More about our Raisins

Raisins are essentially dried grapes of the “Vitis vinifera” Natural Seedless varietal type and are typically dried by the sun, whether it is on paper trays or dried on the vine.  Natural (sun-dried) seedless raisins include the Thompson seedless and other cultivars such as Selma Pete, Fiesta and DOVine.  California Golden Seedless and California Dipped Seedless raisins are mechanically dried and processed.  Other raisin varietal types include Zante Currant, Muscat, Monnuka, Sultana and other seedless.  Raisins can also be processed into Raisin Paste and Raisin Juice Concentrate.

It takes three years to produce a single raisin, from planting the vine to final harvesting around late August to September.

The grapes are picked and then lie on the ground for around 3-4 weeks in 40C temperatures.

The raisins are either dried on paper trays on the ground between vineyard rows or dried on the vine (DOV) and mechanically harvested once the desired level of dryness has been achieved.  Before they are unloaded from their bins, government inspectors use long prods to gather samples from the middle of each bin.  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards must be met to ensure that each box is free of imperfections.  Next, the raisins are processed, which means they are washed many times and go through a series of conveyor belts and drums to remove remaining stems, chaff or lightweight fruit.

The raisins are then sent through a vacuum air stream to catch any other undesirable materials.  Finally, they’re size graded and thoroughly washed in pure water.

How are our raisins packed?

In preparation for packaging, the raisins move through a laser sorter.  The sorter’s light beams, along with a computer, continually scan the raisins to see if anything besides raisins is passing through the stream.  If a material other than a raisin is present, the computer sends a burst of air to knock it out of the stream of raisins and down a separate trough.

California Raisins are inspected under the most rigid standards.  Quality control technicians inspect the raisins by hand throughout the packing process, thus assuring that California Raisins are the cleanest, highest quality in the world.  After final inspections, raisins are automatically weighed and packed in a variety of sizes.  California Raisins are then shipped throughout North America and across the world.

Part of the crop is used to make raisin juice concentrate (a minimum of 70 percent natural fruit soluble solids) and raisin paste (made from 100 percent raisins), which are added to a variety of foods, including dairy, confectionery and bakery items.

California Raisins come in three sizes: Select, Midget and Mixed.

Midget – Small or midget size raisins means that 95 percent, by weight, of all the raisins will pass through round perforations 9.5mm in diameter, and not less than 70 percent, by weight, of all raisins will pass through round perforations 8.7mm in diameter.

Select – Select size raisins means that no more than 60 percent, by weight, of all the raisins will pass through round perforations 8.7mm in diameter.

Mixed – Mixed sized raisins means a mixture which does not meet either the requirements for Select size, or for Small or ‘Midget’ size.

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