Each year on February 14 many people, be it the yuppie young, the hopelessly romantic or, for that matter, maybe even you and me, exchange cards messages, roses, chocolates or gifts with someone special. Red is usually the predominant color of the day.

History

Valentine Day, also called the feast of Saint Valentine, is a time when people show feelings of love, affection, and friendship and most people who celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day show it by appreciating the people they love or adore. Some take their loved ones for a special romantic dinner at a restaurant, whilst others slog it out to cook a special meal at home, taking care to set the mood right with flowers, candles, scented aromatic oils, champagne or wine and chocolates.

Valentine Chocolates

By Stewart Butterfield (Flickr: Valentines Chocolates) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The most common gifts all over the world on Valentine’s Day are heart-shaped chocolate boxes and red roses. In Finland, Valentine’s Day refers to “Friend’s Day”, which is more about remembering friends rather than focusing solely on romance.

Valentine Day postcard vintage

Valentine Day postcard vintage
Image credit- http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

Even though Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday in most countries, including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States, most restaurants, hotels, bakeries, malls and patisseries are busy and make a fast buck doing rip-roaring business on this day. That goes to show how popular this day is and has grown to the extent that the number of Valentine’s cards sent worldwide is second only in volume to Christmas cards.

Symbols like hearts, almost anything that is red or pink, images and statues of Cupid, red velvet cupcakes, strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are the most gifted things on Valentine’s Day.

The association of chocolates with passion, which goes as far back as Aztecs, who believed chocolate to be aphrodisiac with magical properties, makes for an ideal gift. Maybe this year you could try to be unique and be different.

Prune it down

Try to be original and maybe order some prune covered in chocolate, which is a traditional confectionary from Eastern Europe- or bake a chocolate and prune cake for your special Valentine.

Chocolate coated dried plums for Valentine

Chocolate coated Dried Plums
By Off-shell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Prunes– the very word somehow does not sound romantic but maybe what it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for being an extremely versatile and devilishly delicious ingredient to work with.

But the mere mention of the fruit prunes and one’s imagination conjures up thoughts of constipation relief making you wonder if prunes and Valentine’s Day should be mentioned in the same sentence. Well, you are not alone in thinking so if you are not a fan of prunes.

In fact, women from the ages of 25 and 54 reacted so negatively to the idea of prunes that the California prune board pressured the Food and Drug Administration to change their name from prunes to the more appealing ‘dried plums’, which they actually are, and it did work.

Sales of this super-healthy purple fruit suddenly shot up. Prunes or rather ‘dried plums’ have been sold as a popular digestive remedy for decades but see the larger picture and think of prunes beyond your digestive tract. The fact that they offer a sweet hit for only 30 calories – wow, I am sure some of you already like this dried fruit after hearing that.

Prunes are a great source of Vitamin A, a vitamin that is essential for healthy vision. One prune delivers 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. People who are deficient in Vitamin A are prone to night blindness, dry eyes, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

Prunes are also a powerhouse for antioxidants. Blueberries may be high on the antioxidant scale, but surprisingly prunes are even higher. Prunes contain manganese, iron and plant phenolics that function as anti-oxidants and help protect the cell membrane from radical damage.

Prunes are also high in potassium, an important mineral that ensures proper functioning of the heart and nerve response throughout the body.

Daily intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of problems such as dizziness, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

The potassium present in prunes also helps support bone health. Prunes also have anti-inflammatory properties and are highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis.

This humble fruit also helps slow down the aging process and delays development of wrinkles. Ladies, now that you have read the last nine maybe prunes and the person you adore do go together!

red rose valentine day

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO YOU ALL

So stop thinking what you would like to get for your Valentine and just follow the recipe and start cooking.

 

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