Many fruit-sweetened desserts or other recipes, including my own, call for whole dates or date pieces which are blended into the wet ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I love dates and usually have them at all times ready and waiting in the freezer! A few weeks ago, when I was getting low on dates, and also thinking that maybe we could save some money, I started experimenting with using raisins as a sweetener instead. It is working!
I can’t really give you hard and fast directions. What I hope to give you is some inspiration to try this yourself. Be sure to come and share how you used raisins as a sweetener! I am looking forward to being inspired by you!
Two Methods for Using Raisins as Sweetener
Here are just two methods of using raisins as sweetener.
- Blended up or ground up – If it is a smoothie or ice cream or a raw milk drink (such as Vanilla Milk or Chocolate Milk), I put the raisins in the Vita-Mix wet container instead of dates and proceed with the recipe as is. I will use the same amount of raisins as I would have dates. Jamie commented and said that she now routinely adds raisins to their smoothies instead of honey!
- Whole – The use for this is in breakfast porridges, puddings, even sweet breads, muffins and cookies. For instance, since the Beyond Sugar challenge, we don’t sweeten our breakfast porridge at all anymore with concentrated sweeteners. Instead, we rely on the natural sweetness of the raisins and the lactose in the milk.
Can you think of more applications? Please do share!
Cost Savings in Using Raisins as Sweetener
Since I’m going to share this frugal tip in The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday, I better go on and compare prices, to show you how much you can save. 🙂
- 1 pound of organic, whole Halawi dates: $4
- 1 pound of organic, Thompson, seedless raisins: $2.20
Both prices are current prices from Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene, OR. The date price can be had by purchasing a 5 pound minimum, while the raisin price reflects purchasing a 30 pound box. I believe that Trader Joe’s raisins are similarly priced even though smaller quantities are available. Can anyone confirm this?
You can see that pound for pound, raisins are almost half the price of dates. If you can find moist date pieces (datettes) and if you can afford to buy a quantity of them (a 40 pound box is what I can get), those will save you even more, since they cost just $2 per pound, even less than raisins.
I think I remember paying 99 cents a pound for organic raisins around 6 years ago, at Trader Joe’s. Weren’t those the days? 😉
Please choose organic raisins – otherwise you know the grapes that made them were sprayed to death on the vine.
This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet – go on by and see what other frugal, real food, kitchen tips have been shared!
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Great post! I remember you talking about using raisins instead of dates awhile back and thought it a grand idea. Thanks for being part of the carnival!
Meredith from Merchant Ships says
Wardee, I lost track of you online for a while–so glad to find your new blog name. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years and can’t wait to subscribe.
Meredith – Hello! So great to see you! I am still keeping a family blog at Such Treasures ( http://suchtreasures.com/ ); I changed it to my own URL quite awhile ago, more than a year ago, and then I started this one for my kitchen stuff. I am so glad to see you here and catch up with you! You’ve reminded me to pop over and see what you are doing – I’m excited to catch up. God bless you and your family!
I use figs usually as a sweetener. They fall somewhere between dates and raisins in price, are a little less sweet but are more nutritious. I soak ’em first for a few minutes before blending.
Helena from Dresden says
I know this thread is two years old, but as you can see on my example, people still find it :-). I was inspired by Wardee’s Beyond Sugar challenge (although I only read about it few month ago). I now try to use fruit as a sweetener instead of honey. For those, who are into using fruit as a sweetener, I can also recommend trying prunes, dried apricots, and (like Larisa) figs. In fact, blended together, they produce an awesome combination. I make a fruit-sweetened millet cake with them. They are not as neutral tasting as dates or raisins, so you cannot use them in everything. Personally I recommend a prune-sweetened chocolate cake (strange as it may sound).
I came to this thread while looking to use raisins as a sweetener in cranberry sauce instead of using sugar. Making it tomorrow so I’ll let you know how it works out.