The Best Way to Soften Dried Fruit

Tips from The Kitchn

Picture this: You reach in the pantry for the dried fruit you thought you bought not that long ago, and what you find is far from what you expect. Those once-plump raisins and bright dried cranberries are now even more dry, shriveled, and maybe even hard. They kind of give new meaning to the words dried fruit.

But don't toss them just yet; this fruit isn't a lost cause. With the help of a simple trick, there's an easy way to bring them back to life.

The Easiest Way to Soften Any Dried Fruit

This is very simple, and works on any kind of dried fruit. Put your dried fruit in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes, and then strain the fruit and discard the water. The fruit will be plumper, juicier, and softer.

To give your fruit some extra flavor, swap the water for fruit juice or a liquor, like rum, bourbon, or brandy.

Why This Tip Is Important

Even if you don't have overly dried fruit, it's nice to plump them a little before adding to salads or other dishes that aren't cooked. This technique gives the fruit a soft texture and more flavor. If you plan to cook or bake with dried fruit, soaking it first will keep it plump and moist. It also prevents the fruit from absorbing excess liquid from the recipe.

It's a small step, but one that can make a real difference in the final quality of the dish.

This post has been updated - originally published May 2009.

(Image credits: Kelli Foster)