Christmas is a time for gift- giving and feasting, which often involve particular fruits. What fruits are associated with Christmas?
Oranges, clementines, and other citrus fruits are commonly found in Christmas stockings. There are several explanations of this tradition: 1). They represent gold (or bags of money) from St. Nicholas that he slipped in hanging stockings of those who needed it. 2). Before being easily found in grocery stores, oranges were a special treat since they were so rare. The bright, sweet fruit was a joy to eat in a cold, dark winter.
Plums, figs, or raisins are one of the key ingredients in figgy pudding or plum pudding. This Christmas dessert made with 13 ingredients represents Christ and the 12 apostles. Traditional figgy pudding was made just before Advent in preparation for Christmas on Stir-up Sunday, in which stirring in an east to west direction commemorated the travels of the Magi.
Apples were used as to decorate trees, particularly during Christmas Eve plays that included the story of Adam and Eve. Apples represented the biblical forbidden fruit. A shortage of apples may have lead to the creation of baubles or glass ornaments to hang on trees instead.
Dried fruit, including oranges, apples, raisins, cherries, and currants is a staple in many Christmas breads. Stollen and fruitcake use dried fruits as a major ingredient. When fruitcake was invented in the Middle Ages, dried fruits and sugar were expensive and were only used in large amounts for special occasions, such as Christmas.