Raisins can add a fruity complexity to many savory dishes, so don’t consign these gems to the occasional snack. Consider ways to use raisins with cooked meats, pastas, and salads.
Tips for preparing raisins
If raisins have been correctly stored and are not dried out, they require no special preparation. However, you may wish to soften them by one of the following methods:
- To plump raisins for baking, cover them with hot liquid and let stand for 5 minutes. Or, let them soak overnight in the refrigerator. To conserve nutrients and flavor, use the least amount of liquid possible and then include the liquid in your recipe.
- If raisins have dried out through improper storage, steam them over boiling water for 5 minutes. Or, sprinkle them with liquid, cover, and microwave for 1 minute, then let stand, covered, for 1 minute longer.
- Raisins that are stuck together in a hard clump will loosen up and separate if they are heated in a 300° oven for a few minutes.
When chopping raisins with a knife or chopper, coat the blade lightly with vegetable oil to keep the fruit from sticking to it. For easy grinding, freeze the raisins first, then use vegetable oil to coat the blades of your blender or food processor. When baking with raisins, dredge them in flour before adding them to batter to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
8 recipe ideas for raisins
- Add raisins to sautéed spinach.
- Make a pasta dish with golden raisins, goat cheese, and chopped greens.
- Add raisins and pine nuts to a meatball mixture.
- Add raisins to a spicy cole slaw or salad.
- Make your own trail mix by combining raisins with toasted almonds and sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Threw in a few chocolate chips if you like.
- Soften raisins in fruit juice and puree to make a raisin butter. Use as a sandwich spread or in batter for baked cookies, cake, or sweet bread.
- Add raisins to chicken salads, such as a curried chicken salad spread.
- Add raisins to poultry stuffings.