If You Don't Fancy Raisins, Try Adding A Little Butter

For many, biting into what appears to be a chocolate chip cookie, only to find a mouthful of raisins can be a nasty surprise. Raisins are divisive dried fruit and much of the distaste for them comes from their texture. As The Huffington Post's executive food editor colorfully puts it, "Raisins are wrinkly like your thumbs after you've been in the bath for too long," adding that a raisin reminds one of boogers and grandmothers. Meanwhile, one Redditor described them as "grapes that have gone bad."

Raisin haters would have you believe that the dried grape ruins everything that it touches, but have you ever wondered whether the raisin is just a misunderstood little thing that no one quite knows how to use properly? According to Food & Wine's Associate Editorial Director Chandra Ram, that may be the case. Ram once saw Chef Cheetie Kumar pour a heap of melted butter over the dried fruit at an event. The chef's trick, it seems, is all that was needed to change raisins for the better.

Per Kumar's method, you should spread golden raisins mixed with melted butter in a baking tray and sprinkle a generous pinch of kosher salt on top before baking them in an oven. The butter and salt transform the raisins into plump pearls that taste a little sweet and salty.

Plumping may be the key to making raisins better

Butter makes everything better, even raisins. By baking or frying dry raisins in some butter or olive oil, you're left with a jam-like glob of warm and soft dried fruit that's far from the chewy and resilient texture that makes a raisin so off-putting. While this is an excellent way to make juicy raisins and smear them on top of toast on a cold winter morning, it's not the only way to give new life to the dried fruit.

Plumping essentially means letting raisins soak and marinate in a liquid that rehydrates the dried fruit, turning the lifeless wrinkled raisins into fat and juicy pearls. Melted butter is one way to do so, but there are different ways to plump raisins. Raisins can be soaked in vinegar, citrus, fruit juices, or even water. Vinegar will also pickle the raisins and give their sweet flavor an acidic touch, which can be a welcome addition to salads and cheese boards. Additionally, raisins can be left to marinate in alcoholic liquids like wine, rum, or brandy when used in baked treats as well.

No matter the liquid you choose, one advantage of Chef Cheetie Kumar's melted butter and salt method is that she lets the raisins plump up in the heat of an oven. Though not necessary, according to Real Simple, warm liquids will plump up raisins much faster than anything cold will. If you're in a rush, Kumar's butter and bake trick is an excellent way to go.