Thanks for the wonderful invitation, I recently took part in the California Raisins Raya Fiesta’s bloggers baking challenge, which was held at the Berjaya Universiti College of Hospitality to showcase how versatile California Raisins are in dishes, pastries and desserts with its nutrition values.
“Raisins are actually versatile, tasty and healthy little gems that can be used in many different culinary dishes. For most consumers, especially children, raisins are great to munch or snack on. The tiny fruits used for dishes, cakes, pastries are becoming more popular as consumers are becoming more adventurous in their culinary experimentation,” explained Richard Lieu, the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) Trade Promotions Director for Malaysia.
California Raisins are prepared from clean, dried grapes that have had their stems and capstems removed, then sorted, cleaned and thoroughly washed to assure a wholesome product. It is very adaptable to a variety of other manufactured products appealing to the new and growing market for health conscious consumers.
California Raisins provide flavor, texture and color to a wide variety of products. Its natural sweetness allows for reductions of sugar level in formulations, and also the high water binding capacity helps to retain moisture in bakery products.
The 1-hour baking challenge had bloggers in team of 2 came up with their own California Raisins’ recipes. We, the Muffin Heads team, made muffins and added in raisins to substitute refined sugar for the sweetness and natural preservative. Raisins can also maintain moisture and enhance the flavor of our baked muffins.
Besides that, do you know that raisins can extend the shelf-life of bread products, control breakage in crisp cookies and crackers, as well as a good natural binding and coloring agent in cereal bars.
“In 2005, 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular diseases, 30% of global deaths. Studies have shown that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables more than 5 servings a day is related to a 17% reduction in coronary heart disease,” explained Ms Tan Yen Sing, clinical dietitian from Tropicana Medical Centre.
“Raisins, though small, must not be under-estimated for their health benefits. Raisins are indeed a healthy snack with natural sugar and is also a sugar replacement for many recipes in cooking and baking,” said Tan.
Celebrity Chef Anuar Draman introduced few festive homemade recipes including California Raisin Almond Puff, California Raisin Chocolate Layer Steamed Cake, Walnut California Raisin Cookies and several other quick bites using California Raisins. Chef Anuar also shared tips to inspire baking creations for home-makers during Hari Raya.
More photos at FOOD Malaysia facebook page, a Malaysian food blogger since 2010