The Simple Way To Add More Flavor To Raisins

Raisins are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, from baked goods to salads. They add a sweet and chewy texture to all kinds of dishes — many of which you might be familiar with. Raisins are found in oatmeal raisin cookies and raisin bran muffins, and can be added to cold salads, like couscous, quinoa, and spinach, for a burst of sweetness.

While the natural sweetness and chewy texture can take any recipe to the next level, sometimes plain raisins can be a bit lackluster in flavor. If you're looking to add more depth and complexity to your raisins, consider rehydrating them. In addition to amping up the flavor, this process can result in a change in texture, taking your older, drier raisins and transforming them into a rehydrated version that tends to be rather soft and plump. 

Rehydrate raisins with aromatics, liquor, or zest

To add more flavor to raisins, start by placing them in a bowl and covering them with hot water. Let them sit for a few minutes until they are plump and moist. While the raisins are rehydrating, you can mix in additional ingredients to the bowl to infuse them with flavor. Aromatics such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, or cardamom pods can add warmth and depth to raisins in baked goods like muffins and cookies.

If you're looking to add a boozy kick to your raisins, consider adding a splash of liquor such as brandy or rum. You can also use wine to flavor them. This will give them a more intense flavor and a hint of sweetness that works well in recipes like Irish soda bread.

Finally, adding zest from citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons can bring a bright and tangy flavor to your raisins. Simply grate the zest from the citrus fruit and add it to the bowl with the raisins for rehydration.

Next time you're using raisins in a recipe, consider introducing some additional ingredients to take them to the next level.