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I have akways loved their cranberry juice, so decided to try their dried raisins, conveniently called "craisins". This however contains NO raisins, and are just a bag of juicy cranberries!
The cranberries are packaged in a plastic bag with a transparent window so we can see the cranberries... It is quite unrecognisable on the shelf- the beige colour and the small text of the logo doesn't help. I had to search for several minutes to find this... and would have given up had I not tried this before and loved it.
~~~APPEARANCE TASTE AND TEXTURE~~~
The cranberries are gorgeous and extremely juicy. They are the size of raisins but a more reddish pink colour. They are the juiciest dried fruit I have ever had... They go fantastically well with cereal, yoghurt and perfect in baking cookies, muffins and cupcakes.
I have had these cranberries with all of the above and love them. They are also really healthy and makes a great alternative to unhealthy snacks. I forgot to add you can eat them on their own! I sometimes have them with mixed nuts and that goes great aswell...
What I love about these cranberries is that they are not only juicy, but have a rich dense texture and a sweet, slightly sour, genuine cranberry taste- delicious!
A 170g bag costs just under £2 at most supermarkets... At the nearby Tesco, they are almost always out of stock, I was lucky to grab the last bag the other day, so be quick!
I would highly recommend these dried cranberries to anyone; they may be "dried" but they are juicy as ever, and have a delicious texture. They go with almost anything, but can be eaten on their own as well, making a healthy snack. Despite it containing no raisins, these "craisins" are a must buy and are worth every penny!
Ocean Spray Craisins are a selection of dried fruits, and this version - the Mixed Berries pack - is made up of dried cranberries, raisins, dried cherries and dried blackcurrants. It's the first two on the list that make up the majority of the pack - at 45% and 40% respectively - hence the name.
The mixture comes in a pretty, single serve bag, but I made the mistake of tipping out the contents prior to eating. I say 'mistake' because the mixture is not all that appealing to look at: while you can see that there are 4 different components to the mix, they're all different sizes, shapes and colours (within each category, not just between the 4) so it all looks a bit random and haphazard. Dried fruit doesn't look that attractive at the best of times, but make it a mix and I'm really not won over by the selection of shrivelled pieces, that look more home-made than homogenised.
Looks are important with food, but obviously taste and smell are of more interest, and the Craisins are ok on both aspects. The smell is quite rich and wintery, with a touch of booze to it, though there's none actually in the list. The added ingredients are limited to sunflower oil, lemon juice, palm oil and various types of sugar, making them less of a natural snack than I had first imagined - and less of a natural snack than I am used to, too, since I tend to eat straight up raisins with nothing added.
The dried cherries are the largest ones in the pack, and a sort of burgundy colour. I was surprised by how tasty these were as I'd always assumed I didn't like cherries or cherry flavoured products (even eating around them in things like a Black Forest Gateaux). They were nicely sweetened and not too tart, and the large size amused me somewhat since the dried fruit I'm most used to having is the aforementioned small raisins, usually in kiddy Sunmaid boxes.
The cranberries were a new one for me, since I've not had them dried or fresh, only ever cooked into things like cheese bites, which use them in such small quantities they hardly count. I was expecting these to be a good quality since the Ocean Spray brand basically revolves around the things but was surprised to find that they didn't taste of much - they were sweet and bitter at the same time, but I'm not sure I could have identified them as cranberries if I didn't know what I was looking for.
Raisins are the dried fruit I eat most often, and the ones in this pack were lovely - plump and juicy with no nasty hard grainy bits in. If all raisins tasted like these ones, I would eat them all day every day.
The last part of the mix is blueberries, and these are absolutely tiny compared to the other fruits they've included. They look like miniature versions of the raisins (maybe all dried fruit has a generic look to it?) and were a bit hard, I think due to their size - they are small anyway, and when you dry them they become practically invisible, so all you're left with is a tiny, very compact bit of fruit skin. They were, however, bursting with flavour, and tasted different from anything else in the mix, very sweet and distinct. That said, I'm not really sure that they lend themselves to being dried, and if I had to pick one bit for them to eliminate from the mix it would be these just because the texture is a little off.
I ate the fruit by picking out pieces one by one, in the same way I eat raisins individually, but then thought it might be an idea to munch a mixture to see how the flavours interact. I found the strongest flavour to come from the raisins, with the others lost a little when mixed in. If you want raisins, or something that tastes like them, it's easier and cheaper to buy a pack of those, so to get the most out of this Craisin mix I would suggest doing as I did initially and picking off bits individually, or at least eating them by fruit, so a few blueberries, then a few cherries for example.
I felt that, at 40g per pack, the serving was a little large for dried fruit. It comes in at about 128 calories which is the same, snack-wise, as a couple of biscuits, and seems quite a lot for a fruit snack. The problem is down to the fact the fruit is dried - compare it to grapes, for example, and you'd get more than 200g for the same number of calories, thanks to the fact they're bulked up with water. In the end I ate this mix up over two days, though the packet really doesn't lend itself to being resealed (or even opened neatly in the first place), and I ended up pegging it shut with a paper clip.
One bag of these contains nearly 2g fibre, virtually no fat (it's fruit after all) and little in the way of protein. The sugar hit is quite high - 26g - thanks to the fact sugar is added to a product that is already naturally rich in the stuff, but I suppose it's healthier to get it from these than from a processed chocolate or cake bar.
I enjoyed this mix as something a bit different, but probably wouldn't bother with it again. I got mine from B&Ms for 10p - normally it costs nearer to 50p. Ocean Spray do various mixes, including a pure Cranberries one, which comes in bigger bags as well, costing about £1.70 for 170g in the likes of Tesco. You could use either for cooking with, and I quite fancy some of the cake / bread recipes that call for them, but as a straight up snack I probably won't by the smaller bags again.
I bought these as I'd been buying a box of dried fruit online which was delivered twice a week and becoming very expensive. These are great! They taste fantastic and are still quite juicy considering they are dried. They are great as a healthy snack in between meals but are also great added to yogurt to make a dessert and added into fruit cake. The calorie content is high in comparison to their "wet" weight, so you have to be careful if using them to help maintain or lose weight but they do fill you up and give you something to munch on so they're a good habit to get into, rather than a chocolate fix! They are also fat free, cholesterol free and high in fibre so good for kids to snack on. And if you're feeling indulgent, add them to a cookie recipe with chopped up milky bar for a really delicious alternative to shop bought cookies.
Great value for money as well if you buy the bigger packets.