Dried in the warm California sunshine with no added sugar, California Raisins add flavour, texture and colour to a wide variety of products. Learn how to create innovative recipes using California raisins and get the most from this versatile ingredient.
1. It’s all about conditioning
Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, owner of Knead-to-Know consulting and a chef consultant for California Raisins, always encourages clients to condition their raisins before use.
“We recommend submerging them for 30 seconds in room-temperature water before straining,” he says. “Then, don’t dry them off — let the water on the outside sit for 30 minutes or up to two hours. This will help them absorb some moisture. When you add moisture to the raisins before using them in baking, it will prevent them from pulling moisture from the dough.”
An equally important tip is to not over-soak raisins, either, as they may break down when being mixed into your dish.
2. Don’t be afraid to heat things up
Raisins contain 2.2 per cent tartaric acid, making them a natural flavour enhancer. This makes sense when we consider how they brighten up our favourite classic bakes, but they are equally useful in spicy, savoury dishes.
“We’re doing a lot of savoury dishes right now,” Tenbergen says. “For example, we’re making pizza sauce with tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and add the sweetness of raisins to create a nice balance.”
3. For savoury dishes, think outside the box
Global cuisines have been incorporating raisins into savoury dishes for millennia. For foodservice providers looking to add some flair to tired menus, adding California Raisins to globally-inspired dishes — such as beef empanadas, a Moroccan tagine or a mild coconut curry — will add an entirely new layer to dishes already widely enjoyed by North-American diners.
4. Celebrate classic pairings in a new way
We all love rum-raisin ice cream, but what if we took those flavours and added them to a bread pudding? If you love oatmeal-raisin cookies, why not apple-and-raisin crumble? Take those familiar flavours we all loved as kids and add a new level of sophistication.