Cathy Isom tells us why the holiday celebration continues with a nutty and fruity tradition. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Sure it’s a couple days after Christmas, but that won’t stop fruitcake lovers young and old from keeping things going by observing National Fruitcake Day today. This annual holiday treat usually comes in the mail from our friends and relatives and is made with chopped candied or dried fruit nuts and spices and sometimes soaked in “spirits.” Rome is believed to be the creator of fruitcake and one of the earliest recipes known comes from ancient Rome listing pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Records indicate that in the Middle Ages, honey, spices and preserved fruits were added. Recipes for fruitcake vary from country to country depending on available ingredients and tradition. A typical 1 ounce piece will cost you about 92 calories. And the shelf life, well depending on how its made anyway, is believed to last decades.
Although fruit cakes are certainly a delicious treat to enjoy around the holidays, they are quite possibly the most popular item for re-gifting. A whopping 38% of people say they give fruitcakes away when they receive them!
Nevertheless, fruitcakes have remained popular for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with fruitcakes because they believed this particular food was essential for the journey to the afterlife. The Crusaders were known for eating fruitcakes during their campaigns. The small cakes could withstand long journeys without spoiling and were full of nutritious items like dried fruits and nuts.