Raisin Cooking Tips and Hints• For most recipes, different types of raisins can be used interchangeably, except when specified. Even then, you can substitute, but don't expect the intended flavor of the original recipe.
• Other dried fruits can also be substituted measure for measure such as pitted, chopped dates, prunes, or dried cranberries.
• If you are allergic to sulfites, be sure to read the label on the raisin package. Usually only golden raisins are treated with sulfites.
• Most raisins benefit from being plumped before using. Soak the raisins in either a bit of the recipe liquid or hot tap water for 10 to 15 minutes before using until they plump up. Pat dry before using if you are not using recipe liquid for soaking in the recipe.
• When using raisins in baked goods, toss the raisins in a bit of the recipe flour (not extra flour, which can make the dough heavy) while separating with your fingers. This will help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan when baking.
• If you need chopped raisins in a recipe, consider using dried currants. The tiny raisins are about the same size as chopped standard raisins and have a similar flavor.
• When chopping raisins, heat the knife blade or food processor blade first to more easily slice through the dried fruit. Or, freeze raisins before chopping in a processor or blender.
• If your raisins are all stuck together, put them in a colander and rinse with hot water, gently separating with your fingers.
• Hardened raisins can be revived and separated by placing them in a bowl with a bit of warm water and microwaving on HIGH for 10 to 15 seconds.
• Raisins have as much iron by weight as cooked dried beans or ground beef.
• According to food scientist Shirley Corriher, bakers who make breads without preservatives sometimes use raisin juice concentrate and raisin pulp to extend the shelf life of breads because they inhibit mold.
• 1 pound seedless raisins = about 3 cups
• 1 pound seeded raisins = about 2-1/2 cups
• Keep a jar of raisins soaking in rum, brandy or liqueur to add extra depth to baked goods.
• Raisins are tasty in all types of sweets, of course, but also marry beautifully with cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale and broccolirabe, salads, couscous, pasta, sauces, rum, orange liqueurs, and wine.
More about Raisins:• Raisin Tips and Hints
• Raisin Varieties
• Raisin Selection and Storage
• What are raisins? Raisin History
• Raisin Recipes
Raisins and Grapes Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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