Australian Dried Fruit
The 2015 crop always looked like being the best for many years and so it has proved. Quality is good with a high percentage of light fruit. Harvest is just starting (June 2015)
The long dry spring and start to summer has seen very low disease pressure and vine health is very good.
The crop volume in total for the industry will be 19,000MT with breakdown in varietal volumes similar to the past seasons.
Sultana is easily the largest producer and growers are maintaining a high focus on management to give them every opportunity to produce very high quality light coloured 5 crown sultanas. Both currants and seeded raisins are also looking to produce good crops.
A successful harvest will see Australia offering high quality dried vine fruits.
This year we will be offering 5 crown light and some limited 6 crown light sultanas, as well as the Sun Muscats and Lexia Raisins
Demos Ciclitira Limited began importing Australian sultanas and raisins in the mid 1980’s and has been distributing in the UK over the last 30 years. In those days crop size was approximately 77,000 metric tonnes. Since then tonnage has reduced dramatically due to succession of droughts and the success of the Australian Wine industry. Annual crop is now approximately only 18,000 metric tonnes.
The main area for growing vine fruit is along the Murray river, in the Mildura area of Australia.
The drought was caused by a reduction in flow from the Murray River which runs all the way from Queensland and which irrigates all the vineyards that produce Australian dried fruit. Since then the farmers have created dams to help prevent a similar recurrence and the number of water extraction licences has been reduced. More recently problems have been caused by flooding rather than a lack of water.
Vine fruits which are currently available are, sultanas raisins and currants which we believe step above the best quality Turkish making them the premium vine fruit available.
5 Crown Sultanas
Naturally light in colour, more juicy and fleshy than similar vine fruits, this years crop is exceptional quality.
4 Crown Sultanas
Still quite a light coloured berry compared to the Turkish sultanas but a shade darker compared to the 5 crown. Also available are 3 crown which cost much less than the 5 crown but still have the same unique taste and texture.
4 Crown Currants
Quality very similar to the Greek currants, but size is slight smaller (berry count)
From the Muscat grape, Lexia raisins are seeded but passed through seed removal process. These are large sticky and toffee tasting berries, making an excellent ingredient for Luxury cake s and fruit puddings. (Berry count)
From the Muscat grape, Sunmuscats have a similar appearance to the Australian sultanas but have a distinctive flavour. They are a plump, seedless Raisin variety and are very popular because of their distinct muscat flavour.
Up to four kilograms of freshly picked grapes are required to produce just one kilogram of dried fruit.
No sulphur is used in the process of drying Australian grapes. Sultanas, Raisins and Sun Muscats are sprayed with an emulsion of Potassium Carbonate and a refined vegetable oil. This alters the wax layer of the skin of the berries allowing moisture to pass through the grapes so they dry faster.
Currants are not treated with a drying emulsion; rather they are left to dry naturally on racks or the trellis depending on the harvesting system used.