It's Raining Raisin Recipes

Sweeten up any picnic or barbeque with a sprinkle of this springtime snack.

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(This story originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Nebraska Life Magazine)

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS discovered the sweet joys of raisins even before he went on his ocean cruise and took them along for his other great discovery. Folklore also has been cooked up about George Washington dancing with glee over this snack centuries before those California Claymation dudes.

Raisins have been dissed as the grape’s ugly understudy, but our readers know better. Its fruity sweetness and chewy texture take center stage in recipes that will brighten any spring picnic or barbecue.

“It sometimes just adds that extra unique quality that rounds out the recipe,” said Jenny Colby Larington of McCook, who shares with us a historic family recipe for sour cream raisin pie.

Her original family recipe dates back to the early 20th century, when her greatgrandmother Cleyone Whisler delighted in heavenly helpings while growing up in a sod house near the village of Danbury, not far from McCook.

“I’m sure many servings of that legendary sour cream raisin pie were devoured with gusto inside those walls,” Larington said.

Beyond sharing this treasured family recipe, Larington also shares a couple of raisin tips. First, she suggests giving them a good soaking to bring back the moisture. And for any raisin bashers, she says not to underestimate this snack’s potential.

“Even if you’ve never liked raisins, give them a try anyway,” she said. “You just might be in for a tasty surprise.”

You might also be surprised to find out that this sugary fruit can lower blood pressure, according to research by the American College of Cardiology. We’ve also heard it through the grapevine that trying out these recipes will ease your stress this spring.


Baked Oatmeal

This chewy snack has given Tami Kuehl’s family a tasty energy boost in Loup City. She cooked up the idea one Sunday morning before church as a sweet option to a breakfast bar. “It has become one of our family favorites,” she said.


 2 ¼ cup quick-coooking oats 

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup raisins (or craisins)

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds 

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2  tsp salt

3 1/3  cups of milk

4 egg whites, beaten

1  tsp oil

1  tsp vanilla


Serves 8

In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, raisins, almonds, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, oil and vanilla and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture until well blended. Pour into 8-by-8 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch. Cool slightly and serve with yogurt or fruit if desired.


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