Hey everyone, I wrote to the people at Sunmaid (dried fruit company) and I just thought you would be interested in their response.
“The process of making our raisins requires Seedless green grapes and the extended period of drying sun found in CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s San Joaquin Valley.
Early in the spring, tender blooms appear on the grapevines. If weather cooperates, blooms turn into tiny grape bunches. Growers must irrigate their vineyards to encourage grape development. July is the hottest time of the year in the Valley, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). The sun and soil work a special magic, turning grapes gradually sweeter. By August, the grapes are plump and full of sweetness.In the traditional harvest method, ripe grapes are picked and placed on clean paper trays laid beside the vines. Generally, it takes two to three weeks of hot, dry September weather to turn the sweet green grapes into plump, tasty raisins.
During drying, the hot sun bakes the vineyard floor, producing intense ground temperatures that caramelize the sugars in the grapes enough to give California raisins their distinctive flavor and color. The temperature on the ground is extremely hot and can reach 143 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Sun-Maid Mission Figs, Calimyrna Figs, CA Apricots, CA Chopped Dates and Pitted Dates are also dried in the sun in a similar way.
All of our other fruits are dried in dehydrators at temperatures that well exceed 115 degrees.
Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in our products. Sincerely,Sun-Maid Growers of CaliforniaConsumer Affairs”
I also need a bit of clarification here because, as they claim that their product is sun-dried, it still reaches over 115 degrees. Is this still “raw” (I mean, of course, minus the other fruits they put in the dehydrator) because it’s sundried?