It grew abundantly in the Fertile Crescent and it was so productive (an average date palm produces 50 kg (100 lbs) of fruit a year for 60 years or more) that dates were the cheapest of staple foods.
Dried fruit is fruit from which the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators.
Dried fruit has a long tradition of use dating back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and is prized because of its sweet taste, nutritive value These are referred to as "conventional" or "traditional" dried fruits: fruits that have been dried in the sun or in heated wind tunnel dryers.
Many fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and mango are infused with a sweetener (e.g. Some products sold as dried fruit, like papaya, kiwi fruit and pineapple are most often candied fruit.
Dried fruits retain most of the nutritional value of fresh fruits Traditional dried fruit such as raisins, figs, dates, apricots and apples have been a staple of South African diets for millennia.
This is due partly to their early cultivation in the Middle Eastern region known as the Fertile Crescent, made up by parts of modern Iraq, Iran and Syria, southwest Turkey and northern Egypt.
Drying or dehydration also happened to be the earliest form of food preservation: grapes, dates and figs that fell from the tree or vine would dry in the hot sun.Early hunter-gatherers observed that these fallen fruit took on an edible form, and valued them for their stability as well as their concentrated sweetness.The earliest recorded mention of dried fruits can be found in Mesopotamian tablets dating to about 1700 BC, which contain what are probably the oldest known written recipes.These clay slabs, written in Akkadian, the daily language of Babylonia, were inscribed in cuneiform and tell of diets based on grains (barley, millet, wheat), vegetables and fruits such as dates, figs, apples, pomegranates, and grapes.These early civilizations used dates, date juice evaporated into syrup and raisins as sweeteners.They included dried fruits in their breads for which they had more than 300 recipes, from simple barley bread for the workers to very elaborate, spiced cakes with honey for the palaces and temples.