Have you ever been so accustomed to something, that you stopped thinking about it at all? Like your furniture…you don’t really take note of it until you are spring cleaning, and get a wild hair to move it around. All the sudden, your sofa looks entirely different, and you have no idea why?
Raisins are kind of like that, in my weird, don’t-try-to-understand-it mind.
I mean think about it, though. Raisins. We all know what they are. Shrunken little grapes. But I don’t think we THINK about them as grapes. Or even fruit, for that matter. They hang out in little red boxes, unassuming. We eat them by handfuls, we toss them into cookies. We feel good about giving them to our children, but we never stop to think about WHY.
I am here to remind you WHY.
You know how on a couple of commercials you hear that raisins are made from Grapes and Sunshine? And you’re like, okay, sure. Grapes and Sunshine. Marketing Campaign is at it again. But seriously – I WAS THERE. I went to Fresno with the California Raisin Blogger Bunch. I tromped through acres upon acres of vineyards – Raisin Vineyards.
Raisins? Are Grapes and Sunshine. Nothing else. Grapes. And Sunshine. And a box. The end.
Nothing much has changed over the years for raisin farmers, but, of course, modernization and science has stepped in to make things a little easier, and more profitable. Take for example the way raisins are being harvested and dried these days. The old fashioned way (still quite rampant) involves the clusters of grapes being picked, then laid out on mats on the ground to soak up the sun. Once they’re dried, off to the washing/packaging plant they go. The new technique? Well, the clusters remain hanging on the vine until the sun has had it’s way with them. The benefit here is that the raisins can be mechanically harvested in this format…so, a little more industrial.
Okay, you learned something.
Did you also know that there are dozens of raisin varieties? There ARE. I personally taste tested over a dozen myself. We had a Raisin and Cheese Tasting! Oh boy, let me tell you – there were some yummies! Some were completely unprocessed – meaning – right off the vine. But I want to tell you about the “processing.”
It’s called cooling them off to make sure no critters survive, and then washing them off.
That’s pretty much it.
No weirdness, no fillers, no yuck. Grapes and Sunshine.
Just don’t eat the box, okay? I have no idea what that’s made of.
Now, I want to share these popovers with you. Oatmeal Raisin. Great with a little cream cheese drizzle if you are so inclined, or, just a good dose of maple syrup like I did here. Simple, delicious, and in your belly in under 30 minutes.
Oatmeal Raisin Popovers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup milk
5 Tbsps sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup Oats (I used Coach’s)
1/2 cup raisins
Divide the butter into the cups of your Pop Over Pan. (If you don’t own one, you can use a muffin tin, but you will need to use all 12 cups. Just divide the butter up evenly) Place the pan in the oven for 3-5 minutes while you are making the batter.
In medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla, and sugar, then whisk in the flour, cinnamon and oats. Pour the batter into the butter filled cups, then evenly add a few raisins to each cup. Return to oven for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Drizzle with favorite syrup. Serve and enjoy!
Thanks for letting me share some of my photos and stories from my trip to Fresno with California Raisins. I had such a great time meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, and learning so much! And thanks to California Raisins for bringing me out…I had a wonderful time!