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It is probably one of the most questionable gifts you get during this holiday season. Made with chopped candied or dried fruit, nuts and spices and sometimes soaked in “spirits,” fruitcake has been a holiday gift-giving tradition for many years. Some folks can’t deal with the Christmas season without it; some would rather never have a fruitcake enter their home. No matter how you look at it, on December 27th of each year, Americans across the country have the patriotic duty observe National Fruitcake Day. How did we inherit such a polarizing holiday delicacy?

Rome is believed to be the creator of fruitcake, as one of the earliest recipes known dates as far back as ancient Rome. This original recipe included pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins mixed into barley mash. Records indicate that in the Middle Ages it changed slightly to include honey, spices, and preserved fruit, but it seems every country has their own take on the original recipe.

Sugar from the original American colonies, along with the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits, created an excess of candied fruit. Because of this large surplus, fruitcakes were now more affordable and much more popular in the 16th century.

Here are a few fun facts about our beloved holiday dessert:

  • Typically, American fruitcakes are rich in fruits and nuts.
  • In America, mail-order fruitcake began in 1913.
  • Commercial fruitcakes are often sold, from catalogs, by charities as a fundraising event.
  • In 1935, the expression “nutty as a fruitcake” was coined during the time Southern bakeries, Collin Street and Claxton, had access to cheap nuts.
  • Most mass-produced fruitcakes in America are alcohol-free.
  • Some traditional recipes include liqueurs or brandy and then complete the fruitcake by covering it with powdered sugar.
  • Brandy soaked linens have been used to store fruitcakes as some people believe that they improve with age.

Fruitcake is always going to remain a holiday tradition, whether you like it or not. But it is important to remember that it is an extremely sweet dessert, so make sure you are well-aware of your intake. Once the thrill is gone and you’ve had your fill of fruitcake for the day, give your smile a good brushing. The holidays are a fun time to celebrate with friends and family, but don’t let the fun get in the way of your oral health. Brush, floss and rinse twice a day, and make sure to contact your dentist for a check-up once the holidays are over. It’s important to stay on top of your oral hygiene, even during this giving time of year.

If you would like more information regarding oral hygiene during the holiday season, contact Berry Hill Dentistry at 516-921-1717 today. Or visit our website at  www.berryhilldentistrypc.com for additional information.