Whiskey Is A Huge Game Changer For Rehydrating Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a quick, tasty snack, as well as a great addition to countless recipes. However, when it becomes excessively dry, shriveled, or hard, it's less appealing. The simple solution is rehydrating the fruit before use, making it plump and juicy again. This is easily done by soaking the fruits in hot water, but using alcohol instead adds much more flavor, whether with raisins, raspberries, cranberries, or currants.

Soaking dried fruit in alcohol is a tried-and-true method for its effectiveness; it makes it softer, more tender, and significantly more flavorful. Different spirits are equally effective: Rum, with its natural sweetness and spice, is a great match for raisins, while legendary chef Jacques Pépin eats gin-soaked raisins every single day.

Whiskey, particularly bourbon, is also a winner when it comes to rehydrating fruit. It infuses dried fruits like raisins with warm flavors of caramel and vanilla, while improving their texture.

Whiskey makes dried fruit plumper and adds warm flavors

The benefits of using whiskey to rehydrate dried fruit are twofold: it improves both texture and taste. Adding more moisture, rehydrated fruits become plumper and juicier. When baking, rehydrating fruits first prevents them from absorbing extra liquid during cooking and ensures a softer, more pleasant texture once cooked.

Whiskey also significantly enhances the taste of dried fruit, making it richer, more complex, and delicious. Different whiskeys impart various flavor profiles to dried fruits like dates, prunes, apricots, or sultanas. For instance, a fruity Scotch with tropical notes might suit dried pineapple or banana chips well, while a caramel-scented Tennessee whiskey pairs perfectly with figs and dates.

Rehydrating dried fruit with whiskey is straightforward. Simply place your chosen dried fruit in a clean, airtight jar, cover it with whiskey, and let it macerate for at least two to three hours. If using a variety of fruits, you can chop them into evenly-sized pieces after removing any stones or stalks. A jar of alcohol-soaked fruits, if not used immediately, can last for a long time, even years, when stored in a cupboard away from light.

Ways to use whiskey-soaked fruit when cooking

Dried fruit rehydrated with whiskey is a delightful addition to various recipes, particularly sweet dishes. When ready to bake, simply strain the needed amount of fruit. Whiskey-soaked mixed fruits enhance the flavors of traditional fruitcake, while Irish whiskey cake incorporates raisins and lemon peel soaked in Irish whiskey for an intense burst of booziness.

These fruits can also be simply served with dishes like mango coconut rice pudding, pancakes, or ice cream for a quick, sophisticated dessert. Alternatively, raisins or sultanas plumped up in whiskey add a twist to an old-fashioned bread-and-butter pudding.

However, these booze-soaked fruits aren't limited to sweet dishes. Bourbon-soaked dried figs can elevate a pan sauce for roast pork tenderloin, and raisins rehydrated with whiskey can be sprinkled over a warm salad with goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Regardless of how you use them, rehydrating gives hardened dried fruits a new lease of life, and using whiskey further enhances their taste.