, they found this method very useful and spread it to the places they went.
As time went on, the process of drying fruit became more sophisticated. In the 19th century, for example, new technologies were developed that allowed for the mass production of dried fruit.
The first large-scale drying operation was established in California, where the abundant sunshine and dry climate made it an ideal location for the industry. The dried fruit industry soon became a major part of California’s economy, and the state remains one of the largest producers of dried fruit in the world today.
Despite the advances in technology, however, the traditional method of heat-drying is still the most common way of producing dried fruit. This involves exposing the fruit to heat until most of the water content is removed, leaving behind a concentrated source of nutrients and flavor. This method is still preferred by many because it preserves the natural flavor of the fruit and does not require the use of any artificial additives.
So, next time you reach for a bag of delicious dried fruit, take a moment to appreciate the long and fascinating history behind this ancient food preservation technique. From the Egyptians to the Native Americans to modern-day California, the practice of drying fruit has a rich and varied legacy that continues to this day.