Why are California Raisins so popular?

Well, they’re 100% natural to start with.  The only elements used to produce California Raisins are plenty of sunshine and mountain water.  With strict production processes and rigorous quality and grading, users and consumers are assured that California Raisins will be clean and ready for immediate use.

California Raisins are sweet, juicy and intensely fruity.  They have a variety of different uses in food manufacturing, in addition to being a tasty snack.  Made from a seedless grape variety, the secret to the excellence of California Raisins is in their skin.  Since they are seedless, there is no need to break the skin to remove any seeds after drying.  The concentration of sugars is consistent, they won’t crystallise and none of the flavour is lost through cracking.  Because the skin is not broken during the drying process, raisins will stand up to all kinds of manufacturing processes.

They won’t collapse when added to mixtures or during baking and they retain all of their nutritional properties.  California Raisins add bulk and volume to foods which include them and they do not discolour any surrounding material.

What is the difference between a Raisin and a Sultana?

For years sultanas and raisins have often been confused.  California Raisins are produced from seedless grapes which are left for approximately 3-4 weeks in the 40+ degrees of California sun.  During drying the intense heat caramelises the natural sugars in the grapes, which give the raisins their distinctive blue-black colour and rich dark flavour.

Sultanas are produced from Thompson seedless grape varietals, and Turkey with an average crop of c.280,000MT is the world’s largest producer of sultanas.  They differ from raisins in two ways; firstly finished sultanas are much lighter in colour, but more importantly they undergo a different drying process.

During the drying process, the mature grapes are dipped in a potash solution which cracks the skins and reduces the overall drying time.  The drying period before being immersed in potash solution for sultanas is approximately 1 week as opposed to around 3 weeks to produce a true sun-dried raisin.  Raisins have slightly stronger skins making them ideal for baking since they are less prone to disintegration. In ‘out of the box’ snacking, raisins outsell sultanas by 4 to 1 in UK retail.

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