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April 26: National Pretzel Day

4 min read

Originally written on April 26, 2022 – Updated 2023

Warm, soft, and delicious…take this excuse to visit a pretzel stand or a shop and try a classic pretzel, or something variant, like cinnamon or covered in cheese. National Pretzel Day on April 26th recognizes one of America’s favorite snacks. And not only.
A bag of nice crunchy, salty pretzels or a big, warm, soft, cinnamon pretzel is the question of the day.
But either one is an excellent choice.

Most people would agree that there is something extra special about a pretzel.
If at first, it might seem like an average snack made of bread dough, it is actually so much more than that.
But there are those who prefer the crunch of the kind of pretzels that can be purchased in a bag at the store, crunchy little, salty snacks that can be an amazing addition to any snack mix.
Whatever the personal preference is, National Pretzel Day exemplifies this delicious treat in all of its forms.
So grab your favorite variety, sit back and munch down one of the most delightful of snack-based days!

Like all food-related holidays, starting with a little history of where it came from is a great way to get to know the background of the day.
On of the most popular story of the pretzel is particularly fun, especially as it shares a theme with beloved sugar canes, which is another well-known favorite! Not by chance, Candy Cane Pretzels, dusted with crushed candy canes–instead of salt–and glazed with frosting, are a great wintertime treat.
According to the legend, at some time during the Middle Ages, Catholic Monks were trying to figure out what to do with little bits of dough they had that were leftover after baking their loaves of bread, as they didn’t want to be wasteful. So, clever as they were, they came up with what is now known as the pretzel. The method included folding the dough into the shape of praying hands, or a knot that represented the Holy Trinity, depending on who happens to be telling the story at the moment.

Another source puts the invention in a monastery in southern France, while the looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek Ring bread from the communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago.
In the Catholic Church, pretzels had a religious significance for both ingredients and shape, as the loops in pretzels may have served a practical purpose. Bakers could in fact hang them on sticks, projecting upwards from a central column.

In any case, since that time, the pretzel has evolved into a much-loved treat that has seen many uses and varieties.
Some of the more popular ones include representing marriage, where the term ‘tying the knot’ came into prominence, and also into modern-day as a popular addition to concession stands at carnivals and events of all kinds.

The origin of the hard pretzel, on the other hand, is a little bit more recent and is among the ranks of other great accidental discoveries like the potato chip. Apparently, when a pretzel is left in the oven for a longer period of time, it will bake into a crisp and crunchy sort of deliciousness. As story goes, when this happened, a baker was so pleasantly surprised with the result that he took the time to perfect the recipe. Now these crispy little treats are an extremely popular snack!
Inspired and delicious, National Pretzel Day comes as the celebration of all things related to this delectable snack!

About USA, today the average Philadelphian consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average, while Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both hard and soft pretzels, producing 80% of the nation’s pretzels.

How to celebrate?
All easy…for example you can grab a free or discounted pretzel. In celebration of this important event, many companies and stores celebrate this holiday by offering free or discounted pretzels to their customers. After all, sometimes the best way to get someone started on a delicious and addictive snack is to give them the first one free.
But you can also learn how to make your pretzels at home!
For those who may be feeling particularly adventurous, it’s always an option to try make it, and you can use one of the hundreds of recipes that can be found online. For an easier time of it, some grocery stores sell the large version of frozen pretzels that can be baked in the oven at home and then served warm.
And don’t forget to keep it more interesting by testing out a variety of sauces for dipping your pretzels.
Try out something like cheese, chocolate, caramel, honey mustard, marinara sauce, cream cheese or even fruit sauces.
It only makes sense to spend National Pretzel Day buying up whatever is the favorite variety of pretzel and enjoying it as a snack.
However you do it, National Pretzel Day is a great time to celebrate this treat together with its history!

Images from web – Google Research

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