visiting raisin ranches in Fresno, CA
I recently had the pleasure of attending raisin ranches with a handful of [very cool] food bloggers. We flew into Fresno, CA---where 99% of raisins are grown/dried. If you eat raisins: you have the weather, history and dedicated ranchers of Fresno to thank. Taking photos is one of my favorite components of food and farm trips; check out my raisin albums on flickr and facebook.
It isn't hard to be swayed to love raisins. They are nature's candy, and there is something nostalgic about seeing grapes laid out in the sun OR left on the vine, bathing in heat and transforming into these nutrition-packed little gems. You know I am a fan of preserving seasonal foods (you DO know that, right?) and raisins are no exception: when these grapes are at their height of maturity they are plucked from the vines and dried in the sun. Once dried, these divine grapes are preserved for healthy snacking throughout the year.
I was inspired by raisins, their nutritional benefits and the fact that drying whole fruits actually concentrates their nutrients (you lose some vitamin C when drying most fruits but in the case of raisins, gain concentrated potassium, calcium and fiber). I would love to hear your inspiration and favorite raisin recipes; the timing is 'ripe' since the California Raisin Marketing Board and Relish Magazine have teamed up to bring you a Raisin Contest (from Nov 1 - Dec 31, 2012). Here is the entrance form, the site with full description of the contest, and their pinterest page.
I cannot enter! I am a favored guest of California Raisins and therefore: they would be biased in my direction. So you will have to enter on my behalf! And please add a link or comment below so I can follow your entrance. Can you say trip to Nashville? Some cash in your pocket? Why not?! Grab some sundried grapes [ahem: raisins] and tuck them into a nearby recipe. (Though if I COULD enter I might include chicken raisin curry wraps, whiskey bread pudding or rum raisin shortbread. I am just sayin').