Raisins and Bananas

Raisins and Bananas on plate

Bananas are tasty, convenient, and inexpensive. They are also a very healthy fruit with fiber and protein, and potassium and other nutrients. However, they can also be boring. So when I saw a recipe for Raisins and Bananas in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

The bananas are baked with raisins in a light sugar syrup. The Raisins and Bananas were tasty, and would make a lovely fruit dessert or snack (or could be served at breakfast of another meal).

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Raisins and Bananas
Source: Cement City Cook Book (Published by First Baptist Church, Alpena, MI, 1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Raisins and Bananas

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup raisins

6 bananas

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put sugar, water, and raisins in a saucepan; stir. Using medium heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool until lukewarm.

In the meantime, peel bananas and remove any stringy fibers. If desired cut the bananas in half. Arrange in a baking dish, then pour the raisins and syrup over the bananas. Put in oven and bake until the syrup is hot and bubbly, and the bananas tender. Remove from oven. May be served either hot or cold.


Old-fashioned Raisin and Rhubarb Pie

When I saw a recipe for Raisin and Rhubarb Pie in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Raisins and rhubarb, rhubarb and raisins. . .  I knew that the alliteration was what drew me to the recipe . . .but, I kept thinking, what does this recipe taste like? Would I like it?

So before I knew it,  I was making a Raisin and Rhubarb Pie.  I was rewarded with a lovely taste sensation. The sweetness of the raisins perfectly balanced the zesty rhubarb to create a scrupulous old-fashioned pie.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Raisin and Rhubarb Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flour

pastry for 8-inch (small) 2-crust pie



Heat oven to 425° F.  In a bowl put egg, sugar, salt, and flour; stir until mixed together. Add raisins and rhubarb, stir gently to combine. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust and flute edges. Brush crust with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350° F. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juice just begins to bubble.

1915 Sun-Maid Raisin Ad

Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1915)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1915)

Raisins were used in many holiday recipes a hundred years ago. They were popular because “modern” technology enabled them to be produced inexpensively.  And, once produced, they were easy to transport to even the most remote locales.

People had more raisin choices back then: seeded (seeds extracted), seedless (made from seedless grapes), and cluster (on stems, not seeded).  Why would anyone would want the cluster variety?  Did people remove the seeds and stem them after they purchased the package? It must have been a real pain to get them into a form where they could actually be used.