12. BEANS & LENTILS. Stir raisins into bean and lentil dishes. For baked beans, cut the sugar in half and add a half cup of golden raisins (a nicer color contrast with the beans).
13. CALVES LIVER, FISH, CHICKEN PAILLARD. Use the rum raisin sauce in #15 below; cut the sugar in half and substitute wine for the rum.
14. CHILI. Do you know the trick of adding chocolate to chili to bring out new dimensions of flavor? It works with raisins, too.
15. CURRY. Raisins accent any curry dish, or any dish seasoned with cinnamon, ginger or turmeric,
16. HAM OR PORK. You can substitute (or add) raisins for prunes in pork/prune recipes. Or, top ham or pork roasts with a rum raisin sauce: In small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup raisins (we like to mix black and golden raisins); bring mixture to boil. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons flour; add slowly to raisin mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons rum; stir to blend and remove from heat.
17. MEAT DISHES. Pot roast, heavy casseroles and stews of meat and/or poultry get a lift from 1/4 cup of raisins.
18. RICE & GRAINS. Go Middle Eastern and add raisins to your hot rice dishes or rice salads. Do the same with whole grains: barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, quinoa, etc.
19. STIR FRY. Along with your protein and garlic, add a sweet touch of raisins.
20. STUFFED CABBAGE. One of our favorite ancestral foods, we recently purchased a prepared dish of stuffed cabbage at Zabar’s in New York City. There was so much sugar in the recipe, we couldn’t eat it until we’d fixed a work-around with vinegar. Zabar’s took the cheaper route with sugar, when naturally sweet raisins were the proper ingredient.
21. STUFFING. A packaged bread stuffing comes alive with some raisins and fresh herbs.
22. VEGETABLES. Add raisins and nuts to bitter greens like chard and kale; definitely try them with Brussels sprouts and bacon.
23. CAKES & QUICK BREADS. Add raisins to carrot cake and zucchini bread. They’re delicious in pound cake; even more so when they’re pre-soaked in rum. We put those rum-soaked raisins into brownies, too.
24. COOKIES. Make classic oatmeal raisin cookies, with or without chocolate chips. Butter cookies and shortbread with raisins are also delicious.
25. PIE. Add to apple or other fruit pie or pecan pie; make a sour cream raisin pie. Other popular combinations include cranberry-raisin, pumpkin-raisin and rhubarb-raisin.
26. PUDDING. Add raisins to bread pudding, custard, rice pudding, tapioca or any flavored pudding (butterscotch, chocolate, pistachio, vanilla, etc.). They work nicely in applesauce, too.
27. RUM RAISIN ICE CREAM. Marinate raisins in rum and sugar for several hours or overnight. Remove the raisins from the liquid and stir into softened vanilla ice cream; return to the freezer to harden. Or use them as a topping on scoops of ice cream, or interspersed in a parfait.
28. STEWED FRUIT. We love to make our grandmother’s stewed fruit compote: seasonal fresh fruits accented with a scattering of raisins.
COCKTAILS & WINE
29. MULLED WINE. Toss raisins into mulled wine, while it’s warming or as a garnish. And supply an espresso spoon or cocktail pick so they can be easily eaten.
30. MARTINI. Garnish a Martini with vermouth-soaked raisins. You can drop them into the glass or serve them skewered.
VISIT LOVEYOURRAISINS.COM FOR HUNDREDS OF TASTY RECIPES, HEALTH & NUTRITION INFORMATION.
RAISIN TRIVIA: California is the raisin capital of the world. Almost all California raisins are grown within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, in California’s sun-drenched San Joaquin Valley.