About Raisins


To make raisins, grapes are harvested by hand and arranged on rows of clean paper trays next to the vines, where they will dry naturally in the sun for about 2-3 weeks. Thompson seedless grapes are usually used to make raisins. These are called seedless raisins and can be golden or dark purple-brown. Golden raisins are generally plumper and moister than dark raisins. There are also some exquisite seeded raisins such as Muscat and Malaga. If you are fortunate enough to find richly flavored Malaga raisins from Spain, which are dried by the bunch, enjoy the crunchy seeds rather than trying to seed them.

Keep raisins tightly sealed at room temperature up to 4 months, or refrigerated or frozen up to 1 year. To re-plump raisins, pour boiling water over the raisins in a bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Or place them in a microwaveable dish and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons water per cup of raisins. Cover with plastic wrap, prick the plastic in a few spots for ventilation, and microwave on high power 30 to 45 seconds. Let stand and covered for 1 to 2 minutes. You can also soak raisins in flavored liquids such as liquor, liqueur, or fruit juice overnight or longer. Use a liquid that complements the flavors in your recipe.

To un-stick those raisins that have clumped together, run them under hot water in a sieve. Pat dry if necessary. Or microwave them on medium power for 40 to 60 seconds, checking every 10 seconds. To chop sticky raisins, coat your knife blade with nonstick cooking spray. Freezing raisins to keep them from sticking to the knife and cutting board during chopping. This will help to save on chopping time. Better yet, replace any chopped raisins in your recipe with an equal amount of dried currants, which taste and look like raisins but are much smaller and require no chopping.

Raisins contain nonheme iron, which is a more difficult form of iron for the body to absorb. For maximum iron absorption, pair raisins with a food that's high in vitamin C, such as citrus, berries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cabbage or peppers.

Fascinating Fact : A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top and down again.

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