Easy to eat, but hard to make; It won’t take you a minute to consume a handful of it without even realizing, but a considerable number of people must gather to make it ready. As we, in Fooka team, focus highly on producing and selling Iranian raisins to customers from all over the world, it matters to us to let you know what journey these raisins go through to reach your hand. As a result, here we are going to share the process of preparing raisins with you.
The process of producing raisins mainly starts in September and the final product is usually ready by October. Though the process and time highly depends on the specific type of raisin, they all have some of the following steps in common. You will realize in this article what makes the variety of raisins different (except for the type of grape they are made from) and you will get to choose which one you want according to your liking.
Step one: harvesting grapes
Picking the right time to harvest grapes to turn them into raisins is a fundamental step in producing raisins. It is very important to be careful and take good care of the product during the harvesting stage, otherwise, the waste of it will reach 1/3 of the total production. Grapes are generally ripe and ready to pick in September. The process of picking them is time-consuming and requires a considerable number of employers.
What makes it even more of a labor is that grapes have to be picked very early in the morning or the evening as the fruits should be picked when their temperature is low. The grapes then have to be checked carefully for any sign of plant pests or to see if any of the grapes have gone bad. The damaged fruits then would be separated from the rest and the grapes are ready for the next step.
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Step two: Dipping in solution
Not all types of raisins go through this step. Raisins such as Sultana and Iranian golden raisins and Kashmiri raisins use this method while sun-dried raisins skip this step. At this stage of raisin production, grapes are gathered and placed for a few minutes in tubes full of an oil-based solution. The solution is used to speed up the process of dehydration as not using them will make the raisin production more time-consuming than it is.
This solution used to be traditionally made from olive oil and wood ash, but nowadays alkaline solutions such as potassium carbonate are combined with other components to create these solutions. As for us, the Fooka team adds edible sodium carbonate and a few other oil-based chemicals to the solution. Be at ease that this solution is made according to global standards and won’t be a bother to your body; but for people who want to consume organic raisins with absolutely nothing added to them, we have sun-dried raisins that skip this and the following step and go straight for dehydration.
Step three: Adding Sulfur dioxide
In this step of process of raisins, grapes are hung by their stem in a closed place where they will be exposed to Sulphur dioxide gas. This step is limited to only two types of raisins available on Fooka: golden raisins and golden Kashmiri raisins. These two types are especially famous for their bright and vivid color, but one may want to know the reason behind it. Many producers around the world use Sulphur dioxide to maintain the yellow color of the grapes.
Sulfur also makes the shelf-life of the product longer and preserves them from the growth of bacteria and fungus The final product of this method is quite popular among customers, especially the ones working in the food industry. As a substance that exists naturally in many ingredients, as long as the amount of sulfur added to raisins is according to global standards, it is not considered a danger to the body unless you are by any chance allergic to Sulphur.
Step four: dehydration
All the former steps were pre-treatments for this stage. There exists many ways and methods to dry grapes, as well as many types of machines that do it. You can either dry them naturally or mechanically. As for Fooka, different types of Iranian raisins are produced here by both methods so that you can choose between them.
Raisins used to be traditionally dried by being left outside until they lost all their water. This process is of course much more time consuming and requires a lot of care and place while it lasts. Nowadays some producers still use this method, though the resulting product will be more expensive than regular raisins.
Compared to that, dehydration done by machines particularly designed for this reason is less time-consuming and more economic. only the impacts it may have on the environment makes some people go for the old methods, as the machines consume energy to work.
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Step five: packaging
This part mostly depends on the company and individuals who are in charge of selling raisins. Many producers prefer the cleaning, quality check and packing part being done by employees, while some of them prefer to leave it to machines. Fooka has chosen a mixture of two for this step, involving both humans and machines to do the job. The cleaning and packing part is mainly done by machines while there is a step between them where people check the raisins in search of any damaged grain. Though most of the cleaning job is done by machines; for this case, raisins go through four steps so that every grain is separated from its stem, is cleared and is separated by size and color.
The size of the boxes differs from 5 to 10 kg. raisins are put into plastics and then placed into the cartons by machines. The cartons are then each vacuumed in order to gain resistance against water and humid places during transportation.
Some of our products such as Golden raisins are available in different quality so that customers can choose them according to their preference. For Golden raisins, there exists first class, second-class and third-class golden raisin. First class Golden raisins have larger and brighter grains of raisins while in second class golden raisins some darker grains may be seen; in the third-class golden raisins, the number of dark grains increases.
The process of producing raisins sure is a long journey and choosing between different methods in each step impacts the final price of each type of raisin. From harvesting to boxing, so many people are involved and a lot of time is needed. Choosing between different methods of raisin production isn’t easy as there exist many. In Fooka, we have decided to offer you as many choices as possible. You have the freedom to choose between different types of raisins prepared in many different ways. We try our best to offer you the best raisins available in the market regardless of which type you choose.