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Fruit for fruitcake, does better quality exist?

I am starting to think about making fruitcakes for christmas. The citron fruit that I usually get locally isn't really that good. I get it from Stop & Shop. Can anyone recommend the citron fruit? Does Whole Foods or Trader Joes have anything better?

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  1. you can use real dried fruits, not the dried and dyed abominations.
    Like this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

    King Arthur has decent died and candied fruit

    3 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      I love that fruitcake recipe.

      www.nutsonline.com sells dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries, other berries, figs and glazed fruits for fruitcakes, including citron. Forget the green cherries and pineapple, yuk, but their other dried fruits are great.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        I used your recommendation and have been happy with them. Thanks!

      2. re: magiesmom

        Yes, I've made that cake and used dried fruit from Whole Foods bulk bins. Berries cherries raisins currants -- all available, all tasty.

      3. I buy mine at Economy Candy in NY. They do mail order:

        http://www.economycandy.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth

          Oh, thanks, MM, I'll check them out! Nothing like giving the local economy a little boost.

        2. Last year I bought from "Nuts Online" http://www.nutsonline.com/?gclid=CMi8...
          I bought a bag of citron for cookies, not always easy to find citron, and was very pleased with the quality and flavor. Also tried the dried strawberries -- a few made it into cookie bars but I mostly just ate it like candy.

          1. I never use citron. I used dried fruits like: cranberries, tart cherries, blueberries, sultanas, dates or figs,apricots, mango, papaya and kiwi (both look fabulous in a fruit cake, and taste great), along with generous amounts of tangerine and lemon zest. The best candied orange peel can be found in Middle Eastern grocers....

            1 Reply
            1. re: Karl S

              I also skip the citron. I use a combination of pineapple, dried blueberries, craisins, farmer's market thompson seedless and golden raisins, and crystallized ginger. Most of these I get from Trader Joe's.

            2. Thanks everyone. I have to use the citron candied fruit and peel. I make my grandmother's recipe for my father since my mom doesn't bake much anymore. Her recipe calls for the citron candied peel. I am going to try nutsonline.

              11 Replies
              1. re: javaandjazz

                Would love to see her recipe on the HC board if you have time. I try to make my father his favorite of his mother's cookies every year as a pre-Christmas gift.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  My grandmother's recipe is very basic compared to some of the recipes I have seen.

                  Grandma’s Fruit Cake

                  1 ½ cups raisins
                  1 pkg. 8 oz pitted dates
                  2 cups sugar
                  2 cups boiling water
                  5 tbls butter
                  3 cups all purpose flour
                  1 tsp baking soda
                  2 tsp cinnamon
                  1 tsp salt
                  1 cup chopped walnuts
                  1 cup mixed candied fruit

                  1. In a large sauce pan combine raisins, dates, sugar, boiling water, & butter. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
                  2. Lightly grease two loaf pans ( 8” x 4 ½” x 2”). Preheat oven to 325®.
                  3. Sift flour with baking soda, cinnamon, & salt. Add to cooled raisin mixture along with walnuts & candied fruit. With a wooden spoon mix well.
                  4. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 1 ½ hours or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

                  1. re: javaandjazz

                    Wow, that reminds me of my mom's recipe, except she used filberts, as they were referred to in the 60's, aka hazelnuts, instead of walnuts. I remember she used golden and dark raisins and chopped dates, along with candied fruit.

                    She make the fruitcakes in early November, wrapped then in cheesecloth, anointed them with brandy and aged them until the holidays.

                    Thanks for the memory!

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      I might throw in some of those candied cherries this year to be different.

                      1. re: javaandjazz

                        Yup, just the red ones, please, although it's up to you; even as a kid the green cherries skeeved me.

                          1. re: javaandjazz

                            Is it just me, or is there a taste difference between the green candied cherries and the red ones?

                            1. re: freia

                              I don't mess with either of them; they're too close to gummi bears for me. But I do know that some food dyes have distinctive tastes.

                              1. re: lemons

                                MMMM Gummy bears! Kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I love gummy bears, red candied cherries, green candied cherries and candied citron peel (blush)..

                              2. re: freia

                                I was unable to find red candied cherries last month, so I bought green ones, then found red ones which I actually didn't wind up using yet. It wasn't worth the mileage to return the green ones so when I made an almond-pistachio quickbread loaf today, I chopped up most of the green cherries to mix into the batter, and put the remaining ones on top, after tasting one. The cake came out fine, but no thanks to the candied cherries, which didn't actually have any flavor other than sweetness. Though cherries are listed as the first ingredient, these things are almost transparent. I have to think the manufacturing involves some sort of mashing and filtering and reconstituting in molds. In comparison, maraschino cherries taste like they've just been picked, tree-ripened, in a sunny orchard!

                                No more using candied cherries for me, other than purely as a decorative element.

                      2. re: javaandjazz

                        Maybe use dried fruits and berries rather than candied? I don't use citron at all, either, so perhaps we're just shooting in different directions.

                        For sourcing, I find that places like Costco and Sam's Club have large bags of dried fruit around the Fall/WInter holidays, and those are always fresh and affordable as can be. They probably have citron, too.

                  2. check out Market Hall Foods.Com Top quality fruitcake fruits.

                    1. When I took cooking classes in Italy, we made pannetone, which is a bread with candied fruit. They used their own local candied fruit. It. Was. AMAZING. I'm not a candied fruit fan, but this stuff was amazing. I might we worthwhile checking out an Italian import store to see if they import candied fruit for the season....it would be amazing to use instead of the grocery store variety.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: freia

                        There's also some stunning stuff done in Provence...St Remy, I believe. Probably what made van Gogh see stars. Anyway,fruitcake folks, keep an eye out for that. Me, I used dried fruit; it was the whole candied stuff that put me off fruitcake until I was in my late 20s.

                      2. http://www.lacuisineus.com/

                        La Cuisine is a shop in Alexandria VA with some very good products. Their dried fruit tastes like fruit; in no way does it resemble the 'grocery store' stuff. They ship.

                        1. Just noticed on a thread asking about fruitcake and stollen recipes that talked about a place in Seattle tha thad great candied fruits - Italian, I believe. jCheck there.

                          1. If you are interested, www.cookscountry.com has a recipe for making your own candied orange peel. They are the same company as Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen. You can get a free 2-week website trial to see the recipe here: http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/7....

                            1. I've been buying the candied fruit from nuts.com and have been happy with the quality since this discussion started.

                              1. Yes, use real dried fruits, and nuts. I just wouldn't overdo it--leave some cake between the nuts and fruits. I well made fruitcake is great!