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Types of Dried Fruit

What is raisins?

Raisins are essentially dried grapes of the “Vitis vinifera” Natural Seedless varietal type and are typically dried by the sun, whether it is on paper trays or dried on the vine. Natural (Sun-Dried) seedless raisins include the Thompson seedless and other newer cultivars such as Selma Pete, Fiesta and DOVine. California Golden Seedless and California Dipped Seedless raisins are mechanically dried and processed. Other raisin varietal types include Zante Currant, Muscat, Monnuka, Sultana, and other Seedless. Raisins may also be further processed into Raisin Paste and Raisin Juice Concentrate.
USA Enterprises Inc.
USA Enterprises Inc.

Raisins Market

On approximately 200,000 acres, the 3,000 California Raisin growers produce 100% of the U.S. raisins, totaling approximately 350,000 tons annually in an area within a 60 mile-radius of Fresno, California – known as the central San Joaquin Valley. Two-thirds of the U.S. raisin production is consumed in the U.S. and Canada, while one-third is exported to nearly 50 countries with Japan and the United Kingdom being the top two export markets.
World Raisin production for selected countries is forecast at almost 1.2 million metric tons. Turkey is forecast to account for 60 percent of this growth as the country recovers from the previous year’s drought. However, Turkey’s exports are forecast to only rise 10,000 tons due to expected stock rebuilding efforts. This will provide an opportunity for China, Iran, and the United States to export their production growth rather than add to inventories.

What is Raisin paste?

Raisin paste is made from 100 percent raisins, produced by extruding raisins through a fine mesh screen and then heated to make the finished product malleable and easy to use in a wide variety of product applications. Raisin paste can be used to add visual appeal and flavor. It’s a stable ingredient that sweetens naturally. Raisin paste is used in sundae-style yogurts and cottage cheese, as well as in ice cream and frozen novelties. It’s also found in fruit-filled cereal products, granola bars and extruded breakfast cereals. Raisin paste has excellent sweetening capabilities in fine confectionery fillings and soft-center candies. In bakery items, such as breads, cookies and pastries, the paste inhibits molds, extends shelf-life and enhances flavor.
USA Enterprises Inc.
USA Enterprises Inc.

What is Raisin juice concentrate?

From part of the crop, the processors make raisin juice and raisin paste. Raisin juice is a pure extract of raisins. Throughout several processing stages, raisins are leached with water to produce raisin juice. The liquid is then evaporated in a vacuum pan to produce a self-preserving concentrate. Raisin juice concentrate contains a minimum of 70 percent natural fruit soluble solids. It’s added to a variety of foods, including dairy, confectionery and baking items. Raisin juice extends the shelf-life of bread products; it is a natural substitute for preservatives; and it naturally sweetens and colors baking goods. For confectionary items, raisin juice acts as a sugar substitute and a filling for hard candies and molded chocolates. In crisp cookies and crackers, raisin juice helps control breakage. With chewy or soft cakes and cookies, the raisin juice can help maintain moisture. It also is a natural binding agent in cereal bars. Raisin juice serves as a natural syrup for yogurts and ice cream. It enhances the color and flavor of chocolate milk and ice cream. It also brings out the flavors of condiments and is an all-natural coloring agent.

Production of Raisins

California Raisins are inspected under the most rigid standards by both plant quality control technicians and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) inspectors throughout the packaging process, thus assuring that California Raisins are the cleanest, highest quality in the world. After final inspections, raisins are automatically weighed and packed in a variety of bulk industrial and convenient retail sizes. California Raisins are then shipped throughout North America and the world for consumers to enjoy. Natural seedless raisins are dried by the sun, then loaded into bins for delivery to the processing plants. The raisins can either be dried on paper trays on the ground between vineyard rows or dried on the vine, and mechanically harvested once the desired level of dryness is achieved.
Many people do not realize the risks raisin farmers face throughout the growing and harvesting season. Even in the world’s most ideal raisin producing region, Mother Nature can dictate success or disaster.
In the early parts of the season, farmers face the risk of spring frosts, a serious threat to the crops. Later in the spring, hail has the potential to damage or destroy large parts of the crop.
During summer, dry and hot weather help to develop the natural sugars in the grapes. However, too much of a good thing can be bad as excessive heat threatens to halt development of the grapes and even has the potential to damage the crop.
Come fall time, seedless grapes are picked and placed on trays in the vineyard to dry into raisins. During this harvest time, rain represents the biggest threat to the crop. It usually takes about two to three weeks of hot, dry, sunny weather in September to turn the green grapes into raisins, but with each September day that passes, the threat of rain increases.
USA Enterprises Inc.