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World's Best Raisins??

WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 01:00 PM

What's your vote for the best raisins?

So many commercial brand raisins are dry and/or stemmy. And often the bulk raisins are seedy (meaning they are so plump they seem to have little seeds in them).

Where do you go for delicious moist raisins?

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  1. kare_raisu RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 01:51 PM

    I like the Sun-Maid Premium Jumbo Mixed Raisins. They are always on clearance at the supermarket but strikingly delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu
      chicgail RE: kare_raisu Aug 8, 2010 03:15 AM

      I had been buying them interchangeably with TJ's raisins.. I recently purchased a bag of "Premium Jumbo Mixed Raisins," but got a bag filled with teeny-weeny mixed raisins.

      Disappointed, I went tot he Sun-Maid website to complain and their response was to send me a coupon to buy more. No apology. No oops we made a mistake. No "yes, we changed the product."

      I will be going back to Trader Joes.

    2. t
      taco_belle RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 05:03 PM

      I've read recently - at least since Labor Day - about the
      introduction of artisinal raisins. I'm not sure of where
      I read it - probably in the San Jose Mercury News. You
      buy them dried in clusters on the vine. I haven't seen
      any yet and have no idea what they'll cost.

      1 Reply
      1. re: taco_belle
        WineTravel RE: taco_belle Dec 17, 2006 10:45 PM

        This sounds very interesting... I'd love to try them. Haven't heard anything about this.

      2. joypirate RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 05:06 PM

        Anyime I find Dole Raisins I'm required to buy them, because my wife thinks they are the best of the commercial brands. They are surprisingly difficult to find.

        1. NYchowcook RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 05:31 PM

          I go to my food coop and buy Flame raisins. Plumb and delicious.

          8 Replies
          1. re: NYchowcook
            Humbucker RE: NYchowcook Dec 17, 2006 06:04 PM

            Second the flames sold in the bulk section of seom markets. My mom loves them. Their huge, too, bigger than pumpkin seeds.

            1. re: Humbucker
              maestra RE: Humbucker Dec 18, 2006 12:26 AM

              Trader Joe's usually has a variety pack of raisins, and flame is one of the included. It used to be a favorite snack of mine.

              1. re: maestra
                prunefeet RE: maestra Dec 18, 2006 05:47 PM

                Yes, trader joe's mixed raisins are really good. Huge, moist, not stemmy. Much more of a treat than standard raisins.

                1. re: prunefeet
                  FelafelBoy RE: prunefeet Dec 20, 2007 10:20 PM

                  Yes! What a treat.

                  The last type of raisins I had that were outstanding and very different from normal raisins was Sun Maid's baking raisins that were plumped up and much juicier and tastier than the normal pint sized raisins.

                  For some reason, the sight of Trader Joe's "Jumbo Raisin Medley" caught my eye. The contents were of three different colors and were quite large.
                  They consisted of seedless golden light raisins, flame raisins, and jumbo raisins (also, sulfur dioxide). The packaging was of the kind that has that zip lock seal that allows the user to seal up the opened package in a convenient seal.

                  I normally don't get excited about raisins (they simply taste good from the intense sweetness), but these were among the best I had ever tasted, both in their juiciness AND with the taste combination from the three different kinds of raisins. As I continued munching through half the bag, I couldn't help but think, "with this kind of taste, who needs to be eating candy! This is as good as most candy I have had!

                  For anyone who enjoys eating raisins, this product will satisfy your raisin sweet tooth. I found this package in the nut aisle by the packages of figs and other dried fruit.

                  I had noticed the flame raisins sold at supermarkets, but was unwilling to pay the much higher price, thinking that normal priced raisins are enough for me. The Trader Joe's product was reasonably priced, but the taste exceeded its cost value.

                  1. re: FelafelBoy
                    Humbucker RE: FelafelBoy Dec 20, 2007 11:16 PM

                    Funny, I've gotten the Jumbo Raisin Medley too and found it to be horrible. The raisins were way too sweet for me and more crystalized rather than moist.

                    1. re: Humbucker
                      FelafelBoy RE: Humbucker Dec 21, 2007 10:52 PM

                      I understand what you mean. I also found them very sweet, but in a different way than some Sunmaid brand raisins which can also be sweet. Somehow the combination of the three different kinds created a sweetness that I found appealing, albeit candylike!

                      And yes, I did find some raisins that had that crytalized character you referred to, thus my description of this treat as somewhat candylike.
                      If I am going to eat candy, I'd rather eat something like this than other candy that may consist of ingredient that may be of a less "healthy" and natural character.

                      1. re: Humbucker
                        scubadoo97 RE: Humbucker Dec 22, 2007 10:14 AM

                        I bought a Jumbo "gourmet" raisin medley at our local grocery store. The tasted like rancid nuts. There really isn't anything that would go rancid in a raisin. Don't know how they were stored before packaging but I will have to try them again. Different store of course.

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          FelafelBoy RE: scubadoo97 Dec 23, 2007 10:11 PM

                          What types of raisins did the medley consist of? How were they packaged? The packaging of the "Jumbo Raisin Medley" at Trader Joe's is transparent, so you see what you are getting, and the packaging feels better made than other packaging I've seen elsewhere.

                          I had a similar experience with raisins that were packed in a small box at a large chain drug store whose name I will not mention here, other than to say it begins with "W." At first the raisins tasted ok, and by the end they had a slight "off" taste. It may have been from the quality of the raisins themselves vs. storage life. I also don't know how that kind of packaging retains freshness - there was no inner lining, just an enclosed paper/cardboard box enclosure.

                          I absolutely had foul tasting dried apricots from this store. The container was sealed and had a flimsy cheap plastic seal over the top, but the apricots had gone bad. I would never chance that again. I will, if possible buy such products from containers like the ones I saw at TJ where I can see what I am getting.

                          By the way, I have never had a bad experience with Sunmaid Raisins, even though they use a similar kind of packaging. I trust that brand, thus I can make the exception to the rule that I just stated. But now that I have tasted how much better raisins can be from the product I got at Trader Joe's, I will continue buying them.

                          Last night, I added a few of them to my dry cereal with bananas and milk, and was amazed at how their livelier taste brightened up what had been rather boring cereal.

            2. chef chicklet RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 05:38 PM

              Sun maid- golden jumbos- for me, moist and candy like.

              1. h
                HillJ RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 06:36 PM

                2nd the Dole brand raisin.
                After baking 40 dozen rugelachs for holiday giving I can attest that the Dole raisins held up the best and imparted a terrific moistness.

                1. Karl S RE: WineTravel Dec 17, 2006 08:03 PM

                  The Mojave raisins that are dried on the stem have a great texture/flavor profile.

                  Otherwise, I love the monukka raisins from Whole Foods.

                  1. m
                    ML8000 RE: WineTravel Dec 18, 2006 02:24 AM

                    Not sure if they were the "best" but I have had Turkish raisins in a pilaf and they were super sweet and exceptional (if that's the word). In comparision to California raisins in Middle Eastern/Med pilafs made in the U.S., there is a difference and you can tell, but I didn't eat the Turkish raisins individually or side-by-side so it's hard to be definative.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ML8000
                      joypirate RE: ML8000 Dec 18, 2006 04:04 PM

                      I think in the interest of our elaborate, longitudinal raisin study it's not fair to compare cooked raisins with raisins out of the package. Cooking tends to rehydrate and plump them up, so, for all I know, even Sunmaid regular raisins are delicious in a tagine or something.

                      That said, if you love cooked raisins, make the Far Breton out of Savuer magazine and flame those bad boys in brandy. Tasty stuff.

                      1. re: ML8000
                        Nyleve RE: ML8000 Dec 19, 2006 02:11 PM

                        There are these amazing Turkish raisins - I can't remember what they're called but they're gigantic and delicious. I've only seen them in Turkey, though. I'm sure that you can find them in a Turkish specialty shop.

                      2. n
                        Nicole RE: WineTravel Dec 18, 2006 03:45 AM

                        I haven't tried any "special" raisins, but of the supermarket brands, Dole is by far the best. So a third on Dole's.

                        1. p
                          Pan RE: WineTravel Dec 18, 2006 07:26 AM

                          I've found Pavich organic raisins to be the best-tasting jarred raisins I've had so far. Those of you who like non-organic raisins and haven't tried them should look for them in your local health food store and see whether you don't agree that they have more taste than the ones you're used to.

                          1. Striver RE: WineTravel Dec 18, 2006 02:45 PM

                            This is a bit esoteric, but there's a guy at the Oakland (CA) Farmer's Market who sells one pound bags of some golden type raisin that's large, plump, juicy, and absolutely delicious - don't know the specific pedigree. Last two times I was there, I bought 6 pounds to bring back to NYC. They retain their plumpness and flavor for months.

                            1. s
                              Shootsucka RE: WineTravel Aug 7, 2010 04:21 PM

                              Sunview Organic Raisins. You can get them at Whole Foods and I often see them at other high quality grocery stores. They are Green Seedless so they are lighter in color than most rasins I have seen. They are sweeter than flame rasins in my opinion and are soft and plump. I have eaten them until I get sick, they are out of this world delicious.

                              But if you are looking for super high quality raisins you can find them here http://www.nutsonline.com/driedfruit/.... I must say after getting a hold of these guys you never want to go back to anything else. But shipping will kill you so be careful!

                              1. coll RE: WineTravel Aug 8, 2010 05:18 PM

                                I never had raisins I loved until I got the BJs house brand of jumbo mixed raisins. Actually all of their dried fruits are above and beyond.

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