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In 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter Became The First Person To Eat Raisins In Space. (Video)

April 30 recognizes another food holiday known as National Raisin Day. Raisins are tiny sundried grapes.  While sunlight dries most grapes naturally in vineyards, some are mechanically dehydrated. People have been enjoying raisins for as long as grapes have been growing. Raisins are naturally low in fat and contain healthy nutrients.  California produces the majority of the world’s raisin supply.

  • Did you know that raisins were discovered by accident? Historians say that the first raisins were discovered back in 2000 BC when some grapes were accidentally left to dry in the sun.
  • It takes more than 4 tons of grapes to produce 1 ton of raisins.
  • The finest raisins come from Malaga in Spain.
  • Raisin – comes from the Latin racemus and means “a cluster of grapes or berries”.
  • Fresno, California is the Raisin Capital of the World.
  • History books note that raisins were sun-dried from grapes as long ago as 1490 B.C. But several hundred years passed before it was determined which grape variety would make the best raisin.
  • Half of the world’s supply of raisins are grown in California.
  • In 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter becomes the first person to eat raisins in space.
  • California discovered the commercial potential of raisins quite by accident. In 1873, a freak hot spell withered the grapes on the vine. One enterprising San Francisco grocer advertised these shriveled grapes as “Peruvian Delicacies” and the rest is history. California is now the world’s leading producer of raisins.
  • Golden raisins are made by treating the raisins with a lye solution, sometimes with lye and then burning sulfur, and sometimes with sulfur dioxide.
  • Raisins can contain up to 72% sugars, which is mostly fructose and glucose.
  • Eating raisins three times a day has been proven by the American College of Cardiology to lower blood pressure.
  • A 43 gram serving of raisins contains around 129 calories. Since they are high in calories, it is recommended that in a day, you should eat ¼ cup of raisins or 1 small snack box (one and a half oz.)
  •  In the 14th century, raisins became an important part of European cuisine. Spaniards perfected viticulture, or grape growing, and Roman physicians prescribed raisins to cure anything from mushroom poisoning to old age.
  • In 1876, Scottish immigrant William Thompson grew a seedless grape variety that was thin-skinned, seedless, sweet and tasty. Today, 95% of California raisins are made from Thompson seedless grapes.
  • Ancient physicians designated raisins as medicines that could cure everything from mushroom poisoning to old age.
  • Early Romans and Greeks ornamented places of worship with raisins, and they were awarded as rewards in sporting events.
  • Hannibal provided his army with raisins when they famously crossed the Alps using elephants.
  • They were a staple at George Washington’s dinner table at Mount Vernon.
  • The first professional baseball team in Fresno, California, was formed in 1908 and received the nickname the “Raisin Eaters”.
  • The California Dancing Raisin was introduced in 1984 by the California Raisin Industry marketing staff to increase awareness and demand for California raisins.
  • Stepping in to sing along to “Heard It Through the Grapevine” was none other than musician Buddy Miles, who played and recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana previously.
  • According to their CBS musical short, Meet the Raisins!, these raisins do have names. AC, Beebop, Red, and Stretch (who replaced Zoot) with their manager Rudy Bagaman. But officially? The public named three California Dancing Raisins in a contest with the winning names including Ben Indasun, Justin X. Grape, and Tiny Goodbite.
  • They also have four LP albums.  Sweet, Delicious and MarvelousMeet the RaisinsChristmas with the California Raisins, and the California Raisins Sing the Hit Songs. All featuring covers of existing chart toppers, of course.
  • Ray Charles and Michael Jackson were immortalized as Celebrity Raisins.


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