Raisins: The most economic fruit per serving

Raisins are often a favorite fruit snack for children, and based on convenience, availability, nutrients and price they are a great fruit choice for teens and adults.

Raisins, dehydrated or dried grapes – is a common finger food for young children and one fruit that should not be overlooked by teens, adults and older adults. When comparing nutrition, convenience, versatility and price, raisins are a top contender in the dried fruit category.

Juicy sweet raisins may look unassuming in their wrinkled skin, yet they boast a concentrated nutritional value that makes eating them a good choice to help achieve your daily fruit recommendation. Raisins are packaged without added sugar. A one ounce serving of raisins contains 85 calories, antioxidants, phytochemicals, one gram of fiber, three percent daily value of iron, potassium and the trace mineral boron, which is associated with bone health.

Raisins are generally packaged in boxes or containers that do not allow the consumer to see the actual product. Several different packaging options are available including raisins sold in small, individual half-ounce boxes, one ounce boxes or larger boxes and containers. Freshness can be determined by generally squeezing or shaking the box. If raisins rattle inside, the raisins may be drying out.

Michigan State University Extension recommends storing raisins in a cool, dry and dark location in airtight containers to prevent them from drying out. Storing raisins in the refrigerator prolongs their freshness for up to one year. Use caution in placing raisins in a kitchen cupboard that may be warm, as rising temperatures can also cause raisins to lose moisture more quickly.

Dried fruit is versatile and allows consumers to eat it by the handful, in cereal, granola, salads, desserts, breads and other baked goods. Many baking recipes call for soaking raisins in a liquid or hot tap water for 10 to 15 minutes to rehydrate for a more moist fruit.

Regardless of which variety of raisins you choose don’t let the box just sit around waiting for the next batch of oatmeal cookies. Think through how you can add this overlooked dried fruit as a natural sweet pop of nutrition to your weekly meal planning.

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