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Sugar Free Sunday and Raisins

Welcome to one of the sweetest weekly virtual potluck get-together ever! Yes indeed — it is Sugar Free Sunday! We host it every Sunday to exchange incredible sugar free recipes. Inspiration to start the week right? You bet!

Raisins! We’ve all had them at some time or the other. In trail mixes, as a snack, in oatmeal… simply put there are numerous ways we eat them. Did I just get you hungry or start a craving?

But… have you ever wondered if there is anything else that goes into the raisin making process other than simple dehydration? I didn’t! It was my mom who casually mentioned that raisins can sometimes have sulfites and that is how my quest began. I began with a simple google query for “raisins sulfites”. I got an interesting bunch of links. Let me give you a disclaimer here: This post has my opinions based on what I read, please go ahead and do your own research before making up your mind on whether you want to buy raisins with sulfites or without. I simply want you to know and read the label before you decide what you put in your body!

Some brands of raisins go through a process where they are treated with sulfites, sulpher dioxide (SO2) specifically. Why you might ask? Sun-Maid says to maintain the color and freshness of the product and very vaguely mentions that sulfites have been implicated as initiators of reactions in a small *subset* of the asthmatic population. whfoods.com, a non-profit, mentions that one out of every 100 people, turns out to be sulfite sensitive. That is a crazy statistic to have! Sun-Maid also says that they have a warning on their packaging alerting people who might be sensitive to sulfites.

Another cause for concern was the fact that the Environmental Working Group’s 2009 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” said that grapes imported into the U.S. were among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Needless to say, if you want to avoid pesticide-associated health risks you might want to avoid consumption of imported grapes or raisins unless they are grown organically. In fact, imported grapes are on 2011’s dirty dozen list too.

That being said, raisins, like all dry fruits, have a lot of health benefits. A clear winner is the fact that the phytochemicals and antioxidants in raisins help prevent mouth bacteria, prevent gum disease and prevent tooth decay. Another biggie is, raisins have a mineral called boron that is critical for our bone health, more so for women. The list of benefits, which is quite long, clearly outweighs the risks. Since buying organic would take care of the pesticides and the sulfites, I for sure am going to go the organic way! What about you?

How do you participate in the virtual potluck?

  • Link your recipe post (NOT your homepage) if it does not use refined sugar. Your blog does not have to be entirely sugar free, just the dish you’re sharing!
  • Please link back to this get-together somewhere in your post’s text. It’s a great way to invite your readers to the fun!
  • Want to make something sweet without using refined sugar? Just check out all the ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without refined sugar here.
  • Your link doesn’t have to be to a sweet dish! We love to see your sugar free appetizers, entrees, soups, snacks — well — you get the idea!
  • Please don’t link to carnivals or giveaways. This is a party; bring a dish to share!
  • In the ‘Name’ field, please enter who you are and what you’re linking. For example Sonia would put: Capsicum (Bell Pepper) Besan Zhunka [Raj @ Flip Cookbook]
  • It’s not a party if no one chats! Please join the conversation by leaving a message in the comments section below. Also make sure you have the ‘Notify Me’ checkbox selected so that you can listen as well!
  • Sign up for free to our new venture Velvet Aroma. It’s a visual way to read the blogs you love and really bring their recipes into your kitchen.

We’re so excited to see what you’re cooking….. Sugar Free!

Click on the ‘Add your link’ button below to share.



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14 Responses to Sugar Free Sunday and Raisins

  1. Pingback: India Farmers Beat Monsanto Rep — Real Food Forager

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  3. Jill says:

    Hi Roz,
    Your chocolate cupcakes look DIVINE! I will be trying them! I shared my GF Zucchini Pancakes with a video and some articles I hope you enjoy!

    • Sonia says:

      Thanks for the awesome recipe Jill! :) Loved your articles, as always! the farmers beating up the Monsanto rep was my favorite… I’ve heard the farmer suicide stories for a while now, and all that over loans the poor farmers couldn’t repay and Monsanto forced them to keep buying their seeds once they had used them in a crop! go farmers!

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  6. Most raisins are also coated in hydrogenated oil. Yuk. I always go for organic, oil-free.

    Sorry I wont link today… I made bitter orange, rosewater & almond marmalade with loads of raw sugar! ;-)

    • Sonia says:

      I didn’t know about the hydrogenated oil until this post! :( So much to know, so little time!

      I just checkedout the marmalade and it looks goooood! :)

  7. Thanks for posting about sulfites. My “pie pieces” in the gelato have raisins. I usually try to remember to get “unsulfured” dried fruit, whether coconut, dried figs. raisins, etc. I went back and checked and my raisins I used and the package said “no added sulfites, but some are naturally contained in the raisins”. I thought that was wierd so I’ll ask my husband tonight what that means- he’s a chemist :)

    • Sonia says:

      hmm… that is strange! Do share what he says… I’d be very curious to know, especially since I’ve been so clueless for so long! :P

  8. Vicky says:

    Sun-maid golden raisins are treated with sulphur dioxide, the natural ones aren’t,so they say, pheeew! http://www.sun-maid.com/en/healthyliving/frequently_asked_questions.html
    We’ve been buying tubs of sun-maid natural raisins for years now! The thing I’m now most concerned about is dried fruit with vegetable oil added. Having discovered through watching the film Planeat and further research that polyunsaturated vegetable oils are in fact NOT good for you and can cause macular degeneration amongst other things we have reverted back to butter and just use olive oil. Searching for dried fruit with nothing added is a nightmare…though maybe I’ve got a little OCD since cooking for the SCD. Great post! I really look forward to reading your posts!

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