March 22, 2021

California Raisins: A snackable, whole fruit

Everyone knows raisins from classics like trail mix and oatmeal cookies - but they can do so much more! Find out what makes dried grapes so versatile and why they’re a welcome addition to recipes from around the globe.

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Raisins are dried grapes and make a delicious snack. Dried in the warm sun of the west coast, California Raisins have a natural sweetness to them. The grapes are harvested when ripe and hung to dry until they contain hardly any water. When dried, the grape’s water content is reduced to about 20 percent. 

Originating from the french word “roisin”, the term raisin refers to all dried grapes. There are different varieties of raisins ranging from light to small and dark currants. Another distinction can be made between natural sun-dried varieties, such as the Thompson seedless, and the grape varieties that are dried mechanically, like California Golden Seedless

A Healthy Treat

Dried fruits, like raisins, are often recommended as healthy snack alternatives to candy. A notable value to raisins is that they contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Not only are raisins fat and cholesterol free and low in sodium, but they are also a source of essential nutrients, including potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B. *

Like all dried fruits, raisins contain sugar. However, this sugar is natural fructose and does not enter the bloodstream as quickly, because raisins contain a lot of fiber. Therefore, raisins provide longer-lasting satiety than other sweet snacks and make you less prone to cravings. It may come as a surprise, but this sweet treat actually can be beneficial for our teeth: raisin’s high calcium and phosphorus content may strengthen teeth and bones. **

A Main Ingredient in International Dishes

In California’s central San Joaquin Valley, California raisins are produced by over 2,000 California Raisin growers. About one-third of these raisins are exported to nearly 50 countries worldwide, mainly in Europe and Asia.

Thanks to their sweet taste, raisins are a welcome addition to pastries and sweet dishes. A well-known Austrian delicacy that includes raisins is the tasty Kaiserschmarrn. The lightly sweetened pancake dish can be enjoyed both as a meal or as a dessert. 

Many other countries also have raisins in their treats – whether it’s the French pain aux raisins, the traditional Italian panettone, or a new twist on the Scandinavian cinnamon rolls

Another way raisins can be brought to the table is by adding them to charcuterie boards. Their sweet flavor and soft texture mixes well with crunchy almonds, walnuts, and fresh apples.

Raisins are also found in many meat dishes around the world, like Moroccan lamb recipes, or mixed into rice dishes. The tasty ingredient can be added to traditional recipes, but can also be used to reinvent and spice up dishes, like Spanish Mountain Paella.

Energy booster 

California Raisins are ready to eat. No peeling or chopping required. These fruits are a perfect go-to and can help maintain a healthy diet.  

Nutritionist Elizabeth Ward praises California Raisins too. When USA Today’s Men’s Health magazine asked Ward the question, “what’s the single best fruit you can eat?”, she responded, 

“Raisins. They are full of fiber, potassium and antioxidants. They are also portable, available year round, are good for boosting energy and they may help with weight control.” – Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., Nutritionist/Author and valued contributor to the California Raisins’ Super RD Network.

* June 2013 issue of the Journal of Food Science, “A Review of the Health Benefits of Raisins” by James E Painter RD, PhD  Ashley R Waters MS, RD

** The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 139, Issue 9, September 2009, Pages 1818S–1823S,