As you may already know last week I was on the hunt for muscats. Before last week I had never even heard of a muscat. Learning about them came about when my dad told me his mother used “larger raisins” when making a Blackberry Jam Cake. I did know what he was talking about and because it had been so long since he had one he could not remember what the “larger raisins” were called. He called my aunt and she remembered that they were called something that began with the letter “M”. That’s all I needed to begin my search on the internet. After a few clicks of the computer mouse some creative google searches I found out what the “M” word was. Muscat or Muscats.
After learning that muscats were not readily available in the grocery stores in our area, we bought some online from California and they arrived quite swiftly. Packaged in bulk, fresh and tasty. Before ordering from the internet, my dad and I were in and out of stores looking for muscats and; in our search I discovered they were several varieties of raisins. Now raisins might not sound overly exciting to read about but they are a great snack and go well in many baked goods, cereals and, salads. I use baking raisins specifically in my soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and traditional raisins in my delicious Coleslaw recipe which you can find here.
Here is a little more info on raisin varieties:
Baking Raisins: These are a must for me when I bake. They are not always available everywhere so stock up if you bake a lot. Baking raisins come in 6 ounce pouches filled with the traditional raisins and small amount of a sweet syrup that I believe partially rehydrates them which will leave your baked goods even tastier.
Dark Seedless: Raisins that are made from Thompson seedless grapes that are dried for several weeks. These raisins are good for almost anything.
Golden Seedless: Also from Thompson seedless grapes treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent darkening. These grapes have a shorter drying time. Use these for cooking and snacking.
Zante: Zante grapes produce tiny, dried currants often used for baking.
Last but not least:
Muscat: Muscat grapes yield large, fat, dark, very sweet raisins. Use muscats for snacking and baking too. Beware of the edible seeds inside the muscats. The seeds may be left in or out when baking but, I would suggest cutting the muscat in half and taking the seeds out one by one.
This concludes today’s lecture on raisin varieties. Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Talking with my Mouthful of Food. 😉