Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there additives or preservatives in Raisins?

A:In our Sun-Maid Natural Raisins there are no additives or preservatives. When the raisins are ready to be processed, we clean the raisins using large aspirators (vacuums), graders, and shakers to remove stems, dirt, and other foreign objects. We then do a very thorough washing in fresh water which rehydrates the raisins.

Sun-Maid Golden Raisins are cleaned in much the same way, although these raisins are treated with the preservative sulfur dioxide. This form of sulfite has been used for centuries to prevent darkening of the fruit during the drying process. Sulfites also help preserve the vitamin A and vitamin C contents of foods.

Q: How do Grapes become Raisins?

A: The sweet, sun-ripened grapes are harvested in early autumn and over 90% are sun-dried on paper “trays” in the vineyards. Over a three-week period, the sun dries them into raisins, giving them their dark colour and characteristic flavour. The remaining, mostly Golden Seedless raisins, are oven-dried in the plant to retain their light colour.

Q: Home Storage: How should I store my raisins?

A: Raisins are a ‘ready-to-eat’ snack and do not require refrigeration. But, to keep dried fruit moist once a package has been opened, remember to keep under cool and dry conditions; away from heat and/or humidity, as well as concrete or brick walls. If you do want to refrigerate your dried fruit, or even if you want to store them for any length of time, be sure that they are in an air-tight container.

It is possible to freeze dried fruit. Place in a zip-lock freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air, seal, and place in the freezer. Dried fruit will thaw quickly, but if you want to ‘speed up’ the process, pour boiling water over the frozen fruit. The heat and moisture will quickly thaw the fruit and it will also help add a bit of extra moisture. Be sure to drain off the excess moisture before using.

Q: How do you plump raisins?

A: If raisins become dry or sugary, or if a recipe calls for ‘plumped’ raisins, simply place the raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak the raisins for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry using a paper towel.

Q: Sinking Raisins: How do I prevent this problem in recipes?

A: Since raisins have a tendency to sink to the bottom during baking, here are a number of suggestions to help solve this problem.

1. Select a recipe which results in a thick, rather stiff batter (such as a pound cake). A stiff batter slows the settling of the raisins.

2. Fold the raisins into the batter just before placing in prepared baking pans and place at once into a preheated oven. Reducing the time between adding raisins to the batter and baking allows the batter to begin to set with oven heat before the raisins settle.

3. For cakes, bake in round layers rather than square or rectangular pans. Each round pan of batter is thinner and more quickly set by oven heat than is the case with square or rectangular pans. The faster the batter is set by oven heat, the less the raisins will settle.

4. Whole raisins are most suitable in loaf cakes, or others made with all-purpose flour rather than cake flour. All-purpose flour results in a stronger batter which can better support the weight of raisins than is the case with cake flour.

Q: Date Codes: How do I determine the use by (best before) date?

A: Our date codes can be read as follows: The package will read

(DDMMYY) 140807 or (DDMMYY)

The first two numbers (14) represent the day (DD).

The third and fourth number (08) represent the month (MM). In this example, it is the month of August.

The last two numbers (07) represent the year (YY). In this example, it is the year 2007.

This example indicates that the fruit will be best used before August 14, 2007.

There may also be some other numbers preceding the (DDMMYY) such as the time of production. These numbers are not part of the best before date code.

Q: Out of date product, is it safe to eat?

A: Dried fruit should be consumed within the best before date for best flavour and colour. Dried fruit is preserved by the drying process and as such does not “spoil” due to bacteria. Although it would be safe to eat, it may be unappetizing.

Q: What effect do raisins or dried fruit have on domestic animals?

A: Raisins and other fresh and dried fruits are recognized as a valuable diet supplement for livestock. When properly balanced with dry feed, rations containing sizable amounts of culled fruits, raisins, can result in excellent weight gains or milk production at considerable savings.

While fresh and dried fruits can be beneficial to some animals, recent reports by veterinarians indicate that dogs which have ingested grapes or raisins have developed kidney failure. Therefore, grapes or raisins should be treated similarly as other foods that can be harmful to dogs, like chocolate, coffee, tea, and cola beverages. We suggest that you contact your veterinarian immediately if ingestion has occurred, because successful treatment is most likely if made quickly.

Q: Are Sun-Maid Raisins Kosher?

A: Our Sun-Maid Raisins are certified Kosher. The “triangle K” symbol means that the product is Kosher. The “-P” mark means that the products are Kosher for Passover. The Rabbi who certifies and supervises this for all Sun-Maid products is the Rabbi Dr. Joseph H. Ralbag of New York City.

Q: Where did the word “raisin” come from?

A: Raisin is a French word, derived from the Latin word racemus, meaning a cluster of grapes. And that’s what raisins are – grapes with about 85% of their moisture removed, leaving the concentrated goodness and nutrients intact.

Q: Why do raisins get stuck together and how do I break them up?

A: One way to break up the fruit is to wet your hands and break it up. This can be a little messy, so as an alternative you might try spritzing it with a little water which should then make it easier to break up.